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カナダ合衆国!?


A MODEST PROPOSAL
The United States of Canada

GWYNNE DYER
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist
Looking at that extraordinary electoral map of the United States, with all the liberal, quiche-eating, Kerry-supporting states of the northeast and the west coast coloured Democratic blue, while the "heartland" and the south were solid Republican red, the solution to the problem suddenly occurred to me. "Blueland" should join Canada.

It is getting harder for the two tribes of Americans to understand or even tolerate each other. Once again, as in 2000, the country is divided with almost mathematical precision. One side adores President George W. Bush, while the other literally loathes him. And it goes far deeper than mere personalities or even the old left-right split; the clash now is about social norms and fundamental values on which few are willing to compromise.

Opinions on the foreign issues that seemed to dominate the election - the war in Iraq and the war on terror - just added to that existing cultural division. People who go to church regularly, and oppose abortion and gay marriage, were also far more likely to believe that US troops had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein had somehow sponsored the September 11 terrorists. So, they voted for Mr Bush. And those who do not, did not.

"Irreconcilable" is the word that springs to mind. Two separate populations have evolved in the US, and they are increasingly unhappy about even living together. One sub-species, homo canadiensis, would rather send peacekeepers than bombers, and longs for the wimpy, wispy liberalism enjoyed by their Canadian neighbours. The other breed, homo iraniensis, prefers the full-blooded religious certainties and militant political slogans that play such a large and fulfilling part in Iranian public life.

It is cruel to force these two populations to go on living together, especially since US political life has lost its centre and now pits these two directly against each other in a winner-takes-all election every four years. Since the pseudo-Iranians slightly outnumber the proto-Canadians, the obvious solution is for the latter to actually go to Canada.

There are problems with this, however. A mass migration northwards would leave large chunks of the US virtually empty, and the parts of Canada where people can live in any comfort are pretty full already. Besides, Canadian winters are fairly severe, and I am not sure that Californians would be up to it. And then, looking at the two-colour map of the electoral outcome, again, the solution hit me: do not move the people; move the border. It would all join up just fine: the parts of the US inhabited by homo canadiensis all lie along the Canadian border or next to other states that do. True, the US would lose its whole Pacific coast, but we could probably arrange for an American free port in, say, Tijuana. And lots of Canadians could move to a warmer clime without actually having to leave their country.

At the global level, everybody else would be quite happy with a bigger Canada and a smaller US. That smaller America would have to pull in its horns a bit, as it would no longer have the resources to maintain military bases in every country on the planet, but it would retain enough to invade a country every year or so. Therefore, it would not suffer too badly from withdrawal symptoms.

The new Canadians would be free to have abortions, enter into gay marriages, do stem-cell research and engage in all the other wicked ways that flourish in that bastion of corrupt and Godless liberalism. They could even speak French, if they wanted.

No solution is perfect: there would be limp-wristed liberals trapped in the US, and God-fearing rednecks who suddenly found themselves in Canada, so some degree of population exchange would be necessary.

It is even possible that a few right-wing bits of Canada - parts of Alberta, for example - might prefer to join the US. But you cannot make an omelette without breaking some eggs, and think how happy everyone will be when they live exclusively among like-minded people.
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