Lee Siegel on why the South should get the hell out of the union.
A solid block of Southern states continues to refuse to expand Medicaid, thus squashing one of the linchpins of the president’s health-care reform. The South will likely be the last and most stubborn battleground in the fight for gay marriage. Gun control? The more the two sides seem to get cozier with each other, the faster gun-control legislation gets watered down—and more and more red states are passing laws making it legal to carry a concealed weapon. As for immigration, the red states seem to be relaxing their anti-immigrant fervor, but nothing approaching new legislation is even on the horizon.
The sad truth is that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” can only be achieved at this point if the nation is split in half. Far from being fanciful or fanatical, the proponents of secession have a stronger grasp of political reality than just about anyone else. In fact, there are serious reasons why the North itself should take the lead in a secessionist movement.
Just think what America would look like without its mostly Southern states. (We could retain “America”: they could call themselves “Smith & Wesson” or “Coca-Cola” or something like that.) Universal health care. No guns. Strong unions. A humane minimum wage. A humane immigration policy. High revenues from a fair tax structure. A massive public-works program. Legal gay marriage. A ban on carbon emissions. Electric cars. Stronger workplace protections. Extended family leave from work in case of pregnancy or illness. Longer unemployment benefits. In short, a society on a par with most of the rest of the industrialized world—a place whose politics have finally caught up with its social and economic realities.
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