The Divided States of America

December 12th, 2012

We’ve all felt it: the idealogical divide between neighbors, co-workers, friends, even family members.  This week on Business Matters, we go deeper into the phenomenon of a country divided.  What are the issues we know divide us?  What issues might be lurking beneath the surface?  Is secession a viable option for states disgruntled with social and economic policies, or simply a reaction to a temporary political impasse?  What are some other options for approaching our differences?

First, we talk to a man whose goal in running for political office is secession and nothing but secession.  He shares why he believes this is a necessary step, and from him we learn about disenfranchisement and idealogical disparities.

Next, we discuss the viability of secession in the United States and elsewhere around the world.  What factors indicate that a separatist movement will be successful and that the new nation will survive?  We delve deeper here into the reasons for the current cries for secession in the U.S., including what may be our biggest fear as a nation.

We then turn to a subject that has been virtually ignored in policy discussions over the last few elections: racial inequality.  Is this our country’s elephant in the living room, so big and so seemingly insurmountable that no one wants to address it, or is it old news?  Perhaps, our guests surmises, it’s somewhere in between, where pragmatism and hope lie side by side.

We end our discussion with a look within.  How is our inner landscape projected into our external environment, and what does that mean for us as a nation?  We learn how important community is in distinguishing our own egocentricity from the voice of truth within.  Laying our stories beside one another in the spirit of inquiry creates true community, in which we value difference rather than fear it.

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Larry SECEDE Kilgore

Larry SECEDE Kilgore has announced his candidacy for governor of Texas in 2014.  His platform is “Texas secession!  All other issues can be dealt with afterwards.”  You can read more about Larry and his bid for secession in a recent New York Times article, and you can follow Larry on his Facebook page here.

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Eric Garland

Eric Garland is an author and speaker who focuses on future trends that are changing life for everyone.  His books include How to Predict the Future and WIN!!! and Future, Inc.: How Businesses Can Anticipate and Profit from What’s Next.  He blogs at  We found him through his article in Quartz: The People’s Republic of Vermont: Secession is all the rage from the deep south to Basque country.

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Desmond S. King

Desmond S. King is a professorial fellow of politics at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, specializing in the study of race and politics in American political development.  He has written several books on the topic, including his most recent, authored with Rogers M. Smith, of the University of Pennsylvania: Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America.  He has also written on immigration, the American state, labor market policy, and the American political economy.  You can find out more about Dr. King and his research here.

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Parker Palmer

Parker is a writer, teacher, and activist, and the founder of The Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include The Courage to Teach,  A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life,  and most recently, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.  He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as eleven honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press.  You can find out more about Dr. Palmer and his programs here and join his active Facebook page here.

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