Monday, November 12, 2012

The New Confederate States of America?

Paris Manga - Samedi - 2011-10-01- P1250775
This is in a park a few minutes from Versailles,
so it's a totally appropriate picture.
Photo by Yves Tennevin
Update: apparently the Obama reelection has generated multiple petitions for states wanting to secede from the union.

Today is an amusing detour for me. Sue me.

I was absolutely delighted yesterday to finally meet up with Victoria Ferauge, author of the Franco-American Flophouse. To a large extent she writes the blog I would like to write as her articles are very well-researched. I wish I had the time to do a better job here.

Victoria lives in Versailles and greeted my wife and I with cinnamon rolls and coffee. Versailles, for those who don't know, is the city which houses the palace you're probably thinking about. Victoria lives in the city, not the palace. She's and her family are moving into a smaller flat and giving away many books, so I'm sitting next to a large collection of them. It's hard to think of a nicer way of meeting someone than stealing their books.

Of all of them, my favorite is the book Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Succession. So far the book is hilarious, though I suspect that quite a few Americans would be irritated by it as it tears into Southern Culture viciously. I find the book fascinating because the South has tried to secede before and numerous Southern states still talk about this today, including Governor Rick "I'm not gay" Perry of Texas raising the possibility (more than once!) of Texas seceding from the Union. There's also this delightful "law" from Georgia which states that if the government of the US pisses off Georgia too much, the US government is null and void and Georgia can go their own way. The Georgia State Senate passed that law in 2009 by a 43 to 1 vote.

Can you imagine a world where the US is rent in two? Is it likely to happen? No. Would it be fascinating? You betcha! And for those not familiar with the North/South divide in the US, I point you to the honorable Representative Paul Broun of Georgia, who has previously called President Obama a would-be dictator and compared him to Hitler and who referred to the US Civil War as the Great War of Yankee Aggression. Got that? Over 150 years after the South started the war by attacking the United States at Fort Sumter, it's still a war of "Yankee aggression". Talk about sore losers. Having grown up in Texas, the "tail end of the South", if you will, I didn't see these rampant "anti-Yankee" feelings as strongly as one finds in the Deep South, but I was lucky enough to experience a cultural icon of the Southern US: the joys of Evangelical Christian Hate. You really can't appreciate the fervor unless you see it first-hand. Here in Europe, nobody really gives a damn what you believe so long as you're a good person. It's often the other way around in the Deep South.

If the US ever did split, my first question would be whether or not the Southern states would be honorable enough to assume their portion of the Federal debt. Victoria asked "who gets the aircraft carriers?" There's also interesting questions about the freedom of movement between the US and the Confederate states. If you were a Virginian serving in the US army, would you be kicked out? Would you be allowed to stay in the Yankee states, assuming you wanted to? Would the Confederate States of America start hounding expats for tax dollars? Presumably "Yes" because these states take in more money from the Federal government than they pay in taxes and they're likely to be a bit short on pocket money. Apparently it's not OK to tax a Southerner and use this money to help your fellow man, but it's perfectly OK to tax the North and send this money to the Southernor.

All I can say is that if this ever happened, I'd grab some popcorn, buy a television and be glued to the news channels. This would make European political squabbling look like kids fighting over the last piece of candy.
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