Common Ground

Thirteen months ago, the Trump wing of the Republican party attempted a coup of the US government.  They failed despite injuring hundreds and killing several.  Many hundreds of these people have been indicted for their acts of insurrection.  Prison terms have started to result with hundreds more in the offing.  The Republican party has characterized these people as political prisoners only culpable for peaceful demonstrations.

Despite torn emotions of disbelief and anger, the primary players have simple ambitions – power and money.  Both Democrats and Republicans want to retain the power of the federal purse strings, making sure, for example, that Kentucky gains far more federal funds that it contributes to federal coffers.  In general, the blue states heavily subsidize the red states, earning no gratitude in the process.  In fact, red states tend to distain the federal government, not understanding that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are federal programs.

There has of late been discussion of succession to form blue and red countries.  California and Texas could be credible independent states.  What about Alabama and Mississippi, or North and South Dakota, perhaps joining Montana and Wyoming.  Turning off the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spigots to these states would devastate their economies.  Yet, it may be that these states would thrive on poverty and starvation.  Everyone would be responsible for taking care of themselves.  Many people would die but the strong would prosper.

People would inevitably migrate to the blue states for jobs and economic sustenance.  These people would send remittances to their families in the red states, which will have become the equivalents of developing countries.  Poor education and health would plague these red states.  However, those few people who dominate these economies would control resources and provide meagre incomes to these people.  The red states would, in effect, become colonies of the blue states.

There would be strong upward mobility for the most talented people in the red colonies.  The best and brightest would prosper in blue universities.  The red universities would come to completely focus on sports.  All red university academic programs would be suspended.  Blue universities would outsource their athletic programs to the top red universities.  Agreements with professional sports organizations would provide enormous cash flows to these universities. 

These resources would enable the blue universities eventually to acquire the red universities.  Alumni would push back, but at some point billions of dollars would prevail.  The red states would increasingly feel like vassals of blue states.  This would lead to merger initiatives.  Virginia acquires West Virginia.  Colorado acquires Wyoming, soon followed by Montana and North and South Dakota.  The national map soon resembles a map of the major athletic conferences.

The National Country Alliance Association (NCAA) soon emerges.  Everybody is playing by the same agreed-upon rules.  People come to ask, “Why couldn’t we all just federate into one republic?”  This idea gains momentum and a Continental Congress is scheduled.  Inevitably, someone asks, Didn’t we do this before?” Yes, of course.  Why did we do this before? To gain our independence from England!

Well, why are we doing it now? We need to get beyond ourselves and all our petty grievances. So, should we focus on where we agree?  Yes, and work on our disagreements in the context of this baseline. That’s right. Start from common ground and work from there.

Perhaps this notion could be applied more broadly.  Succession to form blue and red countries is likely a terrible, extremely expensive way to eventually discover the leverage of creating and exploiting common ground.  We will undoubtedly find that we share many aspirations, far beyond the format of the Bowl Championship Series and the NCAA March Madness.

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