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Is It Finally Time to Let the South Secede?

The author of a new book challenges Northerners and Southerners to consider the possibility of a friendly divorce.

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So, as I’ve said, I’ve spent a lot of my life hearing from everybody from Seattle to Savannah. Almost every American, at one time or another, has said that it’s too bad the country didn’t just split when we had the chance. We didn’t let the South go when we had the chance. We would have avoided a lot of problems. We – meaning this group in the north as we might identify ourselves – could take the country we want into a direction that we think is befitting of America without this push and pull that comes from the Southern states. At the same time the South could do the same thing.

What really led to this call for secession was understanding that a lot of people from the South are just as sick and tired of people like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid having an impact on their country as I am sick of people like Newt Gingrich and Jeff Sessions, Eric Cantor, Haley Barbour having an impact on my country.

So why shouldn’t each of these societies that are really very different from each other in the way they approach the fundamental building blocks of society – education, religion, commerce, politics – both sides of the country really approach their problems in the way they want to put their societies together in very diametrically opposed ways. Why shouldn’t people be allowed to live in a pseudo-theocracy if they want to? If the majority of the people in a very large part of the country wants to have the Ten Commandments emblazoned in front of their legislative houses, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do so?

My call here for secession isn’t really a punitive thing towards the South, though I admit to a lot of these Northern frustrations. It’s an effort to identify these differences; to acknowledge that they’re very striking and very strong, and to say each one of these sides might be better of without the other.

JH: So we could have a divorce without an excessive amount of acrimony.

CT: I would hope so. Why not?

JH: How are you defining the South? Are we losing the research triangle in North Carolina? Are we losing Texas in this deal? And is there any chance we could give them some of the duller states. We’re not using South Dakota, are we?

CT: There are some noncontiguous pockets of what would be left of the North that I think would be culturally more comfortable in the South. It’s the first question I started off with in doing the research. It’s a lot trickier than we might imagine. As for the research triangle in North Carolina? Yes, we’re going to lose it. Texas is really interesting to me. The best line I heard about Texas during the research was from a student at the University of Georgia who said the Texas state flag is a perfect representation of Texas, in that it looks just like the American flag without all the other states.

Even though Texas was part of the original Confederacy, it’s always been an all-around pain in the neck to categorize. They’ve never really been much of a team player, let’s face it. In my breakdown of the South I did not include Texas as a Southern state. I completely acknowledge there’s a lot of room for argument there, and that’s probably the easiest point in my book to argue against. I could argue both sides of it myself. In the end I decided that Texas would stay with the North in large part for economic reason. Texas is really one of the economic anchors of this country.