Blue States Press
Driving the blues from
By Wesley Pruden
Oh, dear. This may be considerably more serious than we thought.
Four years ago 36 days of uncertainty in Florida transformed the Gore-Lieberman team into the Sore-Loserman ticket, but the anger if not the rancor soon subsided. Alec Baldwin threatened to move to France but never did and eventually denied ever promising to leave. He may still be hanging about an airport somewhere in Southern California looking to hitch a ride to the Ivory Coast, but most of the losers, as grown-ups will, regrouped and reorganized to fight another day.
But this time the sore losers are serious. They're not just threatening to abandon their CDs, bongs, gongs, sandals, and dirty underwear and pile into ancient Volvos with bags of vegan trail mix and bean sprouts to move on to Canada, Britain and France.
The Internet is buzzing with talk of subtracting the blue states and forming a new nation, alternately called Jesusland, or Coastopia or simply the Blues. The Pentagon is monitoring the borders for unauthorized insurgent-troop movements but Fort Sumter was still in federal hands at press time. Ghostbusters were dispatched late yesterday to Maine to watch the grave of Joshua Chamberlain, who saved Lincoln's bacon at Gettysburg, but early this morning the turf above the general's coffin was still undisturbed. The White House so far has had no comment, but President Bush is said to have asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to retrieve contingency plans for the defense of the capital from the Pentagon vaults, where the documents, crumbling with age, have lain undisturbed since the tumult over the assassination of Lincoln subsided 139 years ago. Military bases have been put on full alert and West Point and Annapolis were told to stand by for further orders.
A manifesto posted yesterday on the Internet in behalf of the Peoples Republic of Coastopia was couched in language that sent Stonewall Jackson rollicking in laughter, in the way that stern Presbyterian elders rollick in paradise: "We are tired of rednecks in Oklahoma picking the leader who will determine if it is safe for us to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. We are sick of homophobic knuckle-draggers in Wyoming contributing to the national debate on our gay marriages. So we have done the only thing we could. We seceded."
The communiqué identified the departing states as Washington, Oregon and California and all of New England, and "we have taken Iowa and Illinois, mostly because we need the fine produce of Iowa's soil, and the museums of Chicago are fabulous." All this without firing a shot, so far as the Department of Homeland Security will say. (Tom Ridge was unavailable for comment.)
Although the constitutional officers of Coastopia were not identified, a written constitution was apparently ratified at a constitutional convention held at a Starbucks in Provincetown. "A word about our politics," the manifesto continued. "Abortions will be safe and legal [apparently not everyone is Coastopia is gay] and homosexual men and women will be free to marry at their discretion. We will have our own currency and trade with any countries we want. Everyone will have health care. Everyone will have an identity card. Homelessness and unemployment will be virtually unknown [since no one will work]. We believe in a meritocracy and a huge chasm between church and state. 100% of our cars will be hybrid by 2006."
Recruiting offices in the rebel states have apparently been swamped by volunteers clamoring to climb aboard the last streetcar from "Old America." Said one recruit identified only as Sean: "Mmmmmm. Hazelnut lattes. I was also trying to decide which country to move to ... and American Coastopia sounds lovely. Just need to find a man to share it (and my latte) with and it will be heaven. *Sigh.* "
Ask and do tell: A recruit named Greg posted this message for the mess sergeant: "Oh, and I'd like a soy hazelnut latte, what with me being lactose intolerant and all that." A prospective citizen named Hillary posted a message, presumably not from one of the Senate Office Buildings, asking the Coastopian military authorities to "sign me up, unless I can figure out a way to hide out in France for the next four years." The Marines in the assault on Fallujah can thank Allah they don't have to face the Coastopian legion. An American insurgent named Lee is ready to march toward the sound of his gums: "Can someone come and get me? I'm too depressed to get out of my pajamas."
Jefferson Davis lives. Secession is clearly in the air.
Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.