Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Irreconcilable Differences

We are living in an era in the United States where the people are more philosophically divided than any other time period than right before the Civil War.

I lived in a similar period of division during the Vietnam War in the late 1960's and 1970's which was a tumultuous time for the nation.

However, unlike those periods in which slavery or the Vietnam War was a single issue that caused deep division, we find ourselves deeply divided among a range of fundamental issues.

Consider just a few.


Immigration policy

Capitalism vs. Socialism

Climate Change

Expansion of The Welfare State

Voting Access vs. Voting Security

States Rights vs. Federal Power

Second Amendment and Gun Rights

Critical Race Theory

Covid Policy (Mandates, Lockdowns etc.)

Law and Order

These are not issues that there are just small differences of opinion. 

These are issues in which there is literally a 180 degree difference in views.

Many don't see any shades of gray in any of the issues.

The views are not only discordant but they are causing increasing rancor and resentment between those with the competing views.

If it was a marriage both parties would seek dissolution on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we are hearing more talk about secession or splitting geographic areas to more accurately reflect the philosophical views of the population.

Seven rural Oregon counties have already voted to petition their state legislature to let them secede from Oregon and become part of Idaho. Advocates of the idea are attempting to get another eight Oregon counties to vote on the measure. Several northern California counties are also interested in the idea.

Their vision is secession from liberal Oregon and California and a merger with Idaho to become the renamed state of Greater Idaho with a capital in Boise.

The vision of a Greater Idaho state
Source: https://michaelsavage.com/eastern-oregon-residents-consider-joining-idaho-amid-portland-protests/

This USA Today article provides some background on the issue. 

Mike McCarter, who serves as president of Citizens of Greater Idaho, said the movement wants fair political representation, and that’s more likely found in Boise than Salem.

“It has been talked about for many years how eastern Oregon and southern Oregon are more like Idaho than they are to northwest Oregon,” McCarter said. “Their lifestyles, their attachment to their lands – those traditional values of people who live out in space, in open lands, feel that they’re more aligned with the people in Idaho.”

The organizers face an uphill battle as such a plan would require the approval of the Oregon and Idaho legislatures as well the U.S. Congress. For starters, it is difficult to see why the Oregon legislature would voluntarily give up territory, population (and power).

Others have a bigger vision of matching geography, borders and political philosophies.

They see a United States of America and a United States of Canada that might look like this.

Source: https://twitter.com/TrumpJew2/status/1445149100211585030/photo/1

In case you think all of this is far-fetched, a recent YouGov.com and BrightlineWatch poll asked voters in different regions of the country if they would support having their state secede from the United States and join a new union of various states in their region.

37% of all respondents overall indicated they were interested in the secession idea.

Here are the results by region and by political affiliation.

Source: https://brightlinewatch.org/still-miles-apart-americans-and-the-state-of-u-s-democracy-half-a-year-into-the-biden-presidency/


Note that 2/3 of Republican voters in the South say secession is not out of the question.

Likewise nearly 1/2 of Democrats in the Pacific region feel the same way.

To think that Americans would consider their state seceding from the United States would have been unthinkable 20-30 years ago.

It no longer seems to be.

One real life example where secession may actually become reality is in Atlanta where a group has organized to take steps to have the Buckhead area of that city secede from Atlanta and establish its own city government.

Buckhead is the area in Atlanta which has always been the "cool" place to live, work, shop and play.

When I was attending law school at Emory University in Atlanta, Buckhead was the place where most of my classmates hoped to live one day in a house off of West Paces Ferry Road.

It is the place to buy your Mercedes Benz, shop at Saks or meet out of town friends at the Ritz Carlton hotel.

This is how one Atlanta realtor describes Buckhead.

Upscale and sophisticated, Buckhead offers a wide variety of homes for sale from luxurious estate homes with lush green lawns and rolling hills to charming bungalows as well as sleek, modern high-rise condominiums and townhomes. Buckhead is also an entertainment and shopping mecca, including Buckhead Village, Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza. The location can’t be beat!

Buckhead is a community, comprising several neighborhoods, forming roughly the northern one-fifth of Atlanta and is inside the perimeter. Buckhead is one of Atlanta’s most important business districts, and includes Atlanta’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

Over the last two years the Buckhead area has seen crime rates soar while the Atlanta mayor and city council have handcuffed the police from doing their jobs to attempt to satisfy the "Defund the Police" crowd. Frustrated by lack of support from the city's politicians, hundreds of police officers have resigned or retired.

Even worse, some of Atlanta's politicians (yes, they are all Democrats) have used Buckhead to advance their class war playbook. 

Tucker Carlson did a segment on Atlanta and Buckhead in June where he said this about the surging crime in the area and the movement to potentially secede.

Fewer than 80,000 people live there, but it’s fair to say that, without Buckhead, Atlanta, at least as it’s currently run, could not exist. Taxes from Buckhead residents account for fully a fifth of Atlanta’s entire city budget. You’d think the people who run the city would be very polite to Buckhead. They certainly should be. But the opposite is true. For decades, various mayors of Atlanta have attacked Buckhead, as if there’s something offensive or immoral about maintaining a clean and orderly neighborhood. For the most part, the residents of Buckhead have taken this abuse in silence. Complaining seemed impolite. So they’ve continued to send huge amounts of money to a city government that hates them. For politicians in Atlanta, it’s been a very good deal—attack Buckhead and take the dough. But that deal could soon be ending.  

Buckhead City Committee CEO Bill White has said he and his neighbors “are living in a war zone.”

He is spearheading the drive for Buckhead to secede from Atlanta.

“What has happened here in the last several years is an incredibly dangerous spike in crime and a complete vacuum of leadership. The police in Atlanta are great policemen and women. We love them. They just want to do their job. They are not being allowed to do that. This is a very diverse community. We, in fact, are the most diverse community in all of Atlanta. We have decided to file for divorce, and the divorce is final,” White said.

“What we are saying to the city of Atlanta is we are going to form our own city. We have two bills in the state legislature. We have raised the requisite amount of money we need right now to move this forward. There will be a ballot initiative on the ballot next November, and we are going to take our city back for the great families of Buckhead once and for all.”

White said a separate Buckhead police force “will put the smackdown on crime once and for all.”

The Georgia General Assembly is convening a special session in November for hearings and a possible vote on legislation which would allow for the people of Buckhead to decide whether they want to secede from Atlanta and establish their own city.

A July poll of Buckhead voters indicated that 61% would like to vote on the issue

A recent feasibility study concluded that the city of Atlanta would lose over $200 million in tax revenues if Buckhead seceded. Buckhead could provide better police, fire and other services to its residents at a cost of less than $90 million per year according to the study.

The city of Atlanta may have neglected and demonized the "rich people" up in Buckhead a little too long and pushed them a little too far. The end result may blow a gigantic hole in the city of Atlanta's budget.

The emotional costs of divorce are high but the financial costs of divorce should not be understated.

Irreconcilable differences almost always means higher financial costs on everyone involved in a divorce.

There are substantial economic advantages in being married. Two cannot live as cheaply as one but they can live more cost effectively than two singles. That is an economic fact.

The city of Atlanta may have to face the economic reality of a divorce caused by secession unless the leaders decide soon that it is best to not bite the hand that feeds you.

That might also be a lesson that the Democrats in Washington might want to consider.

Secession is a repugnant idea. It indicates that people have lost faith in their government as well as their fellow man. 

Abraham Lincoln believed that strongly and fought a war that was every bit about a fight against the concept of secession as a remedy as it was about abolishing slavery.

We can only pray that it will not take secession or a civil war to bring people to their senses.

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