For the time being, it seems the hype and brouhaha over Arizona’s simple legislation recognizing federal immigration laws has subsided: The Reverend Al “Don’t Get Between Me and the Camera” Sharpton has marched (again and again), boycotts have been threatened, though failed for MLB’s All Star Game, and somehow, no reports to date of a family out for ice cream being thrown in the local gulag for not having their “papers.”
Meanwhile, another Illinois Democrat (the town’s crawling with them), Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who had been arrested and released for “failure to obey a lawful order from a U.S. Park policeman” at The White House (imagine if a Tea Partier would have done that!), is now able to resume his call on the House floor for Puerto Rican statehood.
So during this lull, let’s take a moment to look at not only Puerto Rican statehood, but the state of our states, territories and “possessions” in general: We need a fire sale, as well a “realigning of the stars” of sorts, to finally rid the United States of its post-Colonial colonialism and our geographically challenged country. Bet you never heard the phrase “geographically challenged” before.
Let’s start with the 50 existing states: there are 48 that are linked by continuous borders within what is commonly referred to as “the Lower 48.” To me, that is the United States of America. Period. If you can’t drive to it without leaving the country or getting wet, it ain’t the Good Ol’ USA. Alaska and Hawaii: Last admitted, they need to go first as they have no logical place in the scheme of things and would be the first items on the block for my Great American Fire Sale. Cede or sell Alaska to our Canadian brethren and auction off Hawaii to the highest bidder (maybe China and Japan can get in a bidding war).
Since the notion of stripping Americans of their U.S. citizenship scares the hell out of left, Alaskans and Hawaiians can remain citizens if they relocate to the Lower 48. Otherwise, they are on their own (the Alaskans will hardly notice anyway because like the Canadians, they too, now have “national health care” and who notices anything in Hawaii other than how great the weather is or lava floes).
Now we are back down to 48 states, but since we don’t want to have to make all new flags or have to rip two stars off of the old ones, we need two more states, but obviously within the Lower 48.
So we now have two more states: California splits, becoming Northern California and Southern California (that’s one new one) and Virginia becomes Virginia and Northern Virginia (that’s another new state and kudos to my beloved West Virginia for thinking of it first). California is actually three states if you consider everything east of the coastal mountains really parts of Nevada and Arizona, but nobody can dispute that there is a Southern California, and then, well, there is Northern California: two, distinct animals. As for Virginia, as anyone knows who lives in the great “Commonwealth,” most of that wealth and now voting power comes from what is commonly referred to as “Northern Virginia,” so let’s let the rest of the state return to its bad self and let Northern Virginia be, well, Northern Virginia.
So we are back up to 50 states, now all within The Lower 48; sorry, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Can’t think of anything Puerto Rico can do other than perhaps just become Puerto Rico. But as for Washington, D.C. (aka “Columbia” as it’s “statehood” name), there’s hope to be found in Maryland: Northwest and Southwest D.C. now become part of Montgomery County and Northeast and Southeast D.C. now have the pleasure of being part of Prince Georges County. The “Federal Triangle” or “The Federal District” is just that: untaxed, self-policed, and under federal control.
That settled; let’s really get on with it by ridding ourselves of our foolish foray up until 1959 into colonialism: our “territories.”
According to Wikipedia, the idiot’s Bible, here’s what we have:
Unincorporated organized territories
Northern Mariana Islands (commonwealth) 1978-
Puerto Rico (commonwealth) 1952-
United States Virgin Islands 1927-
Unincorporated unorganized territories
American Samoa, self-governing under a constitution last revised in 1967
Wake Island, inhabited by civilian contractors only
Midway Islands, inhabited by caretakers
Johnston Atoll, uninhabited
Baker Island, uninhabited
Howland Island, uninhabited
Jarvis Island, uninhabited
Kingman Reef, uninhabited
“Unincorporated unorganized territories”? Well, let’s get organized, incorporate and sell the stuff! Either just turn over the land to whoever is there right now to self govern and own, or sell off uninhabited places like “Johnston Atoll” to the highest bidder. And while we are at it: we need to sell off at least half of the federally owned and controlled land that often dwarfs private land in many Western states.
Now: what to do with all the monies received? Somehow, the federal government never seems to have problems with spending money, so we can rest assured it will be in good hands. Or it can go to pay for all that Obamacare for the fine citizens of the great Lower 48, now the Great 50.
Nicholas Thimmesch II, son of the late Los Angeles Times columnist Nick Thimmesch, is a longtime media and communications consultant to numerous campaigns, government representatives and public policy organizations, serving in the Reagan White House as a staff writer.