Office hours: So what if we come apart?
We're rapidly splitting into two separate nations. Bad or good?
Progressive states are becoming more progressive; regressive states, more regressive. As states move to the left or right, state legislatures are becoming more active and important, while what happens in Washington is growing less so.
1. As red states make it nearly impossible to get abortions, blue states are moving in the opposite direction — codifying the right to abortion and helping cover abortion expenses for out-of-staters. States like Illinois and Colorado vow to become “safe harbors” for women in surrounding states seeking to end their pregnancies.
2. As red states encourage fossil fuels, blue states have banded together to limit carbon emissions. Virginia and several northeast states are working under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In the West, California, Oregon, and Washington are pursuing a Pacific Coast Collaborative to coordinate clean fuel standards and move toward zero-emission cars.
3. As red states open the way for the carrying of concealed or unconcealed firearms with no permits, blue states are moving to ban assault weapons and “ghost” guns. The District of Columbia and eleven states, including Delaware and Rhode Island have banned some weapons and accessories like high-capacity magazines.
4. As red states move to bar gender transition therapies and require transgender students to use bathrooms and join sports teams that reflect their gender at birth, blue states are doing the opposite. They’re accommodating transgender young people, and declaring their states refuges for transgender youth and their families. California’s legislature is considering a bill that would void any subpoena seeking information about people traveling to the state for transition therapies.
5. As red states suppress votes, blue states are making it easier to vote.
6. As red states ban the teaching of America’s history of racism, blue states are approving curricula that informs young people in ever greater detail about the horrors of slavery, the genocide of indigenous peoples, the exclusion of Chinese, and the roundup and imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
7. As red states make it more difficult to qualify for unemployment benefits and other forms of public assistance, blue states are making it easier.
8. As red states make it almost impossible to form labor unions, blue states are making it easier.
9. As red states like Texas pass “bounty” laws enabling private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone aiding and abetting the obtaining of an abortions, blue state like California are passing bounty laws enabling private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone aiding and abetting the purchase of assault weapons.
10. As the two Americas go their separate ways, Americans are also moving to where they feel more politically and culturally comfortable. Progressives who have been living in rightwing states (or communities) are moving to blue states (or communities); rightwing Republicans are doing the opposite.
Which raises today’s Office Hours question: What’s the problem if we become two nations? Why not just split?
Please offer your views below. (I’ll chime in as well.)
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