As readers of American Nations probably know, I’m not a fan of the idea of breaking up the United States, for reasons I outlined more directly in this book review I did for Washington Monthly a few years back. (In short: why would we expect it to turn out peacefully?)
Still, there’s something to be said for some states wanting to reconfigure their own borders in ways that better reflect the centuries-old cultural fissures on the continent. This talk has been growing of late, with a split up of California often at the top of the list.
Consider just the past week. Newspapers in two less-discusssed states with massive cultural fault lines — Oregon and Ohio — floated secession ideas rooted in American Nations’ map.
The first, from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer‘s digital arm, Cleveland.com, muses about Ohio’s (New England-settled) Western Reserve becoming the 51st state. (For some more on their overarching topic — the differences between Cleveland and Cincy — check out this piece in Cincinnati Magazine.)
The second, from the other Portland’s Willamette Week, considers multiple scenarios for dividing the state and the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, they inform us that the American Nations approach is politically unviable because, as they put it, “who wants to show a passport just to visit Pendleton?” (I had to look that up too: it’s a small town in eastern Oregon.)
If you’re new to this American Nations stuff and want to learn more, try this piece or, of course, the book itself.