Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants a national divorce, but it doesn't look like red states will come out ahead. | Private Eye | Salt Lake City Weekly

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants a national divorce, but it doesn't look like red states will come out ahead. 

Private Eye

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One thing that no one can deny about our country is that it produces a spectacular number of great and deep thinkers. Men like former Utah Jazz gym trunks model John Stockton come to mind, a person who can deduce from ambiguous headlines, dubiously sourced tweets and fringe medical professionals what the true nature of viral disease is. Or there are women like Republican Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Opal Boebert, who has shared so many great and deep thoughts that she has her own hashtag: #laurenboebertissodumb.

It used to be that a great or deep thinker would be aligned with personages like Sigmund Freud, Carl Sagan, Martha Nussbaum, James Watson, Francis Crick or Neil deGrasse Tyson. Alas, that ship has sailed. A person considered to be a deep thinker these days is basically anyone who has over three followers on Twitter.

In former times, whole families would put their dinner plates away and head to the TV room lounge chairs to watch the nightly news. We weren't at all consumed by what some third-rate actor, bankrupt businessman, washed-up politician or low-life provocateur had to say about anything at all, let alone their thoughts on medicine or current events.

Indeed, those folks never even made the nightly news, which was just fine and dandy because everyone seemed to be on the same page regarding just about any topic. Americans in the past just didn't take the time to seek out random social media posts in order to get their daily news, nor to form opinions.

In that world, if John Stockton thought that people (especially athletes, where John is laser-focused on this matter) were "dying suddenly" after taking a COVID vaccine at some point in their lives, we would never have known. His thoughts would have been contained, wafting no farther than a locker-room fart. Same for Lauren Boebert. Her noisy pronouncements wouldn't even make the social pages of her local hometown paper, let alone be fodder to embarrass every good citizen of the state of Colorado. It's like she's in a race to be the next Sen. Mike Lee or something.

This is who we are these days, a whole society that, if it is not tuned into the daily ramblings of every sort of wacky muse on social media, it's nonetheless affected by them. For example, some people regard Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as some kind of MAGA moron. She's not a moron—she just plays one in Congress. She's probably quite bright, but in all the wrong ways, sort of like her hero Donald Trump. Such is the nature of good and evil, devils and angels.

Despite the flaws in our great American system, Greene is a duly elected official who represents the citizens of the 14th Congressional District in that great blue state of Georgia. Well, it may be too early to tell, but it looks like red Georgia is tipping blue, at least with President Joe Biden carrying the state in 2020 and with two Democratic senators. No matter—in either case, it presents a problem for Greene in that she has proclaimed that our red and blue states should divorce from each other and go their separate ways.

I presume she means that the United States may have an amicable divorce, but the lessons of history speak otherwise, notably in the 1860s when 620,000 Americans died fighting for either the North or South during the Civil War. Adjusting for better weaponry and deadlier battlegrounds, that's about 12 million currently living Americans "dying suddenly" in order to fulfill Greene's wishes. Seems like a steep price to me.

I wonder if John Stockton would rally behind the blue forces of his home state of Washington, or blend into the deep red machine that defines today's "no conspiracy is too dumb for us" Idaho. And where will Boebert land in blue Colorado? Can she find peace among the peaceniks?

This isn't exactly a new topic, by the way. An article in The Atlantic from June 2022 discussed the pros and cons of separation of red and blue states. An example: Red states (with minor exceptions, Utah being one, luckily for us in the short term) produce less for the economy, have lower household incomes, shorter life expectancies and much higher incidence of opioid and alcohol addiction. But who wouldn't want to live in Arkansas?

Conversely, blue states have lower poverty, spend more on education (by 50%), have more labor unions and union members, have expanded Medicaid, have protections for minorities and genders, have no "Stand Your Ground" laws and the residents benefit from typically higher-paying jobs. That, of course, accounts for blue states having higher taxes to pay, and who isn't pissed about high taxes? Yeah, me, too, but not to the point of going to war over them or moving to a state where Ted Cruz is my Senator in order to avoid them.

This separation is going to be tough since we'd certainly have to reshape our state maps. Most border changes result from disparity of resources or opportunity. Greene speaks of borders predicated on whim.

Parts of Oregon and Idaho might merge in favor of a red leaning, but so too might Southern California sweep into Phoenix or Tucson. Our borders would become fluid, adapting to the musings of a populace, drawn to either wine on one side or meth on the other. Sorta like Europe.

Meanwhile, the democracy once embraced as our national core becomes threatened and, ironically, along with it the religious tenets that were once protected by it as we traverse to ever more disparity of thought and belief. As sayeth the aforementioned philosopher Martha Nussbaum, "Democracy simply doesn't work without love and compassion."

From my blue county in a red state, that couldn't be more true. Just waiting for the divorce papers."

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About The Author

John Saltas

John Saltas

Bio:
John Saltas, Utah native and journalism/mass communication graduate from the University of Utah, founded City Weekly as a small newsletter in 1984. He served as the newspaper's first editor and publisher and now, as founder and executive editor, he contributes a column under the banner of Private Eye, (the original... more

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