The Old Scout

A More Perfect Union: Fewer States
November 14, 2006

I'm sitting under a banyan tree in Honolulu with a big glass of pomegranate juice, and the sea is glittering and surfers are skimming in on low waves, and the election is over, so let's all relax and quit irritating each other. Okay? Nancy Pelosi, the she-wolf from Sodom, is about to become the madam of the House, so you Republicans just get over it. Cash in your blue chips and invest in gold ingots and maybe real estate in Costa Rica. The black helicopters have landed. Live with it.

Democrats intend to bring reform to Washington, and why not begin with the United States Senate? It has been sorely in need of reform for a century or so. Two senators per state is a good idea in theory, assuming they are half smart, but then you look at George Allen, a lumbering frat boy from the state of Madison and Jefferson, and you think, whoa, something is wrong with this picture. We need some horizontal control.

Let's start at the beginning and redraw the map. First of all, is there a reason for Wyoming to exist as a state? I have often wondered about this. Why give two Senate seats to a half-million dime-store cowboys while California gets two seats for 34 million people? (Wyoming has roughly the population of Sacramento.) It's okay if Wyoming sends somebody with brains and an independent streak, but when they send a couple of Republican hacks, then it makes no sense.

The idea behind the Senate was to create a sheltered body of wise counselors who, because they don't have to shill for money perpetually, can rise above the petty tumult and think noble thoughts and do the right thing in a pinch. Can you think of a time when Wyoming's senators have done this? No, you can't. So let's bite the bullet and make Wyoming a federal protectorate and appoint an overseer. This would be a good assignment for Halliburton. It's done a heck of a job in Iraq, and let's give it Wyoming and, while we're at it, Alaska. A wonderful postcard place, but what have its congressmen done other than grub for federal largesse for Alaska? Change the name to Denali and put Halliburton in charge of it.

While we're at it, let's admit that Utah, Texas and Vermont have never been completely comfortable as part of the United States. They've tried to fit in but it just isn't working, so let's allow them to pull out and find their own path. You could attach Nevada to Utah and make a lovely little desert nation out of that, and let Vermont join Canada, and make Texas a republic. Add Oklahoma to it. They really are part of the same thing. This leaves us with 43 states, which we could reduce to 40 by joining Rhode Island and New Hampshire and making Idaho part of Montana and combining North and South Dakota into one state called West Minnesota. It's called consolidation, folks. It goes on all the time in corporate America and also in local school districts, so let's make it work for America.

We Democrats will personally foot the bill for the new flags. This is a promise.

We now have 40 states and 20 extra Senate seats to parcel out. Give some to ex-presidents. This would rescue them from their lonely lives on the lecture circuit and lend some pizzazz to the place since they'd be free to spout off and say whatever they think. People would sit in the galleries to listen to Bill Clinton. He'd be down there sawing away with Jimmy Carter and Bush 41 and maybe some former secretaries of state and chairmen of the joint chiefs. Let them in the club and put that experience to use. And add some city senators. Give one to New York, one to L.A., Chicago, Seattle and so forth. This would definitely add color.

And that is how you create a permanent Democratic majority. Tom DeLay showed us the way. Learn from the master. Those dinkeldorfs who ran the show for 12 years must never be allowed to return to power. Take those suits to the cleaners. Subject them to alternative interrogation techniques until we get to the truth. George Allen would make a decent host of a daytime quiz show. He came dangerously close to running for president. Ai yi yi yi yi. Let's get to work.

© 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.



From the Desk of Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor
Photo by Cheryl Walsh Bellville


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