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America’s Built-in Tension


©2022 by Vernon Miles Kerr  and 

#FirstCuppaJoe for May 12 (thread)

The 13 American Colonies, once the rebellion was over, were essentially 13 unique, countries.

In order to form a larger country from that mélange, each had to give up some of its inate sovereignty. This is a very hard thing to do. The result was a new world-power, but one with tremedous tension, built in. In America’s formation, not everyone in every potential “united state” was happy with the set of defaulted bits of sovereignty yielded by their politicians.

In the Common Law, what followed is known as “grumbling acceptance.” Today’s rancorous political divide is a result of two hundred-fifty years of “grumbling” on the Right, being turned into vehement rage. The current controversy over Roe v Wade—from our 21st Century perspectve—seems to be the culprit, and seems to epitomize this inate, historical American tension.

Should there be one overarching law about on-demand abortion for the entire country, irrespective of state-level morals and sensitivites? Should sovereignty over this raw-abrasion on America’s knee be turned over to people in “far-away” Washington, D.C.? Ironically, the Liberals are shouting “individual liberty,” on this sole subject, when those grumbling Conservatives are maneuvering to take away “individual liberty” and individual rights, replacing them with moralizing “State’s Rights.” To make matters worse, from a national perspective, a large Christian sect, the Evangelicals has joined the fray in hopes of imposing their brand of morality—which includes an absolute prohibition of abortions of any kind—upon the entire country.

Who can predict how this will eventually “iron-out”? The only solution seems to be for those who have been “subjugated” by another political entity (either volunarity or by force) to be able to redifine their mental-picture of what is “local,” moreover, their mental-picture of who, exactly, is in the same lifeboat with them. No small task. At best a daunting task. At worst an impossible task.

Belieive it or not. this essay was prompted by meditating about the European Union. If you agree that there was tension between colonies of people, sharing the same language, the same legal and (generally) the same religious traditions, just think of the tensions built-in to the EU’s inception. Is it any wonder that one of it’s “states” has had second-thoughts about its own defaulted sovereignty? Is “Brexit” going to be the first of many such “rebellions”? Ironic, isn’t it: the child of the American Revolution opining about those from whom his ancestors rebelled? Oh, well — back to simpler and less daunting problems. I give up on this one.