Tuesday, September 29, 2020

2020 First Presidential Debate

I watched the first 45 minutes of the 2020 Presidential Debate.  The first topic was the Supreme Court.  Then the debate kind of shifted to the coronavirus and mask wearing.  It took a brief diversion to college transcripts.  An interesting departure as both men have been out of school for nearly 60 years.  It then kind of drifted to the economy and tax policy.  Around that point, my 11 year old suggested we play rummy and that was wildly more engaging.

From my perspective the playbooks were pretty clear.  President Trump championed his first four years in office (I intentionally state that he was not defending, but actively promoting his accomplishments).  Meanwhile, Vice President Biden attacked the sitting President's record without offering direction for the country.  I think it would be very easy for decided voters to each claim that their candidate won the debate.  I think it would be very easy for undecided voters to be disillusioned with political discourse in the United States.

I have heard the advertisements say that the country will not survive another four years of President Trump.  I have also heard the advertisements that say Vice President Biden is a socialist who will derail the economy, promote a far left socialist agenda and encourage violence and destruction of the suburbs.

I am not naive enough to think that elections do not have consequences.  The Democrats controlled the Senate from 2007-2015.  During that time health care was pushed through and 2 Supreme Court Justices were seated.  The Republicans have controlled the Senate since 2015 and and have pushed through a tax bill and 2 Supreme Court Justices have been seated.  Americans can still keep and bear arms, Roe v Wade has not been overturned, Brown v Board of Education has not been overturned, ...

There is a divide in the United States with the coasts and densely populated areas trending towards the Democratic party and the central states and rural areas trending towards the Republican party.  Only 2 states, Minnesota and Nebraska could be considered split or non-partisan.

The hot button issues of the day are as old as the country itself.  There is a debate over social equality versus traditional social values.  There is a debate between an economic safety net versus deregulation which allows a rising tide to raise all ships.  There is a debate between the United States being a world superpower or isolating itself from the world's woes.

One doomsday scenario is the breakup of the United States.  This does not seem like the end of the world to me.  The borders in Europe have been evolving over the last 100 years.  The Indian Subcontinent divided into India and Pakistan after the British abandoned the colony.  The U.S.S.R broke up during my lifetime.  The Middle East has been a hot mess and will continue to be so for the near future.  

I could see the US breaking up into the NE United States (roughly the Union States at the time of the Civil War).  The SE United States (roughly the Confederacy).  The Republic of Texas.  The Prairie States.  The western United States could band together, but Utah may form its own Republic.  The Native Americans will likely want a swath of the Prairie States.  Hawaii will likely go back to being a Kingdom.  I am not sure what would become of Alaska.  

All of these areas have natural resources and economic opportunities.  All of these areas have belief systems that are fairly unique in terms of social values and economic concerns.  None of these areas would fail to mount a defense, especially if loosely joined together (like NATO).  None of these areas would cry foul if they did not have to pay Federal taxes and argue about how those taxes were redistributed.  

Coming up with 10-15 new flags, might be tough, but if Mississippi can find a way so could the new countries made up of the former United States.

Yes, the economy would suffer, but it would stabilize much as the European Union has.  Yes, some regions would decline as Pakistan has not had the same economic success as India.  Nor has North Korea had the same economic success as South Korea.  Yes, China would be the lone world superpower and have even more influence in world affairs than it does now.

Abraham Lincoln boldly proclaimed that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  The United States is divided.  The Electoral College versus the Popular Vote has been a media darling for quite some time.  The two party system is an anathema never conceived by the writers of the Constitution.  The conservative and liberal leanings of the Supreme Court is a constant source of agony for those who realize the court is doing the legislating that the legislature cannot.  The cooling saucer that is the Senate now allows the 26 smallest states with only 18% of the population to have 52 of 100 Senate seats.  The compromises that have created our current system of government were the direct results of 13 fiercely independent colonies that wanted to be left alone to farm.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."  If you would prefer a more recent reference, in the words of Clemenza from the 1972 film, The Godfather, "That's all right.  These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years.  Helps to get rid of the bad blood."

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