Monday, November 12, 2012

And We're The Ones Who Did It

I've been having an awful lot of fun lately, absorbing the aftermath of the American presidential and house elections. I find it pretty telling of the level of understanding Americans have in their own political system that everyone is ruing what will happen now that Democrats control the White House for four more years, conveniently ignoring that the House of Representatives is quite firmly in republican hands. Ignoring for the moment that people can vote their conscience rather than the party line (which is statistically unlikely) and that at least a significant number of Americans were foolish enough to vote for a democratic president and a republican congress (never understood that move), it's pretty much unlikely Obama can get anything done before I turn 25, and even less likely after that, because it'll be an election year and nobody wants to light powder-kegs then.

Now, whenever someone's favorite horse loses an election, you always hear at least a few of them threatening to leave. I myself famously threatened to a few of my friends that I would leave for France at once if the conservatives won a majority of seats in Parliament a few years back. They did, I didn't, and the NDP have the official opposition for the first time since, well, confederation. What you're always surprised to hear is people saying they'll succeed from the union. For one thing, sepratism is only a common idea in Quebec around here.

The US has a deeper history of that sort of thing, of course, and one of the bloodiest civil wars in history followed the last honest attempt to split the union. Now we've got petitioners in 15 states - all red states - trying to gain support for popular movements to break up the union.

We'll ignore for the moment how 25,000 signatures, being the magic number for Presidential consideration, won't be enough to split the union, if any of these petitioners even get that far, and skip right on in to why that is a bad idea.

It's a little bit different in the US, mind you, but in a multi-tiered system of government, the federal, state/provincial, and municipal governments all handle different tasks. Now, Colorado (one of the states in question) might have a decent national guard, but a fully-operating military it ain't. Should the Coloradans contract with the Americans for access to NORAD and air defense? Can they afford to continue to beef up their military to the sorts of (frankly, excessive) force that the US enjoys? How about prisons? Food production and manufacturing? Colorado is landlocked - should they build a major international airport to ship in all of their Chinese goods at increased costs, or do you suppose they can import the imports from America, at what I imagine would be considerable tariffs? How do you suppose the Americans will feel about losing their largest source of uranium? Separatism worked so well last time. Let's ignore also the Department of the Treasury. As an internet entrepreneur  I already deal largely with four currencies. Am I really going to have to accept Colarado Dollars as well?

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