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Too Many States

Look at the map of the United States of America. Very colorful, isn't it? It's a little too colorful if you ask me. It is a cluttered and confused evil patchwork: a stark confusion of states, some of which are so small, not even their abbreviations fit inside them on the map. Worse, these tiny states are filling the senate with surplus senators, while barely scraping together enough population to muster a single representative. We wonder why our nation is in constant political gridlock: look to the map for the reason why.

I propose reducing the total number of states from the current 50 to a more manageable number, one we can all get along with. To do that, I want to erase as many old borders as possible, creating new ones only where absolutely necessary. Some states will keep their names, and some will get brand new ones. I would also adjust the representation rate to one representative per 1,000,000 population, rounded up if they're really close to the next million. That makes it very easy to calculate the total representatives a state should receive.

Start with California. It only needs 20-odd million people. Northern California wants to secede, so let it. Central and Southern California will now be all that remains in the new state of California. Once California is cut down to 27 million people in Central and Southern California, we'll all benefit from not hearing any more Northern Californians whine about not wanting to be part of the rest of the state. We'll get a double benefit from not having to hear any Californian go on about how if his state was an independent nation, it would have the 8th largest GDP or 5th largest per capita avocado consumption or anything like that. The new state would have a population of 27.1 million and get 27 representatives.

Washington, Oregon, northern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii will all be in the new state of Pacifica. That name sounds cool, and I think they will like it. Nevada, Utah, and Arizona will all be glad to be associated with an ocean than with a desert, so they probably won't complain. Heck, they'll help to even out the average rainfall statistics for the region, because Oregon and Washington really throw it out of whack. Hawaiians have nothing to complain about because all those special deals that excluded Hawaii will be available there, once it's part of Pacifica. Pacifica would have 24.9 million people in it and 25 representatives.

Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and that northern part of Michigan will all be the new state of Cold. I named that new state Cold because it is very cold there. Some places should have names that make sense, and this is one of them. It's cold in every last one of those states and any potential visitor needs to know the full truth about those areas. If you like cold weather, great. Go there, then. If not, stay the heck away, because it's cold up there. The population of the great state of Cold would be 14.6 million, would have 15 representatives, and its primary crop would be snow.

Texas is lucky. Not only does it keep its old name, it gets back most of its old territory. New Mexico and Colorado are welcomed back into Texas. If anyone in Denver doesn't like this, too bad. Most of the people I know in Denver used to live in Dallas and quite a few people in Dallas used to live in Denver, so I don't see what they would be able to complain about, anyway. Denver is the largest suburb of Dallas, and it just making a part of Texas helps its citizens come to grips with reality. You have to understand that part of what I'm doing here is to take some states out of delusions and into reality. We should not be allowing geographic charades of the past to continue in the future. Who were they kidding up in Colorado, anyway? Were they thinking they could get away with renouncing their Texanicity? If so, it was folly of the highest degree. Anyway, Oklahoma can keep its panhandle because it looks cool on the map and also because most Texans really don't want to have anything to do with something the Okies used to have... I'm just stating a fact, here. I'm just the messenger about the Okies, not the message. OK, so the Restored Lone Star State would weigh in with 25.8 million people and 26 representatives.

Now we come to a fun part of the map. Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri all get to be part of the state with the coolest name: Indian Territory. It won't be really a territory, you understand, it will be a real state: we will just call it Indian Territory. Kids all across the nation will look at this state and have images of powerful chiefs sitting on their horses, herds of Buffalo, and wild war dances all going through their excited little minds. Kids in schools everywhere would compete for the honors to do a project on Indian Territory. It looks so cool on the map, too. I always liked the US maps that still had "Indian Territory" on them, and felt we had lost a national treasure when it was so small, all we could get on the map was "Ind. Terr." I'm sure the Native Americans didn't like it either, come to think of it. Well, they can have it back and more in the new state of Indian Territory, with 13.1 million people in it and 13 representatives.

Nobody can tell the difference between the names of all the states that start with the letter I. Therefore, we should make them all into one state. I call that state "Ionoisdiana." Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? We could still call them all "Hoosiers" because that's a cool sounding nickname and none of the other states really has one to compete with it. Ionoisdiana would have a population of 20.9 million and 21 representatives.

Michigan and Ohio get merged into one state. Since there is a very cool joke that goes with the name Ohio, I feel it is appropriate to keep the name Ohio for this new state. Students at Michigan State may not like this, but they will now have to be attending Other Ohio State. That may step on a few toes, I'm told, but that's the way it goes. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, and all that. The state that's round on both sides and high in the middle would now have 21.1 million people and 21 representatives.

Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina should all be one state. This one gets named Kentuckolina. We don't have to worry about the long name for the state, as joining Tennessee with North Carolina makes for a very wide space to write that name. We would now eat "Kentuckolina Fried Chicken" and listen to "Kentuckolina Bluegrass". Not many of the other states are as adjectival as Kentucky, so preserving as much of that state's name as possible would make the transition period run more smoothly. Kentuckolina now weighs in with 20.9 million people and gets 21 representatives in the now very slimmed-down Congress.

Florida and Georgia would make a fine combination state. I proposed they be joined in the new state of Florgia. I really like the sound of that name. It just rolls off the tongue. Florgia. Florgia. Say it with me and you'll be hooked, too. The nice thing about that name is that it can remain in songs, such as "Florgia on My Mind" or "Ramblin' Wreck From Florgia Tech." We would eat "Florgia Peaches". Touches like that will help Florgia gain acceptance as a new state name. Besides, much of the region there is swampy, and Florgia has a great "swampy" feel to it, don't you think? Florgia would have 22.8 million people, 23 representatives, and could brag about peaches and oranges.

Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia all belong together in one state. I will call that state Pencilware and spell it right. No more of that p-e-n-n-s-y-l stuff. Those first two syllables should be spelled like they sound: pencil. This state would actually have the largest population of all the others, with 27.2 million population. It would get 27 representatives along with those bragging rights.

New York and New Jersey are both "new" states. Both of them have lots of advertisers living in them. What better way to combine them than to make them the state of New and Improved? What could be more American than New and Improved? It's a great idea of and I'm glad I thought of it. It would be a great selling angle for the state for any relocations, as where could be a better place for your new and improved corporate HQ than New and Improved? The new and improved state of New and Improved would have 26.3 million people in it, 26 representatives, and a head start on winning those tourist dollars.

Everything east of New York should be one state called Yankee. They are probably all going to yell about the names being changed anyway, so we might as well make sure they have plenty to yell about. I know people from up that way and there sure are a lot of complainers up there, especially in Vermont. New Hampshire always gets ticked off when other states try to have a primary earlier than it, even though a win there is totally irrelevant. Why should any of them get extra senators to coddle that kind of bitter whining? They should be consolidated and whine as one. The state of Yankee takes care of six of our smallest states, by the way. That represents a great savings in the Senate, whether they like it or not. The 13.4 million people of that state also get more of a choice as they vote for their 13 representatives and a victory in the Yankee primary would represent a real achievement.

Finally, we come to the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. These four states spend year after year rotating in the worst four positions in any national survey. The governors there seem to have things rigged so each state moves out of 50th place by election time, so they can all have a big parade and pretend like they're making progress. They all seem to slide down in a year or two, only so they can rise again. Who do they think they are kidding? Well, they don't fool me. If they didn't have each other to compare themselves to, they'd all realize they were dead last for most national statistics. Because they haven't gotten their acts together since reconstruction, they all get lumped up as Last Place. Once they have a name like that, everyone will know where they stand and when they won't have each other to hide behind. If they can somehow attain certain minimal standards, we may allow them to have a name other than Last Place, but it still won't be a beautiful name. It'll probably be something like Not that Bad or Getting Better.

The 50 states are now thirteen. 100 senators are now 26. 435 representatives are now 270. 50 state governments are now only thirteen. With this tremendous savings in government officials, our nation will prosper like never before. What only thirteen states, kids will do much better in school because they don't have as many states to worry about.

The greatest benefit, however, is that we can go back to the original old glory flag. Now each stripe truly will represent a single state: the thirteen stars will again form a proud of circle of strength, instead of a divisive array of lines. With only thirteen states, our nation will be stronger, prouder, and more fun to look at a map of. I just can't wait for my kids to do their first project on Indian Territory.