Several weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) proposed a “national divorce,” given the extraordinary political polarization we are experiencing in this country and the very real likelihood that on so many issues, from war to immigration to abortion to public health to guns and more, reconciliation simply doesn’t seem plausible.
That that is true on so many levels should be obvious to everybody, but progressives jumped immediately on Greene for being a “secessionist,” a “seditionist,” and a “confederate.” Those were the most family-friendly of the names she was called.
But what Greene was really being when she released her proposal was a patriot. She was recognizing the edge to the passions of our political divide, which is as hot and sharp as it has been since just prior to the Civil War, and civil war was what Greene said she was trying to avert.
The marriage is irretrievably broken, Greene said, and we should dissolve before something violent happens.
To be sure, her plan to divide the nation between blue states and red states, such as it was (it was pretty sketchy in detail), encounters fatal obstacles, given the scope of national and international commerce and bureaucracy and, not least, the fact that all red states aren’t contiguous to each other, nor are all blue states, and even then what do you do with purple states?
But at the heart of Greene’s idea is a very serious principle — that the federal government should be extraordinarily limited in its powers, so much so that blue states can live the way they want and red states can live the way they want.
You might have vaccine mandates in blue states and none in red states; you might have only government schools in blue states and universal school choice in red states. You might teach critical race theory in blue states, and not in red states. The government might be able to take your property in blue states, while eminent domain might be illegal in red states. And so on.
If you can’t live together compatibly, Greene was telling us, you might as well live apart in peace.
That this idea was immediately condemned as far-fetched by the left shows just how large the divide in America really is, for the vision that Greene was describing was the one shared by a majority of the Founding Fathers.
During the founding, a titanic battle took place between those who favored a strong central government, such as Alexander Hamilton, and those who wanted a small and constitutionally constrained federal government, such as Thomas Jefferson.
The Jeffersonians won, of course. The adopted constitution explicitly confined the government’s powers to those specifically enumerated in the constitution, and those so enumerated were few and far between.
Most power was explicitly reserved to the sovereign states and to the people. The states were envisioned as becoming great laboratories of innovation, in which new ideas would be tried, with states picking up successful ones from other states and staying away from unsuccessful ones.
In a nutshell, that’s the vision Greene outlined, and that the left condemned her as an extremist for espousing the majority viewpoint of our Founders only underscores how right Greene is that the nation is hopelessly divided.
As it turns out, not only is Greene not rabidly radical after all, she’s not even very alone in her wish for national divorce.
Writing in the Daily Beast, Bonnie Kristian inconveniently pointed out that the idea of secession is pretty popular on both the right and left. In a 2021 survey, she wrote, two-thirds of Southern Republicans favored regional secession, and, in a 2022 poll, four in 10 Republicans believed their state would be as good or better without being held back by that whole United States thing.
And it’s not just conservatives, Kristian pointed out. After Trump was elected, The New Republic published a “Bluexit” proposal, calling for “virtual secession.” And in the 2021 survey about secession cited above, Kristian wrote, 47 percent of West Coast Democrats supported secession, as did 39 percent of Northeast Democrats.
Perhaps that’s why Americans have been pursuing their own version of secession — a demographic secession — for close to a decade now. Once, a generation ago, the demographic movement of the nation to warmer red states from the Rust Belt was prompted as much as anything by retirement and a desire to leave northern winters. 
Then people began to move because they also hated high-tax, high-crime states, and voted with their feet. The problem was, most of those voters continued to vote for Democrats in their new states, for whatever reason, annoying Republicans to no end. That trend is why North Carolina is as Democratic as it is Republican these days, and it is why Texas, while still a red state, has become more purple.
Since 2016, the migration trend has become more politically aligned as voters fleeing blue states no longer vote blue when they land somewhere else. The best example of this is Florida, which is enjoying a swell of in-migration from other states, and, as the population has grown, so has the number of Republicans on the voter rolls. For the first time ever, Republicans took the lead in the state last year in voter registration.
Then there is the curious case of Idaho and Oregon. Last November, two eastern Oregon counties joined nine others in voting to explore ways to leave the state and join Idaho. The Greater Idaho movement seeks to have eastern Oregon secede and join Idaho, and just last week the Idaho House voted to open talks with Oregon to relocate the two states’ boundary line.
It’s far from done — Oregon would have to agree, as would Congress — but clearly more and more Americans want a divorce so they can live with others of their political ilk. One can only imagine other areas where state lines could accommodate divorce on a state or regional level. 
For instance, might the U.P. of Michigan secede and join Wisconsin?
On the national level, too, the people’s desire for an amicable split becomes more palpable by the day. Not only are the ideological differences great, but conservatives fear being oppressed and censored and cancelled by a government and its corporate and media allies if they fail to follow the narrative.
What’s more, conservatives across the land have lost all trust in the federal government. Its compounding and ongoing lies to the American people have left it with no credibility.
There have been lies about natural immunity. Lies about the safety of vaccines. Lies about the efficacy of face masks. Lies about fighting for democracy in Ukraine. Lies about the air being safe to breathe in East Palestine. Lies about Russian collusion with Donald Trump. 
With all this and more, many conservatives in this country have simply concluded that the federal government is incapable of change or reform, that it is beyond redemption and, worse, is itself engaging in criminal behavior.
This stalemate — and conservatives’ minority position in major institutions — cannot continue without something giving. As Justice Louis Brandeis once warned:
“Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”
It is just that outcome that Greene was hoping to forestall, though no clean way to “divorce” has emerged. Logistically, it would be a nightmare.
The good news is, there is a way out. It is to once again embrace the vision and direction of the U.S. Constitution and give virtually all power to the sovereign states and the people, except for those powers enumerated in the constitution, like defense and currency. 
And then let red and blue states live and let live. If we follow the wisdom of the Founders, there is no need for divorce.
The bad news is, that is exactly what the left is opposed to. They see no reason for divorce but also  no reason why red states should not have to live the way blue states live. Their motto is to live and live like we tell you to live.
We can all see where that is headed. To avoid violence, now is a time for a national discussion. Kristian called for one in the Daily Beast and it was what Greene was trying to jumpstart. Perhaps such a discussion could help us settle our differences without a divorce. Perhaps a constitutional convention could help settle our differences, too.
Far from insane, a national discussion is perhaps the most rational thing we can do politically as we head toward 2024’s national elections.
We need to stop telling ourselves everything in this country is OK politically, when everyone knows it’s not. Ignoring the issue of irreconcilable constitutional differences will surely take us where no one wants to go.