Despite Perry’s fighting words, there is no reason for the separation to be an occasion for violence. The globe is replete with two-state solutions: India and Pakistan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Israel and Palestine. Admittedly, these may not be the best examples. A closer parallel would be Czechoslovakia, which, in 1993, split peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Like Czechs and Slovaks, Americans and Texans speak closely related languages, share a common, if not equally intense, interest in football games (though the Dallas Cowboys could no longer style themselves “America’s Team”), and enjoy each other’s cuisines. (Houston has a number of acceptable organic fusion restaurants, and there is a pretty fair barbecue place just a block from The New Yorker’s offices.) The border between the United States and the Federated States (“Confederate” being a word that remains a little too provocative) might not be as trouble-free as that between the United States and Canada, but, compared to the border with Mexico, it would probably require somewhat fewer armed citizen militias and fences topped with concertina wire to thwart illegal aliens desperate for a better life. On balance, trade relations between the U.S. and the F.S. would be advantageous to both. Cultural exchanges, tourism, and even a degree of military coöperation would be far from unthinkable.The rest is worth reading, for many laughs. Keep in mind, many Texans do support secession. Just this weekend Gov. Perry has requested help with the swine flu.
For the old country, the benefits would be obvious. A more intimately sized Congress would briskly enact sensible gun control, universal health insurance, and ample support for the arts, the humanities, and the sciences. Although Texas itself has been a net contributor to the Treasury—it gets back ninety-four cents for each dollar it sends to Washington—nearly all the other potential F.S. states, especially the ones whose politicians complain most loudly about the federal jackboot, are on the dole. (South Carolina, for example, receives $1.35 on the dollar, as compared with Illinois’s seventy-five cents.) Republicans would have a hard time winning elections for a generation or two, but eventually a responsible opposition party would emerge, along the lines of Britain’s Conservatives, and a normal alternation in power could return.
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