Independence? Enough Already!

a radio commentary broadcast on Jefferson Public Radio's The Jefferson Daily
Tuesday, July 1, 1997
(c)1997 by Fred Flaxman

HOST: As Americans get ready to celebrate Independence Day, commentator Fred Flaxman can't help but come up with some radical thoughts on the subject.

FLAXMAN: Enough is enough. After 221 years it's time to bury the hatchet, forgive and forget, and get back together with England. After all:

  • King George has long since disappeared, and Americans now go ga-ga over British royalty.
  • The tea tax no longer disturbs most Americans, since they prefer coffee or wine coolers.
  • England is more or less as democratic a country as we are, and it's as easy to find McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut over there as it is here.
  • We think we speak the same language, and there is a strong movement in the U.S. to make English our official national tongue.
  • Our best Broadway musicals -- Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables -- all come from England, as does our greatest rock music -- the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, David Bowie.
  • So do our best television programs -- Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery, and countless other PBS imports.
  • We haven't fought against each other in a war since 1814.
  • We've run out of contiguous English-speaking territories to add to our union, except for the Canadian provinces, which should get back together with England as well.
  • England has more in common with us than it does with France, Germany and other countries that are slowly and painfully drawing together with the United Kingdom in a European Union. And, in this modern age, it doesn't matter that Great Britain is physically closer to the European continent. Even when transportation and communication were much slower than they are today, England did better economically when it was connected to its far-flung commonwealth, or empire, than it is doing now with close-by Europe.
  • Is there any difference between Bill Clinton and Tony Blair? Was there any between George Bush and John Major or between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (aside from Thatcher being a more convincing actor)?

If the U.S., English-speaking Canada, Australia and New Zealand rejoined the Mother Country, we'd have the beginning of a United States of the World which would work -- a collection of countries that shared the same language, literature, history, culture, values, religions, democratic traditions, freedoms, multi-ethnic populations... and problems.

Impractical? Well, maybe. But it has a better chance of working than a European Union. Of all the multilingual countries in the world (including Lebanon, Belgium, India, the former Soviet Union, and Canada), Switzerland seems to be the only one where the various language groups live continuously in harmony with one another. And that's only because the Swiss are more interested in numbers -- watches, clocks, francs and bank accounts -- than words.

I'm willing to become a British subject -- as long as they don't force us to give up baseball and play cricket. I wouldn't want to see the only real difference between us eliminated.

This is Fred Flaxman

HOST: Commentator Fred Flaxman lives in the State of Jefferson, which has not yet been recognized by the United States -- or by the British Commonwealth -- but which has its own public radio service nonetheless.