Bob and Susan Gardner are sitting at their kitchen table in Minneapolis having a serious conversation about the future of their family. They have been married for 10 years, and have two children. Steve is 8 and Liz is 5. They are progressive democrats and voted for Obama, support a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage and all other progressive issues. They are discussing their next move. Bob is a software designer and can work from anywhere. However, Mary is a corporate attorney and has just joined a firm with offices in a number of cities. They have the opportunity to move to whichever city they choose. While in the 1970’s or 80’s this decision would have been based on such issues as the quality of the professional experience, housing opportunities, quality of education and distance from family and friends, in the year 2013 there are a number of other issues to consider.
The law firm Mary has just joined has offices in New York, Dallas, Kansas City, Phoenix and San Francisco. They immediately eliminate San Francisco because of the distance from family and friends and the very high cost of housing. New York is still in the running, but housing costs are an issue there as well. That leaves Dallas, Kansas City, and Phoenix. This is where other issues come into play. Each of these three states has very restrictive abortion laws, voting rights laws and are anti gay marriage. In other words, they are red states. Their politics are very conservative and sometimes reactionary. This impacts on attitudes towards education, science, climate change and religion. While the Gardner’s will certainly get more house for their money in any of these locations, will the price be too high? Will living in any of these states require them to compromise their values and beliefs? It may keep them closer to family, but is it worth it?
In school we sang ” this land is your land, this land is my land…..”. Is that really the case anymore? Can progressives living in California, New York or Minneapolis really feel a close affinity to Texas, Kansas, South Carolina or Oklahoma today? The cultural divide has become too vast. Our goals, dreams, beliefs and values are so different from one another. While this is often reflected in Washington, it is more often reflected in local and state government.
Have we as a people grown so far apart that we are no longer truly “one nation under god indivisible….”? If yes, what then?