A land thought for centuries to be a magnet for those seeking liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The most powerful empire ever. Yet, so many people of this land became so divided, even so hateful against those with whom they did not agree, that the fate that touched many of Earth’s nations became plain. Tonight’s episode of “Down a Future Looking Glass” concerns the fictitious story of a country you all know, a country now spliced into at least two parts. But beware. Take care with your bricks in the wall.
Good evening. We are somewhere in the middle of the 21st century, high enough above the planet in our cloaked capsule to escape detection but close enough to see the happenings marking this extraordinary day, the day the country formerly known as the United States of America formally divided into two nations.
The split, which numerous learned as well as careless minds said had been festering in a great many ways for a great many decades, came about after a raucous national referendum. It took nearly five years to sort through the millions of votes and thousands of lawsuits to declare that the referendum’s results were decisive and not tampered by enough fraud to halt the division. The discussions and fights concerning the apportionment of the former nation’s national debt continue, which accounts for a lot of the screaming you hear from New York City and Washington, D.C. Former U.S. President Paul Ryan had been appointed by both countries to preside over the debt discussions, as many thought his octogenarian status might command respect. It did, for a time. That is until representatives of several of the states that received more federal assistance than they contributed in taxes and economic output realized the other nation would force them to pay a mighty share.
The divide, as it were, has occurred among roughly the same lines as those that usually marked “red” and “blue” states during presidential elections (the 2016 election being not only the notable exception to the usual color divides but also the event many historians said marked the real start of the separation movement). And though today is the first day of sovereignty for the two new countries (the “blue” section called the Republic of America and the red the Unified States of America), the sausage-making of separation has been under way since talk of the referendum began.
Look down. You’ll see the border separating California from Arizona and Nevada, the lines dividing Oregon from Nevada and Idaho, and the division between Washington and Idaho. Only not all of those demarcations are natural wonders. A good number of those markings are heavily fortified brick walls, constructed by all of those states and staffed with multitudes of armed guards by all of those states. Such walls mark most other areas dividing the two countries, though North Dakota and Minnesota are the only states without wall separation, owing to the need for easy crossing for hockey tournaments and walleye fishing. Those moving serpentine hordes are people taking advantage of the fact that today is the last day movement between the two nations will be allowed without a passport. In six months, visas will be required of anyone who wishes to stay more than one month, heat, cold, visits to remaining family and friends, and cheaper liquor notwithstanding.
Many teachers, university professors and recent immigrants have already moved to the Republic of America, believing that country will better fund public education and finally enact single payer health care. Many retirees and those considered modestly affluent (net worth between five and ten million dollars in the currency now considered the world’s safest money, the Canadian dollar) have gone to the Unified States, as they are certain that nation will levy few or no taxes. More than several of them were miserable about leaving Florida, which became part of the Republic after two years of ballot recounts. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, a still agile 100 plus, was asked to oversee a massive Republic effort to preserve what remains of Florida, as rising sea levels have wrecked huge sections of the state’s Atlantic coast.
If you look toward Philadelphia, you’ll see Jack Kennedy Schlossberg, grandson of President John F. Kennedy and the Republic’s newly elected president. He’s at Independence Hall, and just announced that the separation papers have been signed. New Unified President George P. Bush signed his section in Dallas, though the two presidents guardedly wished each other the best of success. Schlossberg said that though President Kennedy once said “nations may rise, and fall,” he was saddened that such happened to the United States of America.
“My grandfather once stood before a wall and said he was a Berliner,” Schlossberg said as he handed the papers away. “I hope to one day stand before demolished walls and say that we are, all of us, once again Americans. May that day come to pass soon enough.”
This marks the end of our story. Thank you for watching. And do be careful of walls gone (as Lewis Carroll once wrote) “curiouser and curiouser.”
Mary Stanik, a writer and public-relations professional, lived in St. Paul until her recent move to Arizona. She is the author of the novel “Life Erupted.”
WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?
If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, email Susan Albright at email@example.com.)