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On the Third Hand: United

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I’m enough of a conspiracy theorist myself that I can believe that all sorts of strange or terrible things could be true.

I enjoy imagining, for example, that all sorts of public figures could have started their careers as secret agents.

Whenever my computer slows to a crawl, which is often, I fantasize that I’ve written something that got me readers at the NSA.

I certainly hope there’s a giant tunnel connectiong Washington and Denver. 

But one thing I’ve noticed is that an email marketing company that sells me on the virtues of Vitamin D and other nutritional supplements part of the time sells me on the idea that the federal government is going to put everyone in camps a lot of the rest of the time.

Of course, on the one hand, that’s because emails suggesting that the government might put me in a camp get more clicks than polite emails suggesting that President Obama has misguided ideas about how to reform the U.S. health care system.

On the other hand, it hit me this week that there are also groups that want states to have the ability to nullify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Not to get Congress to repeal it, but either to opt out entirely on their own or to have Congress somehow bless the idea of states going out on their own.

The website for one, the Interstate Health Care Compact, is actually interesting, reasonable and well-written.

But, on the third hand, my concern is that maybe some nice, well-meaning people are advocating for the idea that states should go their own separate ways without thinking hard enough about the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and that maybe some others are using the idea of the states breaking up as somewhat dodgy but reliable way to get a lot of email marketing campaign clicks.

On the fourth hand: It’s a free country. Why does everyone have to accept the idea that the states in the United States have to stay together forever? The Beatles broke up. Why not the United States?

But, on the fifth hand: It just seems as if people toss the idea of a breakup around because of an assumption that it’s preposterous as, oh, say, the idea of some giant multinational insurer that seems as if it probably owns most of the world outright needing a government bailout.

Oh, wait: That one happened.

Maybe we should also be careful about taking the idea that a breakup of the United States is impossible as a given. 

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