In October of this year, my alma-mater Furman University kindly asked me to attend a book-signing event for my latest book, Divide the Country, published in March 2020. The book-signing took place in the Barnes & Noble bookstore located inside Furman's Student Center. The B & N at Furman does not look like other B & Ns. Half the merchandise is either Furman sweats and T-shirts, or textbooks.
I had decided beforehand that potential readers would respond better to a nice guy with some personal poise and accessibility than they would to a total stranger spouting strident talking-points. (I'll let the book do that.)
I should have foreseen their reactions: friendly, eye-to-eye contact, occasionally averting their eyes to look at the title. After a quick frown, they turned back to me, as if shaking off my unpleasant proposition.
I can't blame them. I don't like my proposition either. Dividing the country sounds like going through a divorce, exile, or deportation--a curse more than an opportunity (which is what it really is). Consider the alternative--tolerating more extreme behavior from violent groups representing themselves as freedom-fighters or anti-faschists. Americans assume a greater risk if they continue to thrust the unpleasant possibilities from their minds.
The nation does not function well enough to maintain its fitness in a competitive, acquisitive world-environment. What has to occur before we see clearly the consequences of the political divisions? Political division is the main reason there are so few democracies on planet Earth. One side or the other seizes power to resolve the division by force--the losing side bearing the brunt of the repression.
Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson found out the hard way what could happen when one side of the political struggle loses patience with the other. It was like a nightmare out of the Nazi-Soviet political purges. Imagine waking up at night and hearing a mob of complete strangers banging your front door off its hinges and shouting, "We know where you live!" What better way to terrorize your enemies! Imagine also trying to get to sleep after an event like that.
How would you rationalize your inaction? "If I start thinking about dividing the country, my work-performance will suffer!" or you can say, "If I start complaining, I will have to buy a firearm to protect myself," or "If I speak out, I will have to keep my bags packed, to take flight from the persecution." Think about how Tucker's children internalize the feeling of persecution. Your own kids will be the first to tell you not to speak out.
Doesn't the feeling of terror, or at least being called out by the Cancel Culture, deter you from speaking out. This is supposed to be a freedom-loving nation, with protected free-speech. Whoever still believes we have protected free-speech needs to speak to Tucker Carlson. Just the prospect of unwelcome scrutiny, being called-out in social media, and phone-calls from hostile press-reporters will make you decide not to speak out. Do you want your children and grand-kids to grow up in such an environment?
Many young Republicans have already made up their minds--out of the gene-pool. They won't have any children, just dogs and grand-dogs, talking to them like members of the family, and giving up on the blessings of the nuclear family.
Fox News needs to emphasize this point themselves and persuade work-a-day Republicans to submit to interviews to express their fears about intimidation, to galvanize them to do something about it. At this point, we mostly clam up about the divisions.
How long must Republicans wait before we exercise the only peaceful option we have--to divide the country into unified, governable units defined by our political parties--to relieve the stress? Nobody on the Left is going to suggest this. If we don't do it ourselves, no one else will. It is really a test of our faith in our own values--the nuclear family, a market-oriented economy, secure borders provided by adequate law-enforcement and the military. It amounts to faith in the foundational documents that helped us build this country.
And if we wait long enough, we will have to make our escape under duress. But we'll still need somewhere to go.
Be like Jeremiah in the Bible and buy real estate in the new nation to confirm our faith in it.