Is a National Split Inevitable?

Is America “trending towards secession”? Conservative radio legend Rush Limbaugh got into some hot water last week for daring to attempt to answer that question. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about it. From Media Matters to Geraldo Rivera to every left-of-center blue-check Twitter account, critics were basically accusing the legendary broadcaster of treason, even though he never explicitly endorsed the concept himself. 

It’s a far cry from only four years ago, of course, when the “Calexit” movement made news as a novel concept put forth by lovable, if a bit rambunctious, leftists frustrated at the election of Donald Trump. Obviously, when a liberal wants to secede, it’s perhaps a bit misguided but understandable, but when a conservative even broaches the topic, it’s a treasonous reintroduction of slavery, or something.

Scott Morefield,

Several years ago, Dr. John Gottman proved unequivocally that one behavior had an astoundingly predictive effect on whether or not a marriage would last. That behavior is “contempt.” 

“Contempt is fueled by long-simmering negative thoughts about one’s partner, and it arises in the form of an attack on someone’s sense of self,” Gottman writes. “Inevitably, contempt leads to more conflict—particularly dangerous and destructive forms of conflict—rather than to reconciliation. It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message that you’re disgusted with them and that you’re condescending and acting as their superior.”

Sound familiar? If “contempt” isn’t right smack dab in the middle of the ongoing political and cultural wars, I don’t know what is. All of which leaves two key questions: 1.) If America is already split apart ideologically, will geography eventually follow? And 2.) If a geographical split happens at some point, is it possible to do so peacefully?