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Splitting the Difference 

Divorce, Red and Blue States Style

Now that the 2004 election is over and we've had a chance to rinse that awful taste out of our mouth as best we can, reality is setting in. We find an America who's being forced to deal with the dirty little secret that's been festering for 50 years; there are two Americas and they've been steadily growing apart.

America pulled sovereign states together into a remarkable union in the 1770s then saw itself nearly torn apart as it tried to grow, culminating in a bloody civil war. Despite those profound, painful differences, we still managed to rebuild an even greater country out of that deep divide, using compromise and a sense of fairness to amass wealth and comfort for the average citizen on a scale the world had never before seen.

In the 1920s, urbanites launched jazz, danced the Charleston and drank illegal gin, digging a cultural divide that only something as huge as the Great Depression could fill up again. Then after WWII, it began again, first with youthful rebellion in the 1950s and then with open cultural revolution in the 1960s. The following 20 years saw liberals and conservatives each pushing harder and harder for an America groomed in their respective images, a bickering forced marriage of inconvenience that somehow found a way to work not only in spite of the differences but, to a large degree, because of them.

Then the Reagan Revolution came along and changed the conservative rule of the day from compromise to evangelize. And here we are today.

We find ourselves divided, this time not into Blue and Grey, pointing rifles across homeland soil, but Red and Blue, facing off in a great cultural feud. Even though America is still a spry young pup as countries go, we've hit a midlife crisis that is well past the comb-over and Corvette phase. Americans are seriously considering partisan divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. And they may be right -- maybe it is time to split up.

Given our deep societal schism, divorce almost makes more sense than trying to reconcile. Despite the absence of a national pre-nup, a partisan divorce settlement almost begins to write itself. So, who gets what?

The following arrangement seems fair: The Red States of America get Disney World, while The Blue States of America get Disneyland.

Red States America finally gets to drill Alaska while Blue America gets to surf Hawaii.

The Blue States get Janet Jackson's boob and the Red States get FCC honcho Michael Powell.

That part all falls into place almost without effort. After that, though, it's not so cut and dry. The Purple Mountains' Majesty is nearly impossible to distill into Red or Blue, while the Amber Waves of Grain (essential for making beer), while technically in Red State territory, aren't likely to be given up so easily by the Blues.

Other assets will need to be split apart as well.

The Red States will get to keep the letter W, while Blue gets to deal with making all the other letters work together, even that pesky Q.

Blue gets most of the Bill of Rights, except for the Second Amendment.

Blue gets Doonesbury and Tom Tomorrow while Red gets BC and Family Circus.

Red America gets the Old Testament. Blue gets the New one.

Red retains rights to the brand name Jesus, Blue owns Justice.

Red gets to force you to save your soul from yourself but Blue gets soul food, soul music, and all references to Karma (good and bad).

Blue gets to keep Darwin's Science of Evolution while Red gets Bush's Faith-Based Math where anything can add up to anything you want so long as God says it is so.

Red takes all the yellow mustard, Blue grabs the Heinz Ketchup.

Blue gets mayonnaise, Red gets Miracle Whip.

White bread goes Red, multigrain goes Blue.

Red gets hillbilly heroin, Blue gets medical marijuana.

Blue can keep watching The Simpsons, Red has King of the Hill.

Red gets to live in the big McMansion with the servants' quarters out back. Blue takes a big tent with a big sky overhead.

And it only gets more complex from there.

This mess could be avoided if we'd just get back to the spirit of compromise and fairness that made this country what it is today. All it would take is putting the good of country before ego and dogma -- just a matter of putting what is best for all over personal profit. How hard is that?

But, really, who am I kidding? In the meantime, call the damn lawyers and get your grubby hands off my Springsteen CDs.

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