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51 Star Flag (2011) (danbliss.blogspot.com)
111 points by fortran77 51 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 115 comments

I like the Brazilian 'solution' for this: simply add a new star into the constellation and call it a day! ;) PS: for those who don't know, the flag depicts the sky of Rio de Janeiro on Nov 15th, 1889, day of the proclamation of the Republic.

We tried other options, as well as a very similar flag as to the US, check it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Brazil

The current Brazilian flag is unique and beautiful, easily one of my favorites. I'm glad they didn't choose the stars and stripes variant!

The EU solution is also pretty interesting:

    #define STARS 12

Speaking of Brazilian flags, I really like São Paulo's one.


The 52-star version looks slightly more balanced than the 51-star one. Probably best make DC a state too while you're at it.

We should wait for 53-star, instead. I really like how it has stars in all four corners like the one we have now. (kidding!)

It's also prime and therefore "indivisible"

DC statehood passed the House last year, though nobody expected it to pass a Republican-controlled Senate. I think especially now that we've seen confusion about the chain of command of the DC National Guard, I'd bet that DC gets statehood before Puerto Rico.

(The bill proposes that a small federal district - basically just the contiguous territory of the White House, Congress, Supreme Court, and other federal buildings - be carved out of DC and become the actual capital, and the remainder of DC become a new state.)

If we're separating the federal district, why not just give the rest of it back to Maryland the same way the area on the other side of the Potomac was given back to Virginia?

It's perfect except that neither DC nor Maryland want that.

Which is exactly why we should do it anyway.

Both DC and Maryland could vote on that as an alternative to statehood, but remember they were separated 230 years ago so simply forcing a reunion on the populations of both locations seems suboptimal

I think that was floated at one point and MD didn't want it back.

Nor does DC want to join MD.

Sure, that’s a political problem with the idea, but MD not wanting DC is a Constitutional problem.

Yeah, and I wonder if enough Republicans could be persuaded to get a filibuster proof majority.

In any case I do believe the filibuster should be eliminated if Republicans obstruct just for the sake of obstruction.

> In any case I do believe the filibuster should be eliminated if Republicans

That is very dangerous reasoning.

Filibuster should be kept or eliminated regardless of political preferences and current majority in congress.

If the system starts get adjusted too easily for the needs of current majority, it might be beneficial in short term, but in the long term it will shatter the democracy: what is the point of having election laws if any of them can be changed by those who are in power now.

This is the same reason why the court should not be packed: it might seem be the fair thing for the current democratic majority, but it will damage the system credibility.

This is the same reason why gerrymandering need to be fixed.

You cut off half the sentence to call its reasoning dangerous, and you are misunderstanding it.

The reason is not "The filibuster should be eliminated because Republicans use it, and I don't like Republicans."

The reason is "The filibuster should be eliminated because it's possible for one political party to abuse it, and moreover, that has happened."

That reason may be based on facts or not, or convincing or not, but it is an argument that is not based on personal dislike of one party, except insofar as one party is doing something that would be bad if any party did it, and you are prepared to dislike any party that does it.

If I said "Gerrymandering is bad because Republicans have used it to their advantage," I would be agreeing with your argument about gerrymandering, because both of us would be prepared to say the same thing about any other party were that party to use gerrymandering to their advantage.

The Republicans killed the Filibuster in the Amy Coney Barrett nomination I thought, and multiple others.

I remember the Democrats threatening court packing and DC/PR statehood with the merest of advantages.

And now they have it.

Which means the Democrats will probably reinstate the filibuster out of collegiality or some other insane reason. The Democrats are averse to winning.

The Republicans killed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in 2017 after the Democrats killed the filibuster for all other judicial nominations in 2013.

Which they did because of unprecedented Republican obstruction in judicial confirmation.

This argument is repeatedly made and it doesn't really hold.

You don't preserve Democracy by making it difficult to Govern. When politicians are elected, they should be given the opportunity to actually govern on the agenda they ran on. Otherwise, elections becomes completely meaningless as everyone knows that meaningful change can never be implemented no matter what. I would argue that is more dangerous to democracy. The modern world evolves rapidly and a country needs a Government that's able to respond effectively to those changes.

The argument that an elected majority, elected by free and fair elections, should not be able to implement the platform they ran on seems fundamentally anti-democratic in itself.

What prevents an elected majority from consolidating power? Well, that's why we have 3 different branches of the Federal Government, and staggered election to bicameral Congress.

> When politicians are elected, they should be given the opportunity to actually govern on the agenda they ran on.

That is a reasonable argument against filibuster. I may agree with it or disagree, I don't know where I stand.

But the argument "because Republicans" should not be acceptable.

> The argument that an elected majority, elected by free and fair elections, should not be able to implement the platform they ran on seems fundamentally anti-democratic in itself.

It is more complicated than that.

In the real world the democratic system should also protect against "tyranny of the majority". Many checks and balances exists in particular to avoid that tyranny, not just three branches you mentioned.

Again, I'm not saying filibuster is good or bad.

> But the argument "because Republicans" should not be acceptable.

It should be acceptable. I am not sure what perspective you are making that statement from. I am coming at it by looking at the actions of Senate Republicans for the past decade. We absolutely must judge parties by what they do. A party that exists simply for the sake of obstruction, while claiming lies as its policy platform during elections, must be called out as such: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/courts/news/2016/07/...

> In the real world the democratic system should also protect against "tyranny of the majority". Many checks and balances exists in particular to avoid that tyranny, not just three branches you mentioned.

They haven't really succeeded in doing that, if you look at American history. The majority in the US has always behaved in a tyrannical fashion, making it difficult or impossible for the minority to succeed. This happened first with the Protestant majority, then the White majority. When it couldn't do so explicitly, it did so via implicit structures that enforced this.

So the argument of filibuster as a check against the "tyranny of the majority" also doesn't really hold, through experience. Its also a fundamentally racist structure: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/senate-fil...

>> But the argument "because Republicans" should not be acceptable.

>It should be acceptable.

I think you may be talking past each other. The argument I think you are making is that, "The filibuster is regularly abused and no longer serves sufficient purpose relative to its cost." The evidence can be argued from republican actions. But the reason should not be "I don't like republicans so I want to reduce their power." The abuse scenarios apply equally to democrats or other theoretically parties.

A similar discussion is highly disturbing with relation to the Supreme Court. That narrative seems to be, how can we maneuver to pack it with people sharing my views, rather than something like: "How can maintain the neutrality and de-politicalization of court?" Perhaps because we already cross the line of no return, or it was naive to ever think it existed.

The Democrats should turn every major city into states of 1 million people each (bigger than the lowest-population rural states) to balance the Senate between urban and rural interests.

I get what you're saying but this conflates two issues: people who live in PR and DC have zero voting representation in Congress. Let's fix that and then separately address the problems of the whole system.

I don’t think they should do PR because it won’t be a reliably Democratic vote. Do you think the Republicans would admit a state that wouldn’t be reliably Republican? Democrats need to play a harder-nosed politics.

I wonder if the Republicans could consider policies that would be completely unpalatable to anyone non-Rural/non-White....

DC should just be absorbed into Maryland

And while we're add it, let's merge the Dakotas with Wyoming!

Merge the Dakotas, make Florida it's own country and admit DC and PR -- you don't have to change the flag!

Neither Maryland nor DC wants that and there is no mechanism to force them. Do the residents of DC not deserve their own state?

Also keeps the urban and rural types from pissing each other off by passing laws at the state level. It's a win all around but politicians love power so of course no group of them will entertain the idea of carving up states and reducing their power.

I tried to research how this could happen: a city "seceding" from it's state.

I didn't really find anything.

I think it would introduce a fascinating effect: since cities are the financial lifeblood of states, the suburbs on the border would flock to be in that budget, rather than the rapidly diminishing one.

Kansas City is the #1 city I can think of that should secede though. It's population is doubly diluted by two states.

If a city seceding was viable, then New York City would have done it. Upstate New York might have gone along, though not the politicians. Upstate and the city are wildly different in culture, political beliefs, tolerance levels, and more. Many upstaters also hate that many assume the city when someone says 'I'm from New York'.

Both have amazingly nice people in places, and bad ones in others.

But if secession hasn't happened there, I don't see it happening with any city (which is good in my opinion).

Also, I used to live in upstate NY.

The tough part is that the state legislature (of the state before secession) would have to approve it.

> I didn't really find anything.


Is there not any wisdom to giving rural areas a counterweight to heavily populated urban areas?

Rural areas are 19% of the US population, and a severely overweighted part of national politics. The population considerations at the founding were pre-urbanisation, and have basically flipped, percentage wise.


>Is there not any wisdom to giving rural areas a counterweight to heavily populated urban areas?

The founders thought so. It's called the US Senate.

This is known as the Connecticut Compromise[0] and, if it had not been adopted, we likely wouldn't have had a Constitution.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut_Compromise

Edit: Added detail WRT the Connecticut Compromise.

Less wisdom and more necessity. The other states weren't keen on being dominated by Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, which together accounted for about 50% of the population. Anyhow, the vast majority of the country was rural and agricultural.

The wisdom of the Senate was quite literal--30-year minimum age limit, 6-year terms, and an expectation that states would send elder statesmen as it was legislatures that selected their senators. As Alexis De Tocqueville described it,

> At a few yards' distance from this spot is the door of the Senate, which contains within a small space a large proportion of the celebrated men of America. Scarcely an individual is to be perceived in it who does not recall the idea of an active and illustrious career: the Senate is composed of eloquent advocates, distinguished generals, wise magistrates, and statesmen of note, whose language would at all times do honor to the most remarkable parliamentary debates of Europe.


>> Is there not any wisdom to giving rural areas a counterweight to heavily populated urban areas?

> The founders thought so. It's called the US Senate.

No, they were trying throw a bone to states like Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey, which were land-locked out of Western expansion. It was the more 'rural' states that actually preferred to balance Congressional power on population.

[ed: As the more rural states saw their own populations likely to increase over time. The Senate's existence had absolutely nothing to do about balancing rural vs urban interests].

>>>>> Is there not any wisdom to giving rural areas a counterweight to heavily populated urban areas?

As GP said above -- a counterweight to to heavily populated areas. Which the more rural areas were at the time.

The more rural states (like Virginia at the time) had most of the population, which is why they preferred representation based on population.

The argument was one of population (whether current or expected), as writings by all involved in it will tell you explicitly.

Regardless, the US Senate was created with two senators from each state provided equal representation to each state in that house.

Which was and still is, a counterweight to heavily populated areas. Rural or urban really doesn't make a difference.

Edit: Clarified rural vs. urban importance WRT US Senate representation.

Amending the Constitution is functionally impossible but adding states is very easy. The Senate is gravely tilted towards Republicans so at the present moment where Donald Trump has handed the Senate to Democrats, they must add as many states as possible. Maybe they can get to 25.

I don't think so - it runs counter to "one person, one vote." What's the argument you see for it?

I think there's a lot of wisdom in protecting the rights of various minorities of all sorts of types, but a) that's a general problem we should solve, and I don't see why urban/rural is a special case b) that's generally solved by either adding supermajority requirements or adding structural protections for certain groups, not by weighting people's votes and flipping who's the majority and who's the minority.

The argument is simple.

It has nothing to do with urban/rural. The United States is a federation of separate legal jurisdictions (states). The House of Representatives has seats aligned with “one person, one vote” and the Senate is aligned with “one state, one vote” in an attempt to balance these interests.

The obvious consequence is that federal legislation will only move forward when most states and most people are in agreement — which I think is the intended outcome. This is often framed as “rural voters have more influence” but this is over-simplified: you need agreement from both houses to legislate. Rural voters can’t push their agenda any more than urban voters, but less populous states effectively get a little extra veto authority.

Besides, states are quite free to exercise their authority and many have large, active governments. Californians may be happy with their state government, but I’m not sure many smaller states would agree that their large population entitles them to impose their will on other states.

The fact that this manifests in the electoral college is weird, but that’s a separate issue from the core argument.

The core argument doesn't change if DC and PR become states. The question is do the residents in DC and PR deserve the same rights to pick senators/congressmen/EVs that other states get?

We have a two party system, it's a matter of a controlling majority seeing the advantage in DC and PR being states like they did with AK and HI.

PR absolutely. DC never for very obvious reasons that have been well explained since the founding and haven't changed.

You'll appreciate that the current proposal on the table for DC statehood leaves a "Capital District" consisting of the National Mall and surrounding federal buildings (including the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court), and only turns the rest of DC into a state. See the map at the bottom of https://statehood.dc.gov/page/resource-center .

If you haven't been to DC or looked closely at a map, it might surprise you that the vast majority of it is an ordinary city with residences and shops and schools, and the seat of federal government is a pretty small area. I didn't actually realize that until poking at a map and talking with friends who have lived in DC - I had the impression that DC was already small and most non-federal stuff was across the border in Virginia or Maryland, but that isn't actually true. DC is larger in area than SF!

(Also, federal districts like DC are relatively rare: most other countries don't have them. The hypothesis may not have changed since the founding, but we have a couple of centuries of experimental data now. Even the UN has buildings in Manhattan that are part of Manhattan and the US and not a separate UN exclave - I can and do bike down First Avenue, with UN buildings on both sides, without going through a border crossing.)

The reasons seem neither obvious nor static to me. The founders never intended to leave 700,000 Americans in DC without voting representation.

Are you under the mistaken impression that DC Statehood would give DC undue influence over the Federal government?

Sure, so the question I was responding to was, why not carve up states with multiple metro areas into multiple states? Why not have e.g. North and South California, if we're going to have e.g. North and South Dakota?

The reason this is a difficult question is that, while the US is a federation of states, there's no real guidance on what a state should be. The idea of "one person, one vote" is pretty clear. We can debate what the voting age should be, whether non-citizens should vote / what type of residence status you should have, whether your right to vote can be rescinded as a criminal punishment, etc., but we're starting from a common framework. Even in cases where we know that certain sub-populations have higher birth rates than others, there's no serious proposal to try to "correct" for that effect, because it's not seen as incorrect.

The principle of "one state, one vote" has no corresponding mental model for us to follow. If the US had no states, and someone said "States are a good idea," how would you draw the boundaries? Why would you draw a line across the Dakotas but not across California? Why would you separate Wyoming and Colorado? Why would Manhattan and Long Island be assigned to New York?

(Note that residents of a state have very limited ability to have opinions about their state boundaries - new states require "the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress." Concretely, if Californian voters wanted to split North and South California, but senators from other states said no because it would change the balance of power in the Senate, it wouldn't happen.)

And again - what is special about rural voters and only rural voters that they need this system? Why not give renters an extra veto, or the working class, or people in service industries, or racial minorities, or religious minorities, or field-of-employment minorities, or whomever? You can do this straightforwardly by having a Senate with either elected or appointed members from specific constituencies.

Hong Kong, for instance, elects half its legislators from "geographical constituencies" and the other half from "functional constituencies": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_constituency_(Hong_... These are generally industries, but one of them is specifically a representative of rural interests.

Because of specific sectarian conflicts, Lebanon's legislature is divided equally between Christians and Muslims: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_Lebanon#Allocati... And they have a concrete reason to want this (it was negotiated as part of a peace settlement after a 15-year civil war). I don't think the US has anywhere near as strong of a reason to privilege rural voters.

Also - the current system doesn't even privilege rural voters. It privileges rural voters in states without significant numbers of urban voters. There are tons of rural voters in states like New York and California who do not get to control their state government because major cities are more populous. California is even the biggest agricultural exporter among the states, so it's hard to say that the current system actually does give rural voters extra veto authority.

All it does is what you said - it gives less populous states extra veto authority. This is the same axis as "one person, one vote," just in the opposite direction. So what's the reason for it?

Some very important goods are almost exclusively produced in rural areas (food for instance, being produced by few people). The importance of these goods might be as important as the goods produced by people living in large cities (services for instance, being produced by many people).

If we start considering the people living in an area as the likely maintainers and experts of their field, I could imagine that we might want to assign the importance of votes based on the total importance of the "produced goods" in that area. That way these "maintainers" have a say in politics relative to their actual importance in society. I guess?

You might be interested in Hong Kong's "functional constituencies" system: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_constituency_(Hong_... Half of their legislative council is selected by voters in specific constituencies. Among them is specific rural constituency ("Heung Yee Kuk") and one for agriculture and fisheries, but also various more-urban constituencies like tourism, IT, and healthcare.

I don't have a good sense of how well this works in practice, and of course it is confounded by Hong Kong being a very unusual jurisdiction to start with. But yeah, I think it would be a more principled approach than having this one feature in our government to nominally give extra voting rights to rural populations in particular. It's difficult to figure out what those importances really are and it's unlikely everyone will agree, but I think everyone can agree that the answer is not that rural voters are the only special constituency.

Alternatively, there's a simpler argument - those things that are important in society are important because everyone cares about it, and therefore an urban legislator is unlikely to say "We don't need farms," because the urban legislator needs to eat. If the agricultural constituency says they need some measure, they already have the ability to convince the general voting public in proportion to their importance in society.

(Also, it's not like our current system effectively gives rural voters an additional voice. California is our top agricultural exporter, but it tends to vote in the opposite way from the smaller-population states. And even if you did give a specific voice to California's agricultural interests, it's highly likely that they'd disagree with the policies advocated by smaller-population states to reduce immigration and increase deportations, for instance.)

>That way these "maintainers" have a say in politics relative to their actual importance in society. I guess?

Who decides what's important? Who decides the relative importance of "maintainers?"

Even if that were a good idea (I don't think it is), there's no reasonable way to make something like that work.

The only wisdom would be that the rural areas provide food security. I see that as only justification for overweighting their needs in the realms of agriculture/food markets, not a blanket supervote.

Right now in America it's inner cities and other urban areas that need more favorable representation.

Elections and politics are about people, not trees or acres of land.

I've always thought if/when new states are added, the future US flag could pay homage to the original by forming the stars in a circular pattern.

Eg: https://www.flaginstitute.org/wp/2015/01/flag-week-usa-51-st...

When I coached a programming team, I once had them algorithmically solve this problem for a N-star flag. The constraints were to find all possible combinations where the rows alternated in length by 1. It ended up being a great teaching experience because it was really easy for the students to visualize it and play around with the problem on the whiteboard. It's also a really easy problem to solve without code so the students can easily verify their code and gain confidence.

A nice way of teaching the P = NP problem.

Or we could go with the birthday cake solution: just slap a big "51" on it (maybe traced out with 51 stars), and call it a day.

There's some precedent for something like that:


Somewhere Roman Mars just got a cold flash and has no idea why...


More likely 52 however with DC and Puerto Rico. Nice article - I like the arrangement. I would assume no one would be interested in a less traditional arrangement much like no one is interested in more colorful currency.

Neither state is likely. They require 60 votes, which is impossible now and will become even more difficult as the disproportionately conservative Senate becomes even less representative of the US over time (due to urbanization).

The constitutionality of DC statehood is also very controversial, so SCOTUS could probably kill it without having to stretch their logic much.

Only simple majority is needed for admission, not 60 [0]. Admitting DC as state would also only require simple majority since constitution does not explicitly mention DC only “federal district.” DC was made a federal district by an act of Congress and a simple majority can reverse that [1]

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admission_to_the_Union

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statehood_movement_in_the_Di...

Also, politically it's not that simple; in the recent November 2020 referendum 52.5% voted in favour of statehood, a fairly narrow majority. In 2012 only about 30% voted in favour of statehood (ignoring the boycotted and unrepresentative 2017 referendum).

So an actual (slim) majority in favour of statehood is a very recent thing, and not even Puerto Rico itself lacks the 60% required for a senate vote.

People seem to forget this. Imagine asking the people who actually live there what they want...

Again, there is no 60% requirement in the constitution, or elsewhere in law. Simple majority is enough. Filibuster is the thing that takes 60 senators but that also can be eliminated with simple majority.

Also, Puerto Ricans were asked and did consent. Their opinion really changed after the non-response to Maria. In recent global politics entire brexit happened due to similarly slim margins.

But is IS part of the rules for the Senate, so it still matters.

> In recent global politics entire brexit happened due to similarly slim margins.

Which was not a good idea, intensely controversial, and will have negative effects for years or decades to come.

And people have been talking for years about this without seemingly caring what the actual Puerto Ricans think. But of course, middle-class liberals who never even been there know what's best for poor brown people, right? Those poor uneducated people need saving by smart white people!

The biggest Constitutional issue with D.C. Statehood (given that the plan includes reservation of a reduced federal district) is the prohibition on forming states from parts of other states without the consent of the original states’ legislatures’, since the territory originally came from MD. It's, IIRC, disputed how it would apply, but it would seem to be rendered non-problematic if consent was sought from MD.

MD has democrats controlling state legislature, so should be OK.

the person you're replying to is implying 60 votes needed for filibuster defeat, i believe

But filibuster procedure can be removed by a simple majority.

Its only 60 votes if senators insist on pretending its 60 votes. Its 50+1 votes if senators actually want to do something.

That requires ending the filibuster, which multiple Dem senators have already announced opposition to.

The reality here is that Senators like having the ability to hide behind the filibuster so they can pretend to be for certain legislation that appeals to their base without worrying that it might actually pass (i.e. when such legislation would anger their donors or otherwise interfere with their actual priorities). When such legislation is filibustered, they raise up their hands and say "well what can you do, I would have voted for it but the other party didn't let me."

The real issue at play is not having 51 "real" votes in support of a particular measure. The filibuster is a stupid procedural distraction used to excuse inaction, and the people shouldn't be tricked by this nonsense.

My idea would be to optimise the spacing of the stars by using circle packing algorithms. Find the largest radius for which you can fit 51 circles in the rectangle, and then center the stars in the circles. That guarantees that the stars are well spaced.

Packing doesn’t necessarily make nice symmetrical things. I don’t have an image for n=51 but this [1] is for 55. Interestingly for square numbers from 49 on, the best packing is not the obvious square lattice either [2]

[1]: https://www.ime.usp.br/~egbirgin/packing/packing_by_nlp/nume...

[2]: https://www.ime.usp.br/~egbirgin/packing/packing_by_nlp/nume...

I will sleep easier knowing there is no 51 or 52-star flag crisis looming.

You joke but people have cited this as an apparently legitimate argument against adding new states.

The "Special Circular" pattern has the added advantage of an embedded framework for a pentagram. That could be handy.

Quick, file for copyright!

My brain read this in a Gilfoyle voice.

I would rather the flag have 13 stars for the original colonies and stop looking so cluttered.

That's what the stripes are for though.

Maybe a single large star then.

Texas already has a large enough ego.

I wonder how much adding a star would be worth to the map industry?

[EDIT] by map I mean flag.

Do you mean the flag industry? Because old iterations of the flag don't become obsolete, they remain just as official as ever. You wouldn't need to buy a new one if you didn't want to.

"According to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, the United States flag never becomes obsolete. Any approved American flag may continue to be used and displayed until no longer serviceable." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_United_States#Poss...)

> Do you mean the flag industry?

Yes - need to drink coffee before posting.

Yes. I remember reading of some minor Federal official around 2000 who discovered that his office still had a 48-star flag.

If DC becomes a state, flying a 50-star flag will definitely become a political statement. It won't be seen as a "correct" flag.

I can't imagine anyone would notice.

For example, Walt Disney World's Main Street USA has 45-star flags on top of each building [1]. I've heard two reasons for this; that was the flag used in the early 1900's (the period where Main Street USA is set) and because it's not an American Flag they do not need to be illuminated or taken down at night. That last part contradicts what was said above. While this fact comes up a lot, I've never heard of anyone spontaneously noticing or object to how they're treated.

It may be a subtle political statement used by some, but I'm sure someone had done it with the 48-star flag. That's more noticeable because the stars were laid out in a grid instead of a checkerboard.

[1] https://www.militarydisneytips.com/blog/patriotic-disney/wal...

I think it would be too subtle for people to notice, and therefore wouldn't be a statement

Controversial opinion: the US flag has too much noise going on. The meaning behind the stars and stripes is nice, but the Texas flag captures the same elements much more cleanly.

I'm looking for flags with an embedded 2D barcode. By the way it turns out that the Data Matrix code for "US" takes 10 by 10 pixels and only has 52 black pixels...

I'm going to bookmark this article for when the debate for PR or DC statehood starts and everyone's first argument is "but the flag!"

Very fun post. I love the USA but our current flag is just hideous. It’s just ungainly, inelegant, and utterly lacking character.

The way things are going out would make more sense to start designing versions with fewer stars, not more. Should the DNC press ahead with their plans for statehood for places which they deem to be certain DNC-voters and possibly pack the supreme court I foresee a split of the union into a narrow coastal region (sea and lakes) versus "the rest". Xi and Vlad Will be happy, the rest of the world not so.

Sorry to bring this up but I think Antifa should display the US flag like the right-wing Trump folks to show that its as much as their country as its for Trump supporters. This is one of the arguments made by Trump supporters how unpatriotic BLM/Antifa movement is. Why not embrace the flag and create discord? It's like taking away one of their key branding tools.

If you think about the US flag as a brand, its tarnished by the "patriots". I'd love to see a counter movement to this. It's not just US, but extreme right wing movements in Germany, France, UK - all embrace the flag. Thoughts?

I have always wondered why leftists cede such a powerful symbol to the right. It makes sense for Antifa, as they tend to be anarchists, but liberal lefties, not sure.

As a practical matter, it can be physically dangerous for leftists to bring a flag to a protest if Antifa is there, since they are violent to those they perceive as fascist, and the USA is considered fascist by them

This is a video of a leftist man beaten for just that in last year's Portland protests (later riots) https://youtu.be/hpVj4658Zvc

I see. Perhaps, I should reframe it as left wing and right wing groups.

Maybe, but I understood you

Eh, I think the utility of 50 United States has long since served out its purpose. There isn’t a clear and present external danger which requires all of us to stick together in unity. Certainly the British aren’t going to return for their former colonial land. This so-called unity is doing us more harm than good.

I live in Florida. Is it fair for voters in New York to dictate how I live my life? Likewise, is it fair for any New Yorker to be affected in any way by the votes of someone who lives in Florida? Isn’t this “spooky action at a distance” the very definition of tyranny?

An amicable divorce among the states would ease tensions and focus minds on creating a framework for cooperation. Instead we seem to be fighting for peace in an abusive household.

> Eh, I think the utility of 50 United States has long since served out its purpose. There isn’t a clear and present external danger which requires all of us to stick together in unity. Certainly the British aren’t going to return for their former colonial land. This so-called unity is doing us more harm than good.

You've been living the good life for so long that you're become blind to the bad life (normal life for many others). The Brits won't invade you, but every big country will try to bully you, some even openly. Look at what happened to Taiwan, Armenia, Iraq, Lybia, Korea, etc.

You won't be invaded, just pushed around to the benefit of third parties.

>I live in Florida. Is it fair for voters in New York to dictate how I live my life? Likewise, is it fair for any New Yorker to be affected in any way by the votes of someone who lives in Florida? Isn’t this “spooky action at a distance” the very definition of tyranny?

How much is your daily life affected by Federal law?

I really only run into it when I go to an airport or a post office.

I'm not being snarky here. The vast majority of laws that affect us directly are state and local laws.

Federal law rarely intrudes on everyday life, in my experience.

> How much is your daily life affected by Federal law?

Some examples: Agriculture, Food and Drugs (FDA), Banking, investments (SEC), imports and exports (Customs), taxes (IRS), the internet and telecommunications (FCC), the interstate highway system, health insurance (ACA), intellectual property (patents, copyrights, trademarks), national parks, railroads.

Fair enough.

The Feds do make life much harder and safer for everyone.

I suggest you set up a meeting with Mr. DeSantis and get the ball rolling. I suspect that it would be a pretty hard sell, not just with Ron, but with most of your fellow Floridians.

Then again, I hear they don't have all those pesky laws in Somalia. Perhaps you'd be happier there.

> your fellow Floridians.

I’m not the Floridian. I replied to your post because I thought you were overlooking how much federal law impacts daily life.

>I’m not the Floridian. I replied to your post because I thought you were overlooking how much federal law impacts daily life.

I should have looked at the username before responding. My apologies.

It takes a full week to file my taxes, often I take off work and am not reimbursed.

>It takes a full week to file my taxes, often I take off work and am not reimbursed.

If your return is so complicated that it really does take you that long, you could probably just hire an accountant to do if for you and it would cost much less than a week's pay.

Or not.

Similar sentiment as minimizing federal government and states handling their own business more. I worry about efficiency though... doesn't seem very DRY. In software, we often abstract/reuse at >= 3 instances of doing the same thing. I suppose divorced states could still share legislation, regulations, etc. as seen fit, utilizing any regional (or geographically disparate) combinations of partner states that makes sense for each issue.

> There isn’t a clear and present external danger which requires all of us to stick together in unity.

Do you consider China to be a rising totalitarian world superpower? Strength against foreign manipulation (e.g., markets, trade, diplomacy) is a great reason for national unity.

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