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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

“We need a national divorce”: influential American law-maker’s call to separate red and blue states sparks debate

US parliamentarian Marjorie Taylor Greene called for a “national divorce” on Monday, arguing that Republican (red) and Democratic (blue) states needed to be separated and the federal government needed to shrink.

Greene is a white Republican member of the US House of Representatives, the lower house of the US Congress, where she represents a district from the southern state of Georgia. She has risen rapidly up the Republican Party ranks and is seen as a key ally of Kevin McCarthy, the new House of Representatives speaker, and is on prominent legislative bodies like homeland security committee, oversight committee. She has earned growing respectability despite critics slamming her for spreading ‘conspiracy theories’ in the past. Greene is even being discussed by some as as a potential 2024 running mate for Donald Trump.

Her tweet has gone viral and sparked a major debate across the American political spectrum.

As one article in the liberal Intelligencer (part of New York magazine) outlet puts it –

“To be clear, fantasies of a more-or-less peaceful separation of red and blue states have become as common as hand-wringing pleas for a centrist third party to paper over the ideological differences between the two major parties. Some even emanate from left-of-center writers (New York flirted with the idea in 2018), though the bulk of neo-secessionist sentiment, now as in the 1850s, comes from the right…

So Greene is not just a provocateur whose function is to frighten liberals on Twitter. Indeed, it’s the combination of her wild ideology with growing respectability that makes her noteworthy, along with the alarm she has generated among fellow Republicans who clearly think she’s a signs of worse things to come (such as Utah governor Spencer Cox, who called her “national divorce” talk “destructive and wrong and — honestly — evil”).

The only even vaguely plausible route to a peaceful dissolution of the union would be a constitutional convention that would require radically changing or even abolishing the Constitution with the assent of three-fourths of the states. The obvious path to a “national divorce” is precisely the one slaveholding states chose in 1861: a threat of rebellion forcing a choice of disunion or war.

Fellow Republican politician had this to say – “Our country is governed by the Constitution. You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Secession is unconstitutional. No member of Congress should advocate secession, Marjorie.”

Greene is part of the growing group within the Republican Party that is not happy with America’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war.

“This is incredibly insulting. Today on our President’s Day, Joe Biden, the President of the United States chose Ukraine over America, while forcing the American people to pay for Ukraine’s government and war. I can not express how much Americans hate Joe Biden,” she tweeted recently.

Many southern states, including Georgia, were part of the Confederacy that seceded from the United States in 1861 and fought a Civil War against the Union forces consisting of mostly northern states.

Confederate leaders described their ideology as centrally based “upon the great truth that the negro (Blacks) is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.” The Confederacy eventually lost the American Civil War, and although slavery was abolished in USA in 1865, many believe it still continued in the form of neo-slavery’ for another 80 years. Apartheid-like laws, racial segregation and institutionalized discrimination against Blacks and other people of color remained a reality till the 1964 Civil Rights Act removed most of the discriminatory laws and granted non-Whites equal voting rights for the first time. However, racial discrimination still persists in USA, highlighted most recently by the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the last century, Republican and Democrats had a lot in common, such as a common enemy in USSR/communism during the Cold War. They also shared a belief in US exceptionalism as the ‘leader of the free world which had a duty to spread civilization and democracy everywhere’. But in the last 2 decades, the ideological divide between supporters of both parties has grown sharper due to several reasons – controversial overseas military campaigns, 2008 financial crisis due to Wall Street greed, rise of woke culture etc. There is also a growing distrust of the government, especially the Washington Establishment and the politician-lobbyist-corporate nexus.

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