Pacific America: West Coast, Best Coast, Forever
I no longer consider myself American. That term no longer holds any meaning for me, even as a veteran from a family of veterans.
The United States of America I was raised to believe in and fight for has turned out to be a magnificent lie.
The American nation is pure myth — it just doesn’t exist. Twenty years of failed War on Terror that took a million lives, 690,000 and counting lost to an entry-level pandemic, drug wars designed to imprison and disenfranchise Black and Latino communities, endless mountains of student loan and consumer debt with usurious interest rates.
Leave no one behind?
All America has ever done in my lifetime is leave people behind. Abroad, just ask the Afghans, the Kurds, or anyone who runs afoul of one of America’s autocratic allies like Saudi Arabia. At home you can ask the victims of the pandemic, opioid addiction, contaminated water, police brutality, or indigenous genocide.
America has been reduced to an eternal game of musical chairs where a few lucky folks have reserved seats while the rest scramble until their turn to be abandoned and destroyed comes around. Year after year the middling-rich get to laugh and pretend their turn won’t one day come at the hands of some billionaire while all around them the poor die young and miserable, as if America is bound and determined to become a modern Dickensian dystopia.
This is not a society —it is the worst form of anarchy: pure nihilism, the rule of the strong over the weak justified by an authoritarian white supremacist philosophy that varies across the left-right spectrum primarily in how much apology should accompany the slaugher. Democrats, Republicans — it hardly matters anymore.
The United States of America has completely stalled out, it is trapped in a permanent metabolic crisis, economy slowly consuming itself, politics a mockery of democracy, social order frayed beyond repair.
Is it any wonder 40% of Americans in recent polling support regional secession? Or that at least 33% never vote for President? Or that a third against all evidence think the last election was frauduluent?
The stagnation of Fourth America has gone on far too long to be reversed — the schism between Red and Blue is now beyond terminal. Both sides are more committed to their endless power struggles than the Constitution.
Both work to wield it to their own advantage, keeping Americans at each other’s throats and afraid of their neighbors while Congressional districts are carefully drawn to eliminate competitive seats, dividing the government permanently in two.
America has already split into two societies fast evolving in diametrically opposed directions. Americans can’t even agree on basic public health measures or voting rights anymore, and the partisan divide is only growing.
This is simply not sustainable. Fears of collapse and civil war are rising. The future is bleak absent radical change this myth-obsessed, science skeptical culture probably can’t produce — it has become too rigid, inflexible, incapable of change.
If there is ever a Constitutional Crisis over who is the legitimate President — and one seems more likely than not to erupt in 2024 — the military chain of command might split, leading to a nightmare filled with horrors few who haven’t seen or at least trained for war can truly appreciate. Even if it does not, the rage half the population will feel whatever the outcome is likely to lead to violence.
America is not united now and cannot be united anytime soon because it is home to numerous diverse regional cultures that have distinctly different concerns and needs, their disunity impossible to ignore or reverse.
It is absolutely essential for the entire world to understand that the choice for America now comes down to violent fragmentation or an orderly transition to something dramatically more decentralized.
To prevent a future succession crisis from sparking a second civil war the insider and lobbyist-infested federal capitol, the Washington D.C. Beltway machine, must be broken apart.
The sooner this happens the better.
When the collapse of Fourth America can no longer be denied, when the federal government is so dysfunctional this starts to undermine the national economy, states will be forced to group together to survive. This is what they did during the Civil War, and what the Thirteen Colonies did to successfully revolt and form the United States of America in the first place.
Once a people choose not to follow the same basic rules of society, it’s over. There’s no winning a fight for unity any more than an estranged couple can be forced to reconcile.
Sooner or later America’s natural regions will find it easiest to each take the Constitution and go their own way, each claiming to follow its true spirit and uphold its legacy.
I say this moment can’t come soon enough. The risk of civil war is too damned high.
And when the day dawns Pacific America — the wealthiest and most progressive region — will be free to do America right. To build a vision of a better United States under the Constitution on the West Coast.
Pacific America —A Young Nation Waiting to Be
The core of Pacific America is the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawai’i plus the Pacific Territories of Guam, the Marianas, and American Samoa.
As the 2020 Census proves, Pacific America is the most diverse region of the United States. Unlike the other regions of the United States, there is no majority race or ethnic group in Pacific America.
As of 2020, the 53 million residents of the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawai’i are estimated to be around:
- 41% White
- 28.5% Latinx
- 12.5 % Asian
- 12% Multiracial
- 4% Black
- 2% Native American or Pacific Islander
For comparison, The United States as a whole is around 61% White.
Pacific America crossed the “majority-minority” threshold long ago. That’s why it is the most progressive, left-leaning region in America — even states in the liberal Atlantic Northeast can seem somewhat repressive to someone from the West Coast.
There are exceptions to this trend, of course, and striking a balance between the deeply conservative rural parts of Pacific America and its far more progressive urban areas will ultimately determine the fate of our region.
If Pacific America were an independent country today it would look a lot more like Canada than the Plains, Ohio River, and Southeast regions. All four state governors out here are left-leaning Democrats. All eight senators are as well. Of the 70 House representatives in Pacific America’s delegation 55 are Democrats, 15 Republicans. All four state legislatures are entirely Democrat-controlled too, with the Republicans reduced to launching walkouts to stall legislation they dislike.
Universal healthcare, free college, climate change action, infrastructure investment —none of these would even be questions if Pacific America were free. The West Coast would have all the beneficial social and economic policies pioneered in Germany and Scandinavia coupled to fast-growing, youthful populations.
Republicans are effectively a third party out here, with unaffiliated voters making up a larger portion of the electorate these days — a trend that is accelerating. Which leaves conservative rural Pacific America without any effective representation, a poisonous situation that threatens to tear California, Oregon, and Washington apart just as it is destroying the rest of America.
This is why Pacific America must have political autonomy — that, plus plain simple common sense.
Like it or not, the focus of the global economy is permanently shifting to the Pacific Rim. Innovation and trade are the keys to prosperity, and that’s why Pacific America is already the richest region of America, with a $4.2 trillion economy — the world’s fourth largest, after Japan and ahead of Germany, the heart of Europe.
Only Atlantic America matches us in terms of per-person wealth, and it has had a two-century head start. Pacific America was effectively a colony of the eastern states until a century ago, the indigenous peoples of the West Coast almost completely wiped out by the rising tide of European settlers, beginning with the Spanish.
By 1941 and the start of America’s open involvement in the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of Europeans had joined tens if thousands of immigrants from Asia, particularly Japan and China, who built the railroads linking the Pacific to the rest of America and worked the plantations in Hawai’i. It was the Second World War that made Pacific America into a modern economic powerhouse — and brought a new wave of immigration.
Hundreds of ships were built in cities like Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles, bringing tens of thousands of Black workers to the yards. Migrants from Mexico and Central America were encouraged to travel north to do farm and forestry work.
With so many families short their sons and fathers as a result of military service, labor was in high demand. Women too were brought into the paid labor force, many staffing aircraft factories in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego that shipped out thousands of fighters and bombers to America and its allies.
And after the fighting in the Pacific was finally over, the soldiers came home to start new lives — some literally packed onto whatever ships were available and dropped off in West Coast ports. Pacific America soon attracted millions of American veterans and their new families — including my own grandparents on my dad’s side, one an aircrew veteran of the China-Burma-India campaigns and the other one of the first women to serve in the Marines.
The vast majority of Pacific Americans have only been here a few generations — particularly in California the population has exploded in the past eighty years. Drawn to the prosperity and natural beauty of this unique part of the world, Pacific America is now home to a sixth of all Americans and a fifth of the American economy.
Now, as the United States of America comes apart, Pacific America is a nation-in-waiting.
We have our own dialects of English — Hawai’i especially, global soft power emanating from Hollywood, digital innovations coming out of San Jose and Seattle almost too quickly for the world to handle. Our culture is rooted in chill with dash of weird and we happily welcome immigrants because hey — we’re pretty much all immigrants out here, so the more the merrier.
The weather is good whether you like rain or sun and we’ve got hella room — if, unfortunately, not enough housing people can actually afford, water shortages resulting as much from inefficient agriculture as drought, and wildfires from a lack of active forest management.
Like everywhere else, we’ve got problems. And we’d like to get on with fixing them, except our broken federal government is forever keeping us down.
With autonomy, Pacific America can be an shining example of how to do American democracy so much better.
It will work like this — all existing obligations and responsibilities now held by the federal government in DC get ported down to a new regional federal government. We’ll work out a common currency and allow citizens to travel freely and ally up if America is directly attacked, but other than that we take the Constitution and live our lives the Pacific American way.
Assuming the 2024 Presidential Election is the disaster we must expect it to be, early 2025 will likely be the point where the United States is manifestly no longer viable. The rest of that year should be spent in a transition state while preparations are made for the formal switch to autonomy come January 1, 2026.
A transitional government must work diligently to ensure normalcy throughout — taxes still get withheld as normal, social security payments go out on schedule — there are no service interruptions of any kind. Life has to go on for most people, most of the time, while officials work out an improved system of governing on their behalf.
But in full public view and with as much structured participation from voters and the media as possible, this transitional government consisting of elected officials from California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawai’i and the Pacific Territories will be tasked with designing a set of Constitutional Amendments for Pacific Americans to vote on in a special election held by the end of the year.
The transitional government will then become an interim government, and on the last day of 2025, all federal authority will be delegated to it.
Beginning in 2026, Washington D.C. and the other states will have no further role in deciding what interpretation of the Constitution Pacific Americans live under. We’ll handle foreign relations within our vital region — the Pacific — and begin working to address our most pressing crises.
Naturally, the devil will be in the details of working out what kind of fundamental reforms to the way the federal government works can achieve two equally vital objectives:
- Guarantee minority group rights, whether the group be defined by racial, ethnic, class, gender, or ideological values
- Function better than the existing federal government by updating Constitutional procedures to work better in the 21st century
For Pacific America to function, the rural-urban divide absolutely must be bridged. Vast contiguous chunks of Pacific America are deeply conservative and justifiably fear the extinction of their local cultures in a world where cosmopolitan cities dominate national politics.
The only way to satisfy their concerns is through applying the time-honored techniques of federalism and a government split into branches with strong checks and balances and separation of powers.
But not in quite the same way the United States does now, where a minority party can stalemate the entire system when it is out of power thanks to the way the Senate works and Presidents can fire off nuclear weapons if they go mad.
I favor the following model for Pacific America’s federal government:
The states will remain as they are, with the same powers they have under the Constitution.
The Pacific Federal Government will be administered across at least nine separate Federal Districts, each with substantial flexibility in implementing federal programs, with major urban areas distinct from more conservative rural ones:
The federal government will have four separate but linked branches — Legislative, Executive, Judicial, and Defense.
The Pacific Assembly will have 550 Speakers elected under multi-party parliamentary rules. Any party able to demonstrate better than 10% support in national polls will receive public funds in order to contest the next election.
Assembly elections will take place every three years, with parties awarded seats proportionally based on their success at the polls. A showing of better than 10% nationally entitles a party to at least 50 of the 500 open seats.
The other 50 Speaker seats will be reserved for members of First Nations and other historically marginalized groups to ensure their voices are always heard.
After the election, the largest party has seven days to establish a government either on its own or in combination with enough other parties to reach a majority of seats. If it fails, the next-largest has a turn, and so on.
Once complete, a government is formed, with the Assembly’s first vote being who will Chair it. The Chair of the Pacific Assembly is responsible for establishing a Cabinet to work with the Executive Branch to develop law and policy — the Head of Government and Pacific America’s public face to the rest of the world.
The Assembly’s primary powers will be:
- Setting tax rates
- Establishing types and levels of federal spending support
- Passing national laws and regulations
- Managing international relationships
- Major national programs
While the Legislative Branch sets tax rates and spending levels it will be up to the Executive Branch, the Pacific Council to actually allocate that money and administer federal programs according to the will of voters in each district.
The Pacific Council will be comprised of nine Councillors, one from each district, directly elected by voters every five years. No Councillor may serve more than three terms.
Each Councillor will be responsible for overseeing the activities of all federal agencies in their district. They will have substantial latitude to develop budgets that suit local needs. Each district will receive a per-person share of the federal budget to ensure federal spending is equitably spread.
The Pacific Assembly can of course authorize separate funding packages for particular projects programs, but most spending will be left to the discretion of each district.
Similarly, laws and regulations will to the degree possible be implemented locally, allowing flexibility between districts on social issues like gun rights.
Together the nine Councillors will meet regularly to resolve inter-district disputes. A super-majority of two-thirds of the Councillors will have the inherent right to override an individual district’s decisions in the interest of the nation if that proves necessary.
The Judiciary’s core job is ensuring everything the other branches do is in keeping with the Constitution.
One federal circuit court will serve each district. Each court will be sized in proportion to the local population, with Justices appointed by the district Councillor and confirmed by the Pacific Assembly. Appointments last fifteen years, and can be renewed twice with the assumption being they will be barring misconduct or incapacity.
For Constitutional-level matters a Supreme Court may be convened with one member from each districts. This ensures both regional balance and a rotation with random element to prevent any single group of individuals from having too of an impact on the institution.
A fourth branch of the federal government, the Defense Branch, will be formed by combining the military with other federal agencies responsible for national security like the CIA, FBI, and Coast Guard.
The Pacific Defense Forces will be overseen by a five-member Joint Chiefs of Staff comprised of one senior leader from each of the main departments— Land, Sea, Air, Domestic, and Intelligence — selected by the Chair of the Pacific Assembly and approved by a majority vote on the Executive Council.
The only portion of the government with a mandated budget — at 4% of national GDP, $165 billion annually as of 2020 — unlike a traditional national military the Pacific Defense Forces will function more like the Japanese Self-Defense Forces or German Bundeswehr, a term which translates to “people’s force” and was coined after the Second World War to describe the new West German military’s role in society.
The Pacific Defense Forces will be charged with protecting residents of Pacific America against all hazards, natural or human. This means they have to be ready to respond to periodic hazards like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions as well as climate disasters like wildfires and floods in addition to the threat posed by terrorists or foreign powers.
The Defense branch operates independently to perform tasks assigned by the Pacific Assembly as well as its standing mission to respond to any threats to the lives of Pacific American residents. Each federal district will be assigned the equivalent of a National Guard brigade with helicopter, drone, and aircraft support to guarantee swift and effective response in the event of a disaster that can be placed under the temporary control of a district Councillor or state governor as needed.
It will also be the responsibility of the Defense Forces to maintain direct and constant contact with democratic allies in the Pacific like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand to ensure their perpetual freedom as well as the security of Guam. Standing military forces will be maintained sufficient to deter any hostile action by China, Russia, North Korea, or any other foreign power.
Pacific America will not be isolationist. In fact, we’ll prove a far better and more reliable ally than the United States because we are part of the Pacific, our fortunes and very lives are bound to it more than they are the dying regime back east that still treats the Pacific as a colony. With undivided focus we can actually manage China’s power, not waste time and energy trying to contain it.
Better yet, our democracy, after these reforms, will be healthy again. This design gives rural conservatives what they demand of a federal government — nothing will stop a district from using federal revenues to give tax refunds if that is what the voters there really want.
It also gives urban progressives a chance to begin building the programs they need to live well and prosper. No side will have a shot at total power over any other, there will be no permanent majority or minority party thanks to the parliamentary style legislature.
Free the Pacific
Pacific America will be a better democracy by far than what Pacific Americans are forced to endure right now. And anyone who wants to come join our innovative project will be welcome — despite the wildfires and droughts and heatwaves in summer, Pacific America overall remains a climate refuge compared to much of the world.
The time has come for something better, a change to way American government is structured that is more in spirit with the nation’s history than the wreck we have today.
As America’s national collapse proceeds, we the people of Pacific America must begin to prepare for the very real possibility we will be effectively on our own by the middle of this decade.
Every indication points to a close 2024 Presidential Election triggering a massive Constitutional Crisis as key Red States move to give their state legislatures the right to award Electoral College Votes regardless of their state’s popular vote.
Even if the Supreme Court rules this to be Constitutional, the fact it too is now widely perceived as a partisan institution will trigger an instant legitimacy crisis.
The vast majority of people in California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawai’i will feel bitterly disenfranchised — again. After all, Pacific American voters made up almost the entire popular vote margin for the Democratic candidate in both of the last elections. In 2000 and 2016 we watched the person we voted for and who won the popular vote be kept from office by the archaic Electoral College.
And just imagine a world where George W. Bush was not President in 2001, or the Trump years hadn’t happened. How much have we lost of our lives thanks to the idiotic decisions of our federal government?
There is too much power in D.C. — the mere fact that China was afraid Trump would launch a strike as part of a desperate ploy to stay in power and is now rapidly building up its nuclear arsenal is a sign of the danger of letting D.C. insiders run the country.
They’ve already destroyed it — we now have to work out what can be saved or salvaged from the wreckage.
Here on the West Coast, our present and future prosperity depend as much on our trading partners across the Pacific as our increasingly estranged fellow Americans back east. Most of us hold different truths to be self-evident, express different social values, and embrace a diverse, pluralist vision for society.
And even if you couldn’t care less about any of this, consider the fact that our landscapes are very different than those you’ll find almost anywhere else — and climate change will impact Pacific America in distinct ways that require regional solutions.
It is plain simple common sense that Pacific America should have autonomy, be free to meet the challenges to come.
We’re different. We’re chill. We’re creative. We deserve to be free.
Given a chance, we’ll emerge as one of the world’s leading nations. A force for peace, democracy, and prosperity in this harsh, uncertain age of the world.
Embrace your identity, Pacific Americans, and demand what we deserve:
A better America on the Pacific.