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Column: The coronavirus pandemic has made one thing perfectly clear: It’s time to split the country

Protesters from ReOpenNC calls on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to ease COVID-19 restrictions due to economic concerns in Raleigh, N.C.
Protesters from ReOpenNC calls on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to ease COVID-19 restrictions due to economic concerns in Raleigh, N.C.
(Robert Willett/The News & Observer)

On Monday night, I was watching TV coverage of the pandemic, first on MSNBC then on Fox News, and a thought occurred.

We are so helplessly, irrevocably divided, it’s time to quit talking about coming together as one and do the only sensible thing.

Roughly 30 years ago, the USSR came to grips with its irreconcilable regional differences and broke apart, splitting into 15 independent republics.

Why can’t we do that here?

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All those who love the man currently running the United States of America would become residents of the Kingdom of Mar-a-Lago.

Good luck to ye all.

If this sounds delusional, maybe it is. Maybe I’ve got a case of cabin fever and it’s eating at my brain. But we’re five weeks into this and it seems like an eternity.

Oh, how I long for the days when I could roam free and focus on more positive news than coronavirus, like the arrest of the L.A. City Councilman jammed up in a federal corruption probe or the rat infestation at City Hall.

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I’ve seen people suggest that any of us who are complaining about our enforced staycations are nothing but wimps. After all, Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison.

Yeah, but he didn’t have cable TV.

I’m both addicted and repulsed.

It’s torture.

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One minute you’re watching scientists warn that we’ll pay with our lives if we return to normal before testing and tracing are in place. The next minute you’re watching President Trump canonize people for demanding the return of their God-given right to eat at a Waffle House and infect everyone around them.

Monday night, sadly, was a no-alcohol night for me. I try to have a couple of those a week. Booze without TV is okay. TV without booze is a test of will and I may not have what it takes.

I watched 30 minutes of MSNBC’s merciless attacks on Trump and Fox News. Then I switched to Fox for 30 minutes of Sean Hannity’s militant defense of Trump, along with a volley of cannon shots at what he calls MSDNC.

This is who we are. A nation irrevocably divided, perhaps more than ever. We hate each other and I have proof. You wanna read some of the email I get?

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We could do it the USSR way and divide into 15 self-governed countries. We could have the Republic of America First, the Commonwealth of God and Guns, the Federated Sanctuary of Huddled Masses (with California as its capital).

But splitting in half seems a little easier to pull off, especially since the president himself expresses such deep-seated contempt for blue states.

The Kingdom of Mar-a-Lago would for sure include the states now racing to reopen for business despite the risks that have been clearly laid out by one medical authority after another. Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Some have said they’ll be cautious, but why hold back?

This weekend, to celebrate the birth of their new republic, they could hold a massive liberation party on all southeast Atlantic beaches. Social distancing would be abandoned. Anyone possessing, wearing or selling a mask — or wondering if the ocean water has gotten warmer — would be shot on sight by a citizen militia.

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In Texas, suspended executions would not only be resumed, but death row inmates would be given lethal COVID-19 injections. And all houses of worship in the Kingdom of Mar-a-Lago would be required to reopen if they hadn’t already, with no restrictions on hugging and kissing.

All Mar-a-Lago immigrants except for Melania would be sent home on rubber rafts, all the king’s conversations with foreign allies and enemies would be “perfect,” nobody smart would pay taxes and journalists would be turned away at the border unless they worked for Fox News.

California, of course, has plenty of red, Trump-loving regions, the largest of which is the Central Valley. When the country splits, everything from Modesto to Bakersfield might want to become a territory of Mar-a-Lago. But once the labor force was deported, I’m not sure how they’d find anyone to work the fields.

I don’t mean to suggest, by the way, that California doesn’t have its own leadership challenges. It ain’t all milk and honey here, by a long shot.

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We’ve got a housing crisis we’ve temporarily forgotten about, epic numbers of homeless people and great wealth alongside even greater poverty. The L.A. Unified School District budget is full of holes. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti says there will be furloughs and even fewer of the basic services he promised. And let’s not forget Newsom’s secretive and suspicious deal to buy $1 billion worth of masks from a Chinese company with a sketchy track record.

But all things considered, we tend to trust science, and, while we’re eager to rediscover our groove, we’re cautious about moving too quickly.

Newsom, if you haven’t noticed, keeps calling us a nation state.

Let’s make it official.


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