Sunday, December 05, 2004
More plans for Democrats in distress
Ever since the election I’ve been hearing a lot about the South. In fact, even before the election, liberals were knocking themselves out about the South. It’s occurred to us, of course, that the last non-Southern Democratic nominee to be elected President was Kennedy, and we know that even Kennedy wouldn’t have squeaked in if not for the overwhelming last-minute turnout of dead people in Chicago. The problem is that whenever one of us talks about appeasing the South politically—when a liberal says he follows NASCAR, for example, or says he wants the support of guys with Confederate flags in their pickups, or suggests that Democrats should interpret the Bible more literally and treat evolutionary “theory” more skeptically—we all go batshit insane in response. Some of us have even suggested that the Civil War was a bad idea—that we should’ve let the South secede back in 1861, and waited around a hundred and thirty-something years for a NATO “humanitarian intervention” to end slavery. In response, Southern liberals have raised hell, accusing their blue-state colleagues of every kind of regionalist elitism and moral hauteur; one of them (I forget who, or I’d provide the link) reminded us that even in a blood-red state like South Carolina, over 40 percent of the voters went for Kerry.
I haven’t weighed in on this debate until now. And I have only two words for y’all: stop it. That’s right, stop it. And I get to say “y’all” because I lived in the South for six years—not deep in the South, but indelibly in the South nonetheless (you know, where people use “right” as an intensifier, as in “I’ll bring that over right quick”), and I can tell you that although the region is profoundly conservative in every sense of the word, it’s also responsible for some of the best music and literature produced in this nation. We need the South culturally, even though it’s way beyond problematic politically. And there’s no use going into all the reasons why it’s so problematic politically, because (a) we already know perfectly well what those are and (b) we are forbidden from speaking about them, lest the media portray us as mandarin, green-tea-sipping elitists.
Besides, we need to focus our attention on jettisoning an even more problematic region—a belt of Even Redder States that have none of the cultural advantages or storied charm of the South. That’s right, I’m talking about nullifying the Louisiana Purchase.
That’s really where things went wrong, folks. Jefferson’s Folly (as it should hereafter be known) gave us what is now Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, half of Minnesota (we’ll keep some of Minnesota, thanks), North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, most of Montana and Wyoming, small chunks of New Mexico and Texas, and the conservative eastern half of Colorado to boot. Check the map if you don’t believe me. And while everyone’s been obsessing about the land of Dixie and its peculiar institutions, the good people living on this windswept, culturally barren swath of land have been dragging the country to the right, to the right, to the right, and right off the cliff. It’s time to cut them loose.
“Holy Heartland, Michael,” you say. “Have you lost your mind? You can’t undo a real estate deal from two centuries ago—there’s no precedent for it, no protocols! What are you saying, we give all those half-billion acres of land back to the Sioux and the Pawnee? And on what legal reasoning, may I ask?”
What legal reasoning are you talking about here? What kind of ignorant imaginary interlocutor are you? Haven’t you ever read the text of the Louisiana Purchase? The final sentence of the document reads, “Done at Paris the tenth day of Floreal in the eleventh year of the French Republic; and the 30th of April 1803.” Don’t you see? There is no month of Floreal. That was a reference to some weird-ass, short-lived “French Revolution” calendar that doesn’t exist anymore, full of dates like “le dix-huitième Brumaire” and “le vingtième Fromage.” That contract isn’t binding, any more than your lease would be if it said you had to pay the rent on the thirty-ninth day of each month. “Eleventh year of the French Republic,” indeed. It might as well say “Year Zed in Organic Time.”
And no, I’m not talking about giving the land back to the Native American tribes who lived on it. It’s not theirs, after all—it belongs to the French. Thus, when we void the Purchase and return the territory to France, all those red-state voters will become French citizens, and the fair cities of Baton Rouge, Pierre, Des Moines and Cape Girardeau will—at long last—be repatriated. Of course, we’ll have to ask for our $15,000,000 back, prorated for inflation since 1803 (or “year eleven,” ha ha ha). I suggest we set a reasonable price of $10,000 per acre, which brings the total cost to $5,299,116,800,000, or enough to reduce the federal
deficit debt by almost 75 percent, knocking it down under the $2 trillion mark.
So the United States will be close to solvent again, and the upstanding, God-fearing people of Nebraska and Wyoming and Oklahoma will join together in singing “Le Marseillaise.”
I can’t think of a more satisfying outcome.