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Brian Mark Weber / October 8, 2021

The Great National Divorce?

Americans are seemingly more polarized than ever, leading to more talk of secession.

A lasting relationship takes two.

Both parties need to be willing to compromise, to put aside their own agendas for the good of the whole, and to not allow petty differences to lead to separation. Each side also needs to have a set of core values and beliefs tying them together through the tough times.

Throughout much of American history, we counted on these values and beliefs to sustain us through all the partisan bickering. But for the first time since perhaps the Civil War, there’s growing talk of a national breakup.

“A nation’s institutions are its bedrock,” wrote historian Victor Davis Hanson earlier this year. “Yet the Electoral College and the Constitution’s emphasis on individual states establishing voting laws are under assault. Already gone is the 176-year-old tradition of a pivotal November Election Day. The 152-year-old nine-member Supreme Court, the 184-year-old Senate filibuster and the 62-year-old idea of a 50-state union are all being targeted by the New Democratic Party.”

The Left wants to change our governing institutions, history books, statues, and genders. If you can believe it, leftists are even suggesting it’s time for a new U.S. flag.

It’s no wonder a growing number of Americans are mentioning a word that we thought was only in the history books: secession. But the contributing factors are not merely the result of the cultural and political turbulence of the past few years.

City Journal reports: “The schism was already evident in the increasing number of state and local officials enacting laws and policies that ban travel and restrict commerce with other American places with governments they object to — a trend that the Covid-19 emergency has only deepened. In everything from tax policy to travel to contracting rules, a secession movement within the states has been building for years.”

Grabien editor Tom Elliott argues that the system designed by our Founding Fathers was not meant for a citizenry to look to the federal government to solve all of our problems. “Ultimately this all speaks to the same problem: too much power is concentrated into too few hands,” Elliott writes. He adds that since we’ve become so divided on too many issues, mainly driven by the Left’s desire to acquire raw power at any cost, the only remedy to restore Liberty is separation. “Voluntarily, and peacefully, separating states so that they can more effectively manage their affairs, and create new economic growth, would signal to the world that America is once more charting the path forward.”

Veteran political analyst Rich Lowry, however, insists this idea of divorce is a terrible one: “The practical obstacles are insuperable, and the likely effects would be very unwelcome to its proponents. If an insufficient patriotism is one of the ills of contemporary America, then a national divorce would prescribe arsenic as a cure. It would burn down America to save America, or at least those parts of it considered salvageable.” He points to myriad practical problems of splitting, like “who gets control of the federal government” and its “1.3 million people under arms and a stockpile of 3,800 nuclear warheads.”

Americans have always prided themselves on vigorous public debates about important issues, so are we really more divided today than before?

A survey from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics suggests we are. The poll revealed that more than half of Donald Trump voters at least “somewhat agree” that red states should break away from the blue, and 41% of Joe Biden voters think blue states should do the same.

A federal government that is at once seemingly incapable of doing anything for the American people and also hell-bent on taking power from the states and the people has even driven some areas of the country to form regional alliances short of secession.

Clearly, opinions of those on the Left and the Right have grown more entrenched on either side ever since Biden promised to unite Americans, only to turn against half the country. This attitude about Biden’s failure to bring us together is reflected in a Fox News national poll showing Americans by a 54-37 margin believe the country is less united because of Biden.

There’s no doubt Americans are divided, but there are some good signs. President Biden is wildly unpopular across the board on a range of issues, and Americans seem to be tiring of wokeness and the scorched-earth politics of the Left.

Maybe watching the country break down right before our eyes is the reality we need to start rebuilding again. Like any marriage on the rocks, the rebuild will take a lot of work and many decades. But what happens if we continue on the same trajectory?

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