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Sharon Heaton Headshot

A Modest Proposal

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I think it is agreed by all that our nation is politically fractured. The solution is obvious: cleave in half, becoming two separate but friendly nations with a shared history and a cooperative future.

I make this modest proposal at a time when the government is likely to remain closed for some undetermined period of time and there is an open question about whether we will honor our financial obligations. No one wants these results, but both sides prefer government closure -- and potentially default -- to forfeiting principle. Rather than a Hobson's choice why not face the fact that each side should be able to have a representative government that reflects its belief structure? I can claim no special insight in suggesting this reasonable course of action, as the idea originated with Gov. Rick Perry.

For those naysayers who say it cannot be done, I echo Ted Cruz who has asked that we shoot for the moon. How could we determine which parts of America become Country A and which Country B? The answer is clear -- we have already picked our future camps. Eighty members of the House of Representatives have asserted that it would be better to have the government close than fund Obamacare. In contrast, other members of the House and large sections of the Senate believe that continuing to fund the government is important, especially since there is no chance that Obamacare will be defunded.

The question of national destiny should be put to a vote, with each House district deciding which country to join. After ten years, the question could be put to the population again. Then the two countries would be set for half a century until there would be one final vote, setting forever the boundaries of two Americas.

Any current U.S. citizen would be free to move to either country -- there would be a totally open border. If there would be any areas in which either country might want to work together, they could do so by mutual agreement.

Imagine the relief for both Americas. We could move ahead to deal with such national issues as infrastructure needs, immigration reform, gun control, education, climate mitigation, and such things as harvesting science to advance the national health. Or not. We could predict that one country would include New England, the Washington, D.C.-Boston corridor, the Pacific coastline, and the more populated sections of the west.

Most of the south and portions of the Midwest would make up the second country, supplemented by numerous rural districts in the west and in Pennsylvania. The good people of this second America truly believe "Obamacare" is killing jobs, are opposed to any gun control, would rather have low taxes on billionaires than ensure that babies have sufficient food, believe that global climate change is a fraud and that Voting Rights legislation limits freedom. Given these beliefs, why should they be married to people with such different viewpoints?

And why should the other citizens of America, who believe that a vocal minority of the population have hijacked the nation's politics and prevented progress, be similarly weighted down?

Give everyone what they want -- their own country to govern with cohesive values.

I suggest this not because I have the least personal interest in endeavoring to create two Americas. I have no other motive than the public good of my country, advancing our trade, providing for our children's future and advancing the hope that some united national purpose may once again bloom, even if it has to bloom twice.