March 22, 2010

A Balm in Gilead

I have a proposition for the ultra-conservatives in this country and for the rest of us. Now, I’m not including all born-again or fundamentalist Christians in this proposal—only those who don’t like the way this country was originally set up and would like to change the direction it’s going. Anyone who wishes to would be welcome to participate and no one would be forced to.
Here it is:

I propose that the US cede a certain territory--say with the Rio Grande as the southern and western borders, then east along the Arkansas river to the  Mississippi river on the east—as a sovereign territory to be handed over to those who don’t want to live under the US Constitution anymore. For convenience’ sake, I’ll call the new nation ‘Gilead’. The area is not cast in stone—it is simply one possible region to consider.
The territory thus created would have abundant farmland, a coast and an already developed infrastructure including a number of urban areas ranging from large cities to small towns and the connecting highway network within it. It would also include the oil reserves of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

Now, before those remaining behind get all up-in-arms—allow me to remind you: the infrastructure was paid for by everyone’s tax dollars. Gilead’s citizens paid taxes while they were US citizens and are entitled to the benefits they would have received from them had they remained in the US.
Think about it on an individual level: if you and your family were to move from California to Boston, you would be inheriting the communication systems, roads and water lines set up there before you arrived. The same would be occurring here—just on a larger scale.
The two governments involved could, should they choose to, arrange a repayment agreement for the infrastructure inherited by Gilead.

As to those oil reserves: as the United States of America proceeds into the 21st century without the ball and chain of the population of Gilead around its ankle, it won't need them anymore.  In fact, ceding them to the infant nation may just spur us to get on with the transition already!

Homeowners who live inside Gilead’s boundary who wish to move out could list their homes on the internet. Those who live outside Gilead and wish to move in could do the same. We would then do a 1:1 swap between homes of comparably assessed value. The homeowners would carry their mortgages with them and pay them off on their new properties—or work out appropriate agreements with their respective lending institutions. Those who are renting would simply move to the area of their choice.

A jobs exchange could also be set up online and people could apply for jobs which would be abandoned by those leaving the area they wish to migrate to.

The area to be included is already populated by a number of people who would want to live in Gilead—so there would be less inconvenience to the general population than would occur if either the east or west coast were the region to be ceded.
Even so, this mass migration would take a while—so why don’t we give ourselves about 15 years to complete the move? This would avoid a massive upheaval of the population all at once and give Gilead’s government time to get set up before the Date of Government Transference.

Considerably less than one generation after implementation of the plan, those people who believe the Constitution was a mistake could move to Gilead and create their own country. Gilead would have no ties to the United States beyond a common boundary and any ambassadorial and trade functions the two governments wish to pursue—just as we have now with Mexico and Canada.

* Inside Gilead, if they wish their legislation to consist of the laws set forth in Leviticus, they could set that up.
* If the primary government or that of any city or state wants to put the 10 Commandments or a Nativity Scene on a public building’s lawn or in the lobby, they could do so.
* If the people want to ban any religion other than Christianity, they could do that, too.
* They could close all businesses on Sundays if they wish.
* They could mandate state-sponsored prayer in the schools. They could ban evolution and teach only creationism.. They could include Bible Study in their curricula, as well.
* They could give government funds to faith-based charities and allow discriminatory hiring.
* Given today’s technology, if they wanted to keep unwanted radio and television broadcasts from crossing their borders as well as limiting internet access, I imagine they could do so.
* They could limit marriage to a union between one man and one woman and bar LGBTQ individuals from living in their country [though how they would manage that I do not know.]
* They could ban abortion and contraception and practice abstinence-only and the rhythm method.
* They could allow hospitals to refuse medical care to any woman hemorrhaging from a miscarriage.
* They could ban stem cell research and outlaw the use of any cures found through such research.
* They could prohibit assisted suicide and direct hospitals to practice all heroic measures to maintain life for as long as possible.

Well, you can see the advantages, I’m sure.

Once an adult moved to Gilead, he or she would no longer be a citizen of the US and would not have the Right of Return. If, on the off chance, someone wanted to come back, they would get in line like any other immigrant and go through the full process. [I would recommend an exception be made for people who were below some agreed-on age—say 21—when the move occurred so that people who were minors on the Date of Transfer can make their own decisions when they reach adulthood. Most of them, though, would likely choose to remain where they grew up.]
Travel between the two countries on business or vacation or to visit friends and relatives would be fully permitted, of course, with the same restrictions currently practiced between the US, Canada and Mexico.

In exchange, the United States’ Constitution would be left intact. Those of us remaining in this country would be let alone to live our lives as we wish to do.

This seems to me to be a win-win situation for everyone involved. The needs and wants of all current United States citizens could be met with minimum upheaval and turmoil.

And, whatever you may be thinking—no, this is not tongue-in-cheek. I’ve been thinking about a way out of the situation this country finds itself in and, though many details would have to be worked out, this general plan seems to me to be a fair and equitable solution.
For what it's worth, I originally published this post back in 2001. Since that time it has become even more urgent that some solution to our situation be found. More and more, I believe, our circumstances are becoming untenable. We must search for a viable alternative to our current problems. I think this proposition may be our best chance.