The Red & The Blue: Two Nations, One Under God, Divisible

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

OK  I’ve got an idea.  Sometimes these can be dangerous – like when I wanted to enroll in law school or get an MBA – but I think that this one has merit.  Hear me out.

America is hopelessly divided politically:  hence, the stalemate in Congress; the Presidential elections that hinge on the votes of three people in Ohio — and one could be Joe the Plumber.   Let’s face it – we have evolved into two separate nations with values and beliefs as far apart as L.A. and Alabama.  Instead of sitting and crying about it (or getting vicarious revenge through The Daily Show), let’s do something for once.  Here then is my immodest proposal:

Do what Lincoln should have and break the U.S. into two distinct nations:  The United States of Tolerance (UST), and the United States Of Jesus (USJ).  Here’s how it works:

Eliminate all present federal highways which cross the country, like the I-90.  The 5 (Golden State) can stay since it traverses wholly Blue Land.  In their stead, build a road from Seattle to Minneapolis, with no exits in Montana and North Dakota.  Similarly, build an interstate from Los Angeles to New Mexico, and from NM to Florida, with no offramps in the South.  In this freeway’s mind, Dixie does not exist.  They will have their own roads (possibly dirt) for White Vehicles Only.

Now that we’ve cut off transportation between the two prospective nations, let’s examine how commerce between them will work.  The same as it does now, except that taxes in USJ will be paid to their new capitol in Montgomery, AL (I wanted to make it Richmond, after the Confederacy, but good on VA, they’re a Blue State now!).   Good luck to USJ, since they currently collect more in federal aid than they pay out in taxes.  I’m sure that Texas border vigilantes will serve as local police, and the KKK can put out the fires they start.  The Idaho Militias can provide an ad hoc National Guard.

Now onto federal laws.  The UST will still retain the Constitution, though Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts will be “encouraged” to retire.  With Originalists gone and a predominantly Democratic Congress, the following laws will be passed:

1)      National Healthcare (and not even one mention of the word “socialism”!)

2)      Equal Pay For Women  (Even though they’re not fetuses, they’re people.)  Which brings us to:

3)      Reproductive Choice – made on a personal, not governmental , level.  And oh yeah:

4)      Use of fetal tissue to cure deadly diseases

5)      Legalization of gay marriage

6)      Abolition of the NRA

7)      Proponents of hate speech and racism deported to USJ, Deep Fried Sector

This leaves the USJ to enact whatever the hell laws they want.  Such as:

1)      Combination of Church & State

2)      USJ declared a Christian theocracy, with Jesus the titular head

3)      No abortions – ever.  Ditto, contraceptives.   An occasional maybe:  the rhythm method.

4)      Teaching of “intelligent <sic> design”, i.e., Creationism, in schools

5)      Founding Fathers to be depicted riding dinosaurs (thank you, Tom Tomorrow!)

6)      Women to be stay-at-home Moms only – sorry, Nikki Haley & Elizabeth Dole!

7)      Mexican border to be guarded by Star Wars missile defense manned by slaves  captured Hispanic nationals.

8)      Every citizen required to own a gun.  NRA has its own federal department.

So what’s so wrong with my scheme?  It’s practical, and relieves the mounting pressure between religious zealots who wish to dwell in the 15th century and the “cosmopolitans” of Manhattan, with their soy lattés, NPR, and sodomy.

UST gets to keep Hollywood, the NY publishing industry, Las Vegas, and Hawaii; USJ gets nearly the entire South;  states filled with waving wheat and potatoes; and Alaska, with animals aplenty waiting to be slaughtered, preferably from a low-flying helicopter.  Florida, although a Blue State in the 2008 election, will be considered On Probation until 1) They acknowledge the existence of Cuba  2) They learn to distinguish a hanging chad from an orange and  3) Kathleen Harris is exiled to Wasila.

Likewise, Santa Cruz, CA and Eugene, OR will not be admitted to the UST until they sign an acknowledgment that it’s not the 60’s anymore.   If California objects to anything, it can simply withdraw and become its own country again (The Bear Flag Republic) .  Its GDP will still be more than the entire USJ’s.

On the other side, Texas might want to declare its independence if it decides to Remember The Alamo. JR Ewing might be brought back to head the Lone Star nation.  Mitt Romney can preside over Utah, and a hologram of Jefferson Davis can be the President-at-large.  Minorities (non-Christians, blacks, Hispanics, LGBT, anyone-who-isn’t-white) might want to emigrate over to the UST.   Likewise, those who are struck by the thunderbolt of Enlightenment, as well as evolutionists, women, and the entire population of Austin, TX.

Atlanta will be declared a Neutral Zone, like Switzerland but with CNN instead of Alps.  Ted Turner, “The Mouth Of the South”, will be named Honorary Mayor, unless he remarries Jane Fonda.  Lockheed with be forced to move its operation from Marietta, GA, back to Burbank, CA (hey, we need jobs!).  USJ companies allowed to continue doing business in the UST:  Krispy-Kreme, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Popeyes.   Those we’d like to have:  Chick-Fil-A, Emeril’s New Orleans, and Lexington Barbecue No. 1.

Los Angeles and NYC will be declared “no go zones” by the USJ.  A Fundamentalist film industry will be set up in Dollywood, TN.   USJ residents will be allowed to cross over into Florida in case they want to go to Disney World (why make the children suffer?).   The inverse will be true for Nashville.  And oh yeah, country music is banned in UST — except for Willie Nelson.

I think you can see that I’ve come up with a workable solution.  No more Congressional squabbling.  No more Santorums jamming their antediluvian views down our throats , and on their side, no more exposure to “R”-rated films and Rihanna.  Let’s end this Values War once and for all.  As long as we get to keep Graceland.

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On Good Friday: One Jew’s Appreciation Of Jesus

Since today is Good Friday (and I’m not sure what’s so good about it, since it was the day that Jesus was crucified), I’d like to devote a few paragraphs to an appreciation of the Man Himself (out of respect to Christians, I will capitalize His name, though I don’t believe in his His divinity.  If I did, I would be a Jew For Jesus, and I really don’t like them. Make up your mind already!)

The quotes attributed to Jesus are profound.  He truly was The Prince Of Peace, for He said: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:43-44). This is a pretty far cry from the Old Testament “Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

In fact, Jesus responded to this Mosaic law in His Sermon On The Mount: “but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” (Matthew 5:38-48).

He propounded loving kindness to our fellow human beings: “Do not return evil for evil. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give way to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:17-21)

He may have been the first anti-materialist hippy.  Besides driving the moneylenders from the Temple, He said:  “For what shall it profit a man, if he gaineth the whole world, and loseth his own soul? (Mark 8:34-37).  Jamie Dimon, take note!  Here, He seems to take on the dominant credo of America: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Matthew 6:19-21).  Are you listening, Kerry Killinger?! (former CEO of Washington Mutual).  Prepare now for not being served ice water in Hell!

Jesus was well aware of those who require acclamation whenever they give to charity.  Like, having a wing named after yourself at a hospital or museum.  These are his words on the subject: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “
“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4-14).  In this age of self-aggrandizement, this seems to conflict with the ethos of everyone wanting to have their name up in lights (or to  star in their own reality show).

Here’s a saying from Jesus which I think He addressed directly to His fellow Jews: “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27).  He clearly knew of our propensity to dwell and feel guilt.  If he truly was the Son of God, then he saw a future where our people would be on Prozac, getting pre-ulcers, and worrying about the stock market.  If He came back today, I think He’d wag a finger and say: Just stop already!

So in a nutshell, here are Jesus’ teachings:  love one another; put vengeance aside; help the poor; don’t seek worldly glory or revel in material things.  (I am skipping the ones that  proselytize, and yes, there are many).

How then did this eminent Rabbi, with His pure message of Love, get messed up with the Church that followed?  A Church that went and invaded the East (Crusades), sacked a Christian city (Constantinople in The 4th Crusade) , indulged in torture and murder for “blasphemy” (The Inquisition), burned perceived heretics alive in their houses (the Albigensians), broke with another Christian Church (The Great Schism of  1054), threatened everyone with Hellfire (anything by James Joyce), installed a representative of God on Earth (guess who) and poisoned American minds with a brand of ignorance that hasn’t been seen since the Luddites (1811-1812).

Where then is the disconnect?  How did Jesus’ original message become so grossly perverted?  How did “do unto others” lead to a Rick Santorum or a Pat Buchanan?  And Vatican complicity in the Holocaust?

It all comes down to the one thing that influences life on earth:  the imperfectability of Man.  Given a great gift, perhaps from beyond – the gentle teachings of Jesus – we manage to contort it into a justification for war, murder, persecution, “good” behavior, and no contraceptives for you!  Martin Luther’s posting of his treatises in 1518 has not, alas, done a lot to straighten things out.  Protestants (Baptists, it seems, in particular) still distort the Word of their Lord into a mandate for hate.  Those of other faiths are considered Untermenschen – and must be thrown into Guantanamo.  We Jews – the traditional scapegoats of everyone – are still regarded with suspicion, thanks to Medieval myths about using the blood of Christian children for Passover matzo (I’ll pass) and our general intractability as we still wait for the Messiah.  Don’t worry, He’ll come – sit down and have a gefilte. . .

So Happy Good Friday, everyone! (oxymoron?).  Over this Easter Holiday, let’s please remember the spiritual essence of Jesus, and what He was trying to say.  For three days, let’s try to live by St. Paul’s precept: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love).”   Peace.