Thursday, May 12, 2016

Grassroots Versus Top Down

The idea of political devolution in, or perhaps more accurately the de-federalization of, the United States is an intriguing one to me. I've written about this before. I wonder if the federal republic of the United States will disappear, not because of an active agency from without or within that orchestrates some sort of coup, but rather through either indifference or, more likely, obsolescence. The republican form of federation that the United States is currently constructed of might simply become too old-school to continue. It might have met its expiration date.

One evidence of this is the evolution of megaregions across the United States that hold seventy percent of both the populations and the jobs in the country. As one authority notes: "The New Megas, are the real economic organizing units of the world, producing the bulk of its wealth, attracting a large share of its talent and generating the lion's share of innovation." *
Source: Wikipedia
We seem to be seeing the reformation of the city-state and not just in the United States. These megaregions, often agglomerations of mega-cities, wield economic and political power that is not yet full understood or even recognized, but which have the capacity to work independently of the other or, for that matter, of any larger national governance. And we see this already being expressed, as discussed in the link in the first paragraph. 

Perhaps this also helps to explain the growing, although still nascent, support for Texan secession. It has recently made the news that elements within the Republican Party in Texas want to discuss at the upcoming state convention whether Texas ought to leave the union. While this very idea will probably not even make it to the floor for a vote, the very fact that it is being discussed is significant. Even more, to me, the fact that the top GOP leadership of Texas really wants nothing to do with this entire issue, and that the very idea of secession is being pushed at the lowest levels of the party's governance (at the county'level) is even more telling. This is because of the fact that all meaningful, genuine, and lasting political movements begin (or at least must find its weight in numbers) at the grassroots level. And this is what is happening in Texas. While only the GOP party leadership of only one county supported the idea Texas independence as of 2012, it has grown to at least 10 counties and possibly even up to 22  today (out of 270). Crazy!

Perhaps I'm not connecting the dots correctly, but mass consciousness can express itself in seemingly polar-opposite ways, but still be cut from the same fabric of thought and concern. For example, the right-wing populist Trump and the left-wing populist Sanders are both candidates reflecting disenchantment with the current political establishment, and the  right-wing Tea Party and the left-wing Occupy Wall Street both reflect the same fear of the rising Deep State.  

Every empire ends, every political entity has a shelf life, and every generation forgets the past, lives in the present, and has its own answers for the future. We just don't always know the timeline. 

*Dewar, Margaret and David Epstein (2006). "Planning for 'Megaregions' in the United States." Ann Arbor, MI: Urban and Regional Planning Program, University of Michigan. (via Wikipedia)

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Emphatic language can be couched in kind words. Let's all be adults here and use our words constructively.