Writer Keven Baker’s modest proposal, tongue-in-cheek, is spiked with enough telling arguments to make me wonder why blue states go on funding the insanities of red states. (“Bluexit,” by Keven Baker, New Republic, April 2017, pg. 19-25.) In 2015, when Texans circulated their petition to secede from the Union, I cheered. (click) No more record-breaking executions, no more squabbles about textbooks that tout creationist theories above evolution. Let Texans take their religious piety and their desire to control a woman’s vagina and go play with themselves.
Baker’s arguments aren’t emotional. He drives home his point with data. Laid out as numbers, rather than ideologies, he exposes the tax burden blue states bear to support red states. The numbers are staggering. Red states are twice as dependent upon federal assistance programs than blue states. Mississippi, for example, one of the reddest and poorest states in the nation, receives $4.70 in federal aid for every $1.00 it pays in taxes and “one in five residents are on food stamps.” (Ibid pg. 20)
The rust belt comes in for a little awakening, too. As Baker points out, those states rejected Hillary Clinton in the last election and voted for Donald Trump, forgetting it was the Democrats who bailed out the auto industry while the Republicans vehemently opposed it. Like Mississippi and a good deal of the south, they show a penchant for shooting themselves in the foot.
True, blue states are behind red states in the number of automatic rifles circulating in their communities. But the blue states do have the “nation’s leading hospitals, medical schools, and medical research institutes.” (Ibid 22.) Amtrak doesn’t make a dime serving poor rural areas. The money to support those routes comes from the profits generated by the Northeast Corridor, largely the run between New York and Washington D. C. (Ibid, pg. 22) .
Frankly, I don’t understand why red states hold the federal government in such enmity. They don’t pay for it. The blue states do. So, when FEMA arrives to dig them out after the next devastating hurricane or tornado, or from the ruble caused by fraking in Oklahoma, a thank you note to the blue states would be nice.
Red states probably harbor the notion that blue states have some advantages they don’t. I suspect that’s true. We who live in the blue states see our neighbors as assets, whatever their backgrounds or lifestyles, and we don’t think voting is a privilege reserved for Christian whites. We view it as an obligation for all. Working together, we have built prosperous communities. Any red state that would care to follow in our footsteps would be welcome.