“I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told reporters. The issue that has Mr. Patrick so exercised? The Obama Administration’s public school mandate that transgender students must be allowed to use the restroom and locker room facilities corresponding with their gender identity. Yes, for Patrick and so many others, people using a bathroom is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America. Not hunger, not children with cancer or living in poverty, not homeless veterans- the most pressing issue before them is who uses which bathroom.
The policy of gender identity use of bathrooms, according to Patrick, “will divide the country not along political lines but along family values and school districts,” and he is exactly wrong- it is an entirely political issue, and more importantly it’s largely a regional political issue. The current fracas over restrooms, and Patrick’s bold repudiation of the constitutional power of the Executive Branch is just the latest log on the bonfire of Confederate State identity that has been burning steadily and brightly since the days of the thirteen colonies, and further evidence, as if any more was needed, that the “United States” of America have never actually been united at all. In fact, the nation is in reality an arranged marriage of unwilling partners enforced at gunpoint that literally requires massive bribery to remain intact. But, as is always the case with bribery, it is always simply a temporary solution destined to fail in the end.
As much as they have come to be deified, the people who founded the American nation did not have a crystal ball and they could not see the future. Their political architecture was designed to address the world that they lived in. With Britain an ever-present, menacing presence and France and Spain maintaining designs on the continent, unity among the former colonies was essential to the viability of the new America. The colonies, however, were deeply divided and the only original plan possible called for a very weak alliance between the new states, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, drafted ratified in late 1777. It lasted barely ten years before it became obvious that despite the vast regional differences between the northern and southern states, the only hope of survival for all involved lay in forming a stronger union. On March 4, 1789, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution. Obviously, the alliance did not last.
Near the end of the Civil War, a group of Union soldiers marching deep into the vanquished south came across a lone holdout Confederate soldier who fought them off armed with a single rifle. When they surrounded him, they asked “why are you still fighting?” His answer was simple, “Because you’re here.” While very possibly apocryphal, nevertheless, the sentiment is still shared today by the likes of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and millions of other folks from the Confederate States. The problem is that, outside of Texas and Florida, the Confederate States are not only politically polarizing, literally incapacitating the national government, but they are also financial sinkholes that rely on the tax revenue of the rest of the country to survive and fight every day to frustrate and invalidate the very people who are putting bread in their mouths.
As should be obvious to every American, even before the equally astonishing rises of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the system is broken. It does not work any longer at all and has been run into a ditch, the very same ditch that was apparent to the founders. There are indeed “two Americas” and the day of reckoning is before us and it has one of only two simple, but certainly not easy, solutions. The first would be to finally quit pretending and recognize the Confederate States of America and allow them to secede from the union again, this time peacefully and with the blessing of the rest of the nation so that they might “live their values.” They could join NAFTA in the event they could somehow create a functioning economy, especially given that Texas, the one actual producer in the group, would almost certainly become it’s own republic and balk at continuing the welfare payments the rest of the confederacy relies on to survive.
The second option would to go in the opposite direction by lessening the power of individual states in a long overdue overhaul of the American system of representation. It is, needless to say, absurd that the 36 people who live in Rhode Island, or the marginally more in Delaware, should have the same representation in the senate that forty million Californians do. Two “Dakotas?” Really? If the European Union can demand that Greece reduce it’s annual debt and become solvent, why shouldn’t the American people demand the same of Mississippi, Alabama and the rest of the confederate states by revoking the financial autonomy they have clearly demonstrated they are unable to handle? Who uses school bathrooms aside, how about a basic standard of education that is desegregated and includes Evolution?
The reality in America is that the Confederate States are like woefully wayward children who don’t work yet expect dinner on the table every night. If kicking them out to face the realities of the world in which they would instantly fail seems too harsh, it’s well past time for new house rules to get them off the couch and, at the least, pulling their own freight. They would all worry a lot less about Jesus, people of color and who uses what bathroom if they finally had to take responsibility for themselves.