There were these funny post-election maps going around the Net (see here and here), which got me thinking about redesigning the layout of our continent, which is currently pretty sub-optimal. So, instead of sleeping, I did.
We get three new nations: the Republic of American States (“the Republic”), the North American Federation (the “Federation”), and Québec.
Republic of American States · This is all the Bush/Cheney-2004 states, with a couple of small add-ons. It seems unfair for the Republic to have no Pacific access, particularly since it includes Alaska, so I’ve chopped off a narrow slice of Southern California, giving them a strip along Interstate 8 and San Diego, which is a red enclave in a blue state anyhow.
Also, I’ve dealt Southern Alberta, including Calgary, into the Republic; the rest of Canada has long had the impression that they’d be more comfortable joining their Southern neighbors.
(I’ve probably just really irritated my friends in Calgary and San Diego).
The Republic might want to retain Washington as capital, it’s surrounded by a sea of red, but DC itself is hard-blue. I think you’d have to turn DC into a museum/tourist city. For the Republic’s capital I suggest Nashville or Memphis: both more centrally located and a lot more fun than DC.
North American Federation · This is Canada, minus southern Alberta and Québec, plus the Kerry/Edwards states minus the San Diego strip. There’d be some scope for re-organization and optimization: you might want to split California vertically, even without San Diego it’s still unreasonably larger than any other state or province. Also, you might want to peel off the northern half of BC and join it with what’s left of Alberta; Edmonton as capital.
The capital of the Federation should obviously be at Niagara Falls, which would benefit immensely by the replacement of tacky tourist attractions with the stately halls of government.
Québec · Its people have never been all that enthusiastic about being Canadians, and want to preserve their Francophone culture, but the Federation’s Hispanic minority would outnumber them. So it’s time for them to have their own flag and Head of State and so on. One big problem with subtracting Québec from Canada is that it would isolate Canada’s maritime provinces; but there’d be no problem in the the Federation context.
Arrangements and Advantages · The three countries in North America should probably share a common currency, a free-trade zone, and European “Schengen” style border arrangements, as in almost no barriers.
The advantages of this redesign are numerous:
Canadians get rid of the monarchy.
No more fluctuating exchange rates, one currency is plenty on this continent.
The Republic could pass lots of satisfying anti-sodomy and anti-flag-burning and pro-decency amendments, and make the Ten Commandments not just allowed but compulsory.
We’d get to have three major constitutional conventions, with immense scope for newsworthy wrangling and creativity.
People in the Federation won’t have to listen to politicians talk about God, while in the Republic they won’t have to put up with politicians who aren’t comfortable talking about God.
There’d be a chance to junk the lame US greenback, adopting Canadian innovations: bills that are different sizes and colors, and coins for $1 and $2 denominations.
At a stroke you create a major new Olympic-games power, and lots of satisfying rivalries.
In particular, the Edmonton-Calgary and Montréal-Toronto hockey rivalries get added spice.
While we’re doing sports, we can re-align all the major leagues into “Republic” and “Federation” divisions, except baseball, which is above issues of mere nationhood.