Redrawing BordersOctober 15, 2011
My dear friend Rick McCallister and I have just returned from a road-trip of the U.S. Midwest on our first book promotion tour for The Yahtzee Manifesto. It was a successful adventure and we had a great time driving through the beautiful countryside of that part of the world. As we passed state line after state line, we began to notice how the states seemed to melt into each other. If it weren’t for the signage, we would never know when we had crossed a border. The land looked the same, the people were the same. Of course, much of this is due to the homogeneity of modern American culture. But we found greater cultural and geographical differences within states rather than between them. This led us to the conclusion that state borders were originally drawn willy-nilly. The effects of this go far beyond mere curiosity. With the power that states hold as self-governing administrative districts, the very nature of American democracy is influenced.
If we really want to give representative government another shot – and if this doesn’t work I really think we need to put it out of its misery – we need to go back to its roots by ensuring that the represented’s true interests are always the focal point of politics. Modern capitalist society has really done a number on representative democracy, warping it in strange ways. One effect of this is the gerrymandering of political districts, warping them into shapes only a contortionist could love. The ideas of James Madison and Pericles are nearly unrecognizable in today’s political institutions. In order to revive the true concept of this form of government in America, we need to start by redrawing the state borders.
Our first idea was to create a state of Appalachia (or perhaps three: an Upper, Middle, and Lower) that encompassed this distinct geographic area and its culturally-unique people. Bits and pieces of existing states would be carved away to create a state whose inhabitants have more in common with each other than may be the case under today’s boundary lines. Representation, therefore, would be more natural and fair. And we could continue to divide current states and reshape them with more logical borders all across the country.
But why stop there? National borders face the same problems, and on grander scales. Of course, resolving the issue on a global scale will not happen overnight. But the World Yahtzee Revolution will attend to this in due time, once the global network of hierarchy and oppression has been removed. The fact is, borders of all kinds can be detrimental if they are not administered with due diligence. If redrawing state lines seems too daunting a challenge for the beginning revolutionist, try starting out smaller. Transition from the rigid boundaries of the mass-manufactured Yahtzee scorecard to the liberating creative action of drawing your own from scratch!