Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

As of this writing, people in all 50 states had filed requests to secede from the union in the wake of the presidential election, and I have to say I can’t blame them. I’ve often thought America has become too big, unwieldy and homogenous for its own good. I think breaking the U.S. and Canada up into Euro-sized pieces might not be the worst idea ever, but that’s beside the point.

The most important thing about this news is that I smell a way for America to fix the deficit once and for all and probably make a little walking-around money to boot. Call it the Secession Games.

Every year, the most rabid anti-U.S. secessionist in each state will have the honor of being that year’s tribute. They’ll all go to the Capitol to play in the games, and we’ll put them in a cool venue of some sort and let them fight to the death. The winner’s state will be forced to secede from the U.S.

Think of all the background maneuvering and intrigue involved, because you know there would be lots of people wanting to make sure their state didn’t win. Each player would have backers who could send him or her gifts and try to sway the outcome. Viewers would be riveted.

Tell me that wouldn’t be huge. That would be so much bigger than “American Idol.” And if you think it would be a hit with us, just wait until they hear about it in Yemen and Somalia. The owners of the eight working TVs in those countries would pay everything they’ve got to see Americans killing Americans.

The government could make insane amounts of money selling the broadcast rights, and think of all the betting that would be done. That certainly could help Atlantic City get back on its feet after Hurricane Sandy. It might even save the housing market in Las Vegas.

Clearly, there’s a lot of potential in the secessionist movement, and I think we’d be remiss as a nation if we didn’t milk that cow. But I’m a big fan of the American flag as it is. I’d hate for everyone to have to get new ones, which might seem to pose a dilemma, but I have a solution that will further stuff the nation’s coffers.

You might have heard that this year Puerto Rico voted once again to become the 51st state. If Puerto Ricans feel that way, I imagine there are some territories and small nations that might want to join the union, too. Obviously, since most of these people live on islands in the first place, the answer is “Survivor: Statehood.”

You could have territories and commonwealths such as Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, the Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ecuador, Panama, El Salvador, East Timor and Palau all use our currency already. Perhaps they’d like to send a competitor. Plus, you’d have people whose states won the Secession Games who want to get their states back in to the union, and you know there’d be some random entrants like Nunavut or Greece each year.

They’d form tribes and have ceremonies and vote people off the island (I suggest Ellis) and do whatever else contestants do on reality TV. The winner, as the show’s name implies, gets to join the union. That would be awesome. That’s even more billions to be made each year. We’d be fools not to do this.

In all seriousness, though, we should think about splitting up the country just for cultural reasons. Clearly, the Northeast and West Coast don’t agree with the South and the Midwest, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have tons in common. McDonald’s and Walmart are the same everywhere. So are Home Depot and Target. Same with Subway and Old Navy. It would be nice to travel around North America and encounter some authentic regional differences for once, wouldn’t it?

I say we break up the U.S. and Canada and form new countries. Washington, Oregon and British Columbia could become Rainandweedador. Maine and Nova Scotia could be Freshseafoodistan. Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and the Dakotas could be Wheatandcornia. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming could be Gothehellawayembourg. The possibilities are endless.

So when someone comes to your home asking you to sign a secession petition, don’t be so quick to slam the door in his or her face. Even though secession movements have a zero percent success rate in U.S. history, I think this time around, given all that’s at stake, the conversation is worth having.

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