Feb 022010

Note: This is not bella gerens.

Since my sister has been kind enough to give me privileged access to her blawg, and since I’m her brother and enjoy teasing her, I’m going to hijack her soap box in order to differ on the matter of redefining the American states. Thus, what she posted previously as an oddity from the bowels of the series of tubes to muse upon, I am now using to let slip the war of siblings.

Bella, bella, I would have expected you to esteem more highly the history of our fine union, being yourself an historian. These states–yes, states just like France, Germany, Zimbabwe, India, etc.–have their own distinct histories and cultures. Where one finds barbecue, one is not likely to find pirogi. Where one finds caucuses, one is not going to find primaries. Where one finds cowboys, one is not likely to find trees named after Blackbeard. The American states have existed as they do, independently of one another, for centuries. They are not, nor have they ever been a single unit. This is often ignored by pompous federal politicians because it is in their interests to belittle the significance of these states. But states they remain. Independent they remain. Sovereign, at least in principle, they remain.1

The close friendship among these states and their common language2 have obscured their differences and have led many in the world to believe that the United States is when, in fact, the United States are.3 It is insulting that this person, whoever he is, believes that the mere representatives of these states (in congress assembled and so forth) have the capacity to redraw the map of our continent–a feat which on other continents (e.g. Europe) has only been accomplished at the cost of much blood and abiding enmities. This man has grossly misunderstood the nature of the American union. The states have bound themselves to one another for their common defense and prosperity but have not surrendered so much of their sovereignty as to become administrative districts.

Britons, I’m sure, can identify with my indignation at such a suggestion. Heritage and independence is held equally dear to any people whether British, Carolinian, or Alaskan. Abolition of our sovereign states would be like asking the British people to submit to a central continental authority of some kind…. The mind boggles at the very idea.

1 Sadly, our federal overlords seem insatiable in their appetite for power.
2 Excepting of course that French was once widely spoken west of the Mississippi River and Spanish was, and still is, common in the west.
3 I mean this grammatically as well as ontologically. It really irritate me when verbs and nouns fails to agrees.

  6 Responses to “A Different Perspective”

  1. I submit to you that though the states be unique, their geographical boundaries as originally drawn were both arbitrary (in the sense that they do not correspond to natural topological features) and irrespective of culture, as (a) there is as much cultural diffusion within states as between them, and (b) many of the cultural differences between states are the result of foreign migration that took place after the state lines were drawn.

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree with your reasons for rejecting the man’s proposition. In my post I set out to enumerate some of the immediately practical problems with his suggestion, and objected to the idea that federal convenience should trump existing state governments. That is, you will note, both recognition and appreciation of state sovereignty. However the states came into being, they are unique historical and political entities now whose sovereignty with their geographical territory is enshrined in our dear Constitution.

    But it is a fictive sovereignty, as the only occasion on which that principle was tested has shown us, and to forestall the minds of those for whom the only principles are ‘might makes right’ and ‘the needs of the collective precede the needs of its individual members,’ one must present objections grounded in praxis. For even if we believe state sovereignty to be actionable fact, they don’t, and will not be swayed by the strength of our conviction, no matter how much we think they ought.

  2. Also – ‘series of tubes’? *snorfle* Dude’s on crack, yo.

  3. Bella-sibling’s eloquent defense of the sovereignty of American states warms my heart; but Bella’s point regarding the late US invasion of a confederation of sovereign states has to be reckoned with regarding whether states are, in fact, sovereign. Rewind to the Articles.

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