The Disunited States of America
The Disunited States of America
It’s been said that breaking up is hard to do, but will irreconcilable differences stoked by the ever-growing political divide amongst Americans be the catalyst for a major break up of the world’s foremost military and economic superpower?
For those who have studied American history, it’s a safe bet to say that the United States is the most divided it has been since the period between the 1820s to the 1850s, when a series of events such as the Missouri Compromise, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott Decision as well as the Lincoln — Douglas Debates were the triggers for the first American Civil War, which raged from 1861–1865, and claimed the lives of 620,000 Americans.
As political turmoil once again grips a divided Land of the Free, writers and political commentators weigh in on the possibility of a second civil war. Those on the left of the political spectrum believe that alleged incitement of violence by outgoing president Donald Trump and skipping the inauguration of Joe Biden could be a catalyst for internal conflict, while many right of center Americans believe that descent into far-left governance coupled with attacks on the Constitution including gun control, will be triggers for armed conflict.
Although an actual Second American Civil War is highly unlikely, from where things stand now, it appears as though the 2020s promise to be a particularly turbulent decade not only in the United States but other western nations as well.
A more pressing question on people’s minds these days regards whether Americans will work through their political differences and anger at each other, or forever go their separate ways. In fact, a growing chorus of Americans from different walks of life, including media outlets such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, is advocating what amounts to the Balkanization of the United States, with like-minded states forming blocs.
The great state of Texas is the only state in the union which is also a republic, and many Texans have hopped aboard the most recent secessionist movement aptly named TEXIT. Other states, including California, have also had similar movements that to date have gained little traction.
But, looking at this hot-button issue through the lens of reality, will the United States break up in our lifetimes? My money says no, simply due to the fact that the American people have traditionally always bounced back from political division. That being said, all good things eventually come to an end.
In recent years, America’s good neighbor and close friend to the north has also experienced division, but more along regional lines. Although the Quebec separatist movement has gradually been winding down for the past couple of decades, calls for secession or — at the very least, — more autonomy from Ottawa, have grown in Western Canada, especially in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
As we speak, the WEXIT movement (which includes federal and provincial political parties) has gained considerable traction as many western Canadians once again feel left out of what many see as the elitist politics of urban eastern Canada. While many proponents of western separation favor forming a new nation, others (particularly in Alberta) see more merits in joining the United States.
Given that the United States (and Canada) are still very young countries compared to most of the rest of the world, it is conceivable that these nations could one day splinter into smaller states. Looking back through the annals of history, the borders of most European countries have changed consistently over the centuries. The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, as did the former USSR as well as the former Yugoslavia.
Forty years ago, American journalist Joel Garreau penned ‘The Nine Nations of North America’, in which the author suggests that the US and Canada can be divided into nine nations based along economic and cultural lines.
A break up of the United States would definitely shake up the world’s geopolitical situation. The very pressing question regarding whether the collapse of the USA not only makes China and Russia more powerful but more aggressive militarily in their regional spheres of influence needs to be answered. Perhaps if a break up does occur, these new countries carved out of the former USA and possibly Canada could form a mutual defense pact as well as other commonalities.
It may be too early to decipher whether the events taking place in the USA right now will be the trigger for a second civil war or the nation’s demise. Only time will tell if the political and racial divisions are healed, or become more inflamed to the point of no return.
Chris McGarry is a professional writer who lives in stunning Prince Edward Island, Canada on a blueberry farm. Since graduating from a journalism course in 2006, he has written for newspapers, magazines, blogs, online publications in addition to copywriting and the 16 novels he’s penned. When he’s not working on his latest project, you can find him working out in the gym, hiking in the woods, or playing trivia.