Get our newsletters

Chatterbox: Can America work?


The question is hypothetical.

I recently heard a gal, born and raised in Los Angeles who moved to Alabama, say she was warned by her neighbors about culture shock. Relocating to other parts of the country, Americans face differences they may not have thought of.

We are one nation but, region to region, we differ greatly, from small things like cuisine and recreation to large things like political mindset and inherent discrimination. It leads to the question: “Is America too big?” More than likely our issues would be more easily mitigated, and remedies would be simpler, if our largest umbrella of government was smaller.

We are not the largest nation by square mile. We don’t have the world’s densest population. Still, we’re a hard nation to unite and, though we’ve been losing ground since the ’70s, the representation of our last three administrations has driven hard wedges through our issues. Add to the equation the fact that we are one citizenry comprised of multiple and mixed origins – a strength often used to divide us.

It’s not possible, or even desirable, but it’s interesting to hypothesize about what the U.S. would be like if it were governed smaller. One part might be more peaceful, another might have national health care, another might suffer less infiltration of corporate control. As, let’s say, four different nations, each would have a wholly separate government, but remain under the stewardship and umbrella of the strength that is America. What could these sections look like in terms of benefits and restrictions to their population? Perhaps, there are just too many different opinions for us to be sharing one huge national government.

The framers empowered states through governorships, state and local representation. These things were built to localize certain duties as well as to garner local feedback for accurate representation of local people at the national level. However, with the radical and even separatist attitudes we’re seeing today, and so many politicians building personal careers instead of a strong nation or even strong state representation, state governments aren’t functioning fully. Intelligent cooperation at the national level no longer rules. Working for one strong, united nation is being compromised, and advancements are being abated.

We’re hearing more and more rally cries based in regional differences, when it’s imperative that all leadership agree on an agenda and use all their influence to achieve goals that strengthen America as a whole. If our implied cooperative government becomes much more obstinate and divided than it has been over, at least, the past three administrations, we really do face, as a nation, losing hard-won legislation that serves the larger part of our population and going backwards in both the freedoms of the individual and advancement of the population at large.

At the very least, representation must become transparent; we must know where we stand. It will be a step up from stagnation, as many laws now being sought as representative of the population at large are not, should not and cannot become the law of the nation. Many state legislators are trying to promote localized thinking as national policy, but no state preference should ever be legislated nationally.

We often think national discrepancies, especially in basic human rights, are most highlighted by the longstanding differences between the northern and southern region of the U.S. Lately, we are seeing more and more of this; that’s true. However, most of us do realize that there are many sections of the country that have different schools of thought. Some of these do exist along party lines but most vary among individuals. It makes unique representation, among so many, over such a huge landmass very difficult. It also gives elected officials not only a hard job to do, but one that can be lost in the mix easily when it benefits their campaign.

Our job is to make our representation understand their job; their job is to legislate to the benefit of the largest number of Americans. We can’t allow ourselves to be stymied by professional politicians seeking publicity and reelection.

If a nation’s government can’t resolve itself to, first and foremost, act together for the benefit of the greatest portion of the nation it governs, it will collapse and take the nation it governs with it. With so much at stake, are we too big to be controlled?

The answer is irrelevant, but this is where we are, so the question is, where do we go, right now, from here?