MANSFIELD: So, Are You Ready Now?

Torn Flag


The former president of Spelman College, Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD, and Barbara Snyder, the current president of Case Western (she admits that she prefers to say the whole name, not just “Case”), sat down in a cozy auditorium for a very erudite and enlightening chat. The venue was full of a cross section of bright and progressive folk from the university and wider community. Just the type of group I wanted to pose a particular question in front of to gauge their reaction.

So, after the pleasant and informative discussion regarding the state of diversity on university campuses and beyond, I got to ask the first question, and I referenced the remarks Dr. Tatum made at the beginning of her talk when she addressed the current state of national affairs.

My question was, “Given the fact that the last election demonstrated there are a lot more hateful right wingers than we had imagined, do you still hold out hope that we will heal as a nation, or, as radical as it sounds, should we begin making preparations to divide the country in two?”

There was an audible gasp from the assembled intelligentsia; I had uttered the dreaded “S” word … separation, as in a divorce. I was asking if we should consider dissolving the Union. Anyone who has gone through a messy divorce knows how acrimonious the process can be, and I submit that no amount of bad feelings can exceed those that progressives and conservatives are currently experiencing towards each other in this country at present, and for the foreseeable future. All I’m suggesting is that the split is made before real damage is done to the body politic.

Dr. Tatum accurately stated that some on the right are already experiencing “buyer’s remorse” and I will concede that point … but not enough of them to make a real difference. I also will concede there are more enlightened Americans — folks who truly believe in what is inscribed on the Statute of Liberty — than there are haters. And I am convinced that if we had an election do-over Trump would get his ass kicked so badly, he’d end up as humpbacked as Quasimodo. And I’m further convinced that we’ll correct this political misstep at the next election.

But the point is, even if progressives take the White House back in 2020 (which probably will happen), that’s still going to leave a huge — a much bigger number than we had previously realized — chunk of Americans mad as hell and attempting to throw monkey wrenches into the wheels of government.

My point is, given the zero sum game of American politics, whichever party is in is going to leave the other party out … and pissed. We might as well come to grips with the new reality and admit that we’re forever stuck in gridlock … while the rest of the world progresses. Our enemies just love the fact we’re mired in endless cycles of petty bickering.

This is no way to run a country, unless you want to run it into the ground. The future of the Republic is at stake here, folks, and there will be no transformational leader who will magically appear on the American landscape and bind our nation’s wounds. We’re fresh out of white knights.

As Peter Knox, a professor of humanities at Case once posited, what should have happened at the end of the Civil War was, once the slaves were freed, the North should have told the South, “OK, now you can leave the Union.” And I would have added “good riddance.”

Yes, I fully comprehend how radical an idea it is to split the Union, but I know white reactionaries better than most white progressives know them, and what I know is this: They will never willingly acquiesce to sharing power with “the other” … no matter if that “other” is a black American who can trace his linage in this country back 350 years, or the most recently arrived PhD from the Middle East.

Sure, it will be a logistical nightmare, but at least both sides would be able to live in relative peace after the divorce. I wish there were another way, viable solutions, but the last election proved beyond a shadow of a doubt there really are not, in spite of the fact I — and you — sincerely wish there were.

If you’re not ready for the divorce now, then when will you be?


From Cool Cleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at




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