1 month ago

America’s impending divorce

The New York Times recently published a very insightful article pointing out the political polarization among America’s state governments. We read that a full 29 state legislatures are dominated by Republicans. Democrats control 18. The Times pointed to a specific example of Illinois and Alabama to show the extreme contrast in social policy.

In Illinois, the Democrat-dominated legislature recently declared abortion a fundamental human right. In Alabama, the Republican-controlled government voted to ban nearly every abortion. Other polar opposite decisions on drugs, gambling, and tax policy were also cited. Extrapolate this across the country and what emerges are two distinct Americas struggling to make the national marriage work. But what the Times did not say in the article is that this is nothing new.

America has always been pretty diverse on a social level— much like Europe. Some states had religious tests for those wanting to serve in local government. The right to vote was restricted on the basis of race, or sex, or property ownership or all the above. As an extreme example, slave and free states existed simultaneously for decades.

In other words, states in the early days of the Union retained great latitude to organize their communities in such a way as uniquely represented their peculiar interests, or even prejudices — except in one critical area which would later challenge the young Republic in a way not perceived when the Constitution was ratified in 1789: the national economy.

Late 18th century America pretty much looked the same to most observers. Yes, there were some marked differences between each state. But every state was similar in that they had a relatively small population, were mostly rural, and benefited from open immigration and a free-trade economic policy.

So it made perfect sense for the Framers to create a common market between the States, and a largely free-trade policy with other nations.

But as chattel slavery disappeared in the North —replaced by an industrial economy— and slavery (with its reliance on exports) expanded in the South, a tug-of-war developed in the federal government over whether the country’s economic policy would favor protectionism or laissez fare free trade.

Since the Constitution empowered Congress — and Congress alone — to rule on this issue (which actually impacted people’s pocketbook depending on where they lived), America began to divide. In 1860, this internal friction led to the bloodiest war in American history. So it’s important to note that America’s first “state divorce” was precipitated, not by slavery per se, but by two diverging economic systems vying for control of a single common market.

Following the defeat of the Confederacy, a uniform economic policy of protectionism was enacted, and the South began to industrialize. When a monument honoring Southern Commander Robert E. Lee was erected in Richmond in 1890, several Northern newspapers protested Southern “disloyalty,” but the New York Herald scoffed at such a charge, noting that the only real rivalry then existing in the country between North and South was the same “as between the East and the West. It is based on commercial prosperity, products, and money-making. [Today] we are all hunting for dollars…” [emphasis added].

Space does not allow us to go into the details of the post-Civil War history of America’s economic rise. Suffice it to say that America’s rapid industrialization, population growth, and westward expansion created unprecedented economic growth and development — which went into overdrive following the devastation that World Wars I and II caused among traditional European competitors.

With the growth of America’s influence, and the emergence of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, America’s economic policy shifted from domestic to international. America became a global super power — and America’s industry and finance likewise jumped the border. This was good for business if you owned shares in General Electric (or its debt). Less so if you built cars for GE.

In 1970, America’s median household income, in today’s dollars, was $63,877. In 2018, it was $62,175. But that’s not all. In 1970, roughly 60% of households had a single income earner. In 2012, those numbers had flipped, and 60% of households had two earners.

This cursory glance at basic census data shows that most American households today work twice as long to achieve less income than they did nearly 50 years ago.

Of course, this economic bleed-out of American households took place when average CEO compensation rose from $1.5 million to $16.3 million.

All of these factors and more should have warned America’s political ruling class about the storm approaching. But they weren’t paying attention, and in November 2016, a hurricane hit Washington, D.C.

Donald Trump won because he tapped into the very heart of the gutted-out American landscape. He spoke to people who actually remember what it was like living in a single-earner household, and the enormous “social capital” it produced in communities with more parents (mostly mothers) able to take care of the myriad of community responsibilities now either provided by cash-strapped government agencies, or just ignored altogether.

A generation ago, people didn’t just have more money, they had a higher quality of life. More families were intact. Kids were less medicated. There wasn’t as much divorce, single parenthood, obesity, depression, chronic diseases, etc. Don’t believe me? If you’re over 40, how many pharmaceutical commercials do you remember as a kid?

The UK has experienced a mirror-image of this story. Likewise, Britain is also in the midst of a major political transition. The economic promises of the EU common market have not created a net-gain for the British economy or British society. Brexit was the UK suing the EU for a divorce.

Like the European Union, the American Union has also not achieved its stated objectives of “securing the blessings of liberty” to its people and their posterity. Simply put, America has become too big to succeed. Spread over 50 States, 3.5 million square miles of diverse landscape, and containing a population of 330,000,000 souls, how can one central government not turn into a colossal battleground between polarized extremes fighting for supremacy over an ever-stretched pie chart of budget resources?

America is the Western Hemisphere’s EU. The sooner American States realize this, the less messy the divorce will be. If people in Illinois cannot abide a society in which someone in Alabama is denied an abortion, then perhaps Illinois should start seeing other people, because, love ‘em or hate ‘em, most Alabama voters (both men and women) heavily support their state’s abortion policy — and don’t care how people in Illinois feel about it.

The trouble comes with the reality that the Constitutional wall separating a national economic policy from a state’s social policy was torn down a long time ago. America’s economic consolidation, and later globalization, led to an attempted social amalgamation using the billy club of federal power — not the “consent of the governed.”

For the American Union to survive, it must politically downsize and allow states to once again govern their own social policy. This means Illinois gets to marry gays and Alabama gets to ban abortions. The trouble is getting the political Genie back into the bottle.

As the Times article illustrates, American states are already culturally divorced. States disagree on the most fundamental of social policies. Whether it is education, or the environment, or family, or tax policy, there is no compromise. Even words like “personhood,” “justice,” “equality,” “choice,” “tolerance” or “rights” have disputed definitions.

The importance of a dominant culture is that it provides a “moral dictionary” of terms. Without this common moral dictionary, people living in a community find it hard to even have a conversation, much less find consensus on social policy. Imagine how this challenge compounds when it’s scaled up to 50 States and 330 million people? America has become a new Tower of Babel simply because people in Alabama don’t speak the same cultural language as people in Illinois.

And the danger of today’s two Americas is that the growth and scope of federal power is much greater than it was in 1789 — and far greater than the EU. Brexit may be a messy affair, but no one in Brussels is seriously advocating rolling tanks down Piccadilly Circus to stop it. But just ask Democratic presidential hopefuls in America how far they’re willing to go to stop Alabama from outlawing abortion, and their answers may shock you.

American states are headed for divorce. The only question is when it will happen, and how messy it will be.

For a marriage to be tolerable, it requires give and take from both parties. It means he gets his bowling nights and she gets her Downton Abbey. What doesn’t work is when one party gets to win 100% of the time. But that is the reality of America’s political forum today. It’s winner-take-all. There is no compromise. No middle ground.

Remember what I wrote at the outset: America’s first state divorce was caused by two diverging economic systems vying for control of a single common market. The second divorce will most likely be caused by two diverging cultures seeking control of a single “common market” of social policy.

It’s good news that more Americans are waking up to the disaster of economic globalism, which eliminates borders, destroys the middle class, rapes the environment and profanes green meadows with the exact same big box mart stores in every other community (then measures human happiness based on a nation’s GDP!).

But the question remains: when will America’s states realize that Washington has done to their social capital the same level of damage as globalism has done to their economic capital?

We may get our answer in 2020.

Jamie Carmichael is a writer in Alabama

8 hours ago

On this day in Alabama history: Camp McClellan was established in east Alabama

July 18, 1917

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, the War Department established Camp McClellan as a rapid mobilization base and permanent National Guard facility. More than 27,000 men were training at the east Alabama base by the end of 1917. Camp McClellan was originally named in honor of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, and was renamed Fort McClellan in 1929. During World War II, nearly 500,000 military personnel trained there. After being put in custodial status following the war, it was reactivated during the Korean War and Cold War era. The focus shifted to chemical weapons training during and after the Vietnam War. The fort survived one round of military base closings during the 1990s, but it was finally shut down in 1999. The site has shifted to private use as well as for Alabama National Guard training.


Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

8 hours ago

Ainsworth in Huntsville: Alabama is ‘the aerospace capital of the world’

Wednesday, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) presented Dr. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. with the 2019 Thomas R. Hobson Distinguished Aerospace Service Award for a lifetime of exemplary achievement in the aerospace field.

The award presentation came during the Aerospace States Association’s annual dinner, which was held in Huntsville at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Ainsworth is currently chair of the association, which is a national nonpartisan group composed of lieutenant governors, gubernatorial-appointed delegates and associate members from aerospace organizations and academia.

In remarks shared with Yellowhammer News, Ainsworth honored Alabama’s space legacy, recognizing Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary this week.


“Throughout each of the past six decades, Alabama and the Marshall Space Flight Center have created the engines that rocketed man into the heavens,” he said. “It’s here that Dr. Wernher Von Braun and his committed team of scientists and engineers birthed the Saturn V rocket that took men to the Moon and allowed them to place a U.S. flag on the lunar surface.”

“For those reasons, it’s altogether appropriate that we gather in this state and this city for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission,” he continued. “We are fortunate to have Buzz Aldrin, an original moonwalker and living American legend, join us during this conference.”

The conference is set to last through the rest of the week, with attendees working on publicly policy related to the aerospace industry and advocating for their home states.

“The work we do here this week will bring the stars and planets closer to the earth and ensure that future generations are privy to the same dreams and inspirations that the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle, and Space Station eras provid-ed to generations prior,” Ainsworth told the crowd.

Alabama is set to play a big role in ongoing and future space exploration, as Ainsworth emphasized in an interview with WHNT on Wednesday.

“I was just talking with some industry leaders who are here and they are talking about expanding the existing industry,” he the lieutenant governor said. “I think a lot of new industries are looking here. And the reason why is we are the aerospace capital of the world. I think when you look at our tax environment, with the workforce we are training, Alabama is open for business in aerospace, no doubt.”

Speaking with WZDX, Ainsworth referenced the Artemis program, with companies like United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Alabama set to make history in the very near future.

“Today I had an opportunity to tour ULA where they are building rockets that will literally send our next astronauts to the Moon, and when you look at just the president’s commitment to going back to the Moon, and when you look at potentially the future of going to Mars, it’s an exciting and energetic time in the aerospace industry right now,” Ainsworth advised.

RELATED: Aderholt celebrates Apollo 11, calls for SLS to stay on schedule

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn.

10 hours ago

Apollo 11 is now problematic?

Right now, Alabama, along with the rest of America, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. A mission that culminated in man walking on the moon and fulfilled the vision put out by President John F. Kennedy that it would be done before the end of the 1970s.

In normal times, this would be a time for celebration and unity. Americans from all sectors and political parties would drop their swords and join together to consume media of trying times and magnificent accomplishments.


Unfortunately, this is Trump’s America and because of that, the overarching theme that must pulse through every aspect of American culture, which is dominated by the media and their Democrats, is the simple undeniable and universal belief that America sucks.

It’s racist, stupid, sexist, stupid, homophobic, stupid, Islamaphobic, stupid and stupid.

Our soccer team believes it. Our celebrities believe it. Our politicians believe it.

And the news media is going to feed it to us non-stop.

For example, Werhner Von Braun was a Nazi, therefore his accomplishments on this matter are unworthy.

Another example: The space program had too many men, therefore it was problematic.

Another argument is Soviet Russia had more firsts (or something), so America should have focused less on accomplishing the mission and more on diversity.

Who is this for? What American wanted this? Who is the consumer for this news?

Inhabitants of American newsrooms and their woke superfans online.

This was not one outlet, one reporter, one editor — it is across the board.

These are major American media outlets and they cannot resist the urge to scold their fellow Americans for, in this case, the perceived sins of the past.

This is why people hate the media as a whole.

They aren’t offended, they aren’t going to write a letter, they aren’t going to demand someone be fired.

Your average American is sick of this nonsense. They roll their eyes and go on about their business.

This is why people don’t trust them. This is why they are called things like the “enemy of the people” and people applaud it.

This is how you got Trump.

President Donald Trump is the embodiment of the people who are sick of this crap.

And every time the people who work in these newsrooms and under these “legendary” banners write these articles try to scold Americans for some clearly arbitrary offense of the day, or the past, they might as well drop a dollar into Trump’s reelection campaign.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

10 hours ago

Doug Jones’ approval rating continues to fall

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to lose popularity as 2020 draws nearer.

Morning Consult on Thursday released its polling numbers for the second quarter of 2019, showing Jones’ net approval rating 20 points lower than the first quarter of 2018 when he entered the U.S. Senate.


The polling was conducted from April 1 through June 30 and measured registered voters. The results showed 39% of respondents approved of Jones’ job performance, while 37% disapproved and 24% were undecided. The margin of error was 1%.

In contrast, Senator Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) net approval rating is 15 points higher than Jones’, with 46% approving and only 29% disapproving of Alabama’s venerable senior senator.

Jones’ net approval rating has dropped three points since the beginning of the year.

Another poll conducted in April went deeper than Morning Consult’s approval rating surveys, showing that Jones faces nearly insurmountable demographic barriers to reelection.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn.

11 hours ago

Alabama couple turns racist graffiti message into opportunity to respond to hate with love

Jeremy and Gina Miller, an interracial husband-and-wife real estate team in the Birmingham metro area, were shocked on Wednesday to discover a racial slur painted on one of their “For Sale” signs at a local property.

ABC 33/40 reported that “NO N***R” was painted on the Local Realty sign in large white letters.

However, the Millers are responding to this hateful incident purely with love, guided by their faith, according to The Trussville Tribune.

“I think that God has been preparing Gina and me for a long time, in ways that we never would have expected, to touch a lot of people,” Jeremy told the newspaper.


The Millers, who live in Clay, will not be pressing charges on the individual responsible for the racist graffiti, whose identity is at this time unknown.

“We would love to know who did it because if we find them, we will show them mercy,” Jeremy advised. “I don’t think anything good comes from pressing charges. That’s not the message here.”

The couple hopes to use the incident to unite their community and lift others up.

“We just got a message on Facebook yesterday about how God spoke to him through my post and our response,” Jeremy told The Trussville Tribune. “It encouraged him to see us responding through love and not through retaliation.”

“When something like this occurs, you can love back instead. We want to unite people,” he added.

Jeremy also wants people to know the racist incident is not representative of their community.

“This is not indicative of the people in this area,” he emphasized. “It happens everywhere and they don’t always say it to your face.”

Perhaps the toughest part of the incident personally for the Millers has been trying to tell their children what happened.

“Having to explain to them what happened with the sign has been a little frustrating,” Gina noted.

The Millers are also using this incident as a learning opportunity.

“We tell [our children] all the time, hurt people, hurt people,” Jeremy explained. “I tell them that even adults do mean things sometimes. When you’re angry, you’re not nice to other people… We want to respond in love when maybe that person hasn’t received such things.”

Jeremy stressed a constant message of love.

“It (racism) is not dead and it probably won’t die for a very, very long time, but we as a culture and society have to keep perpetuating the message of loving one another,” he remarked. “If someone’s hurting and they lash out at you, you don’t have to respond negatively.”

The defaced sign has been replaced with a fresh one that includes both Jeremy and Gina’s headshots.

Read more here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn