Let’s face it – there is an overabundance of states in the USA. According to the completely unscientific survey known as Sporcle, less than half of people can name all the states even if they’re given a map. This is generally considered to be a grave embarrassment and an example of why Americans are falling behind in education, but let’s face it: It is really hard to remember fifty names at once. Heck, most people can’t even name all their classmates in a normal English class, so why are we forcing people to remember places that they will probably never visit in the first place?
The solution, of course, is to reduce the number of states. There are two main ways to go about it: You could simply merge states together, or you could remove them from the Union in one way or another. The former would be more applicable in cases where the land is valuable for the nation, and would result in no loss of territory. On the other hand, it would be much quicker to sign a law saying that so-and-so state is not part of the United States any longer. While there would be some economic repercussions, if the states affected were of little value, then not much will be missed.
Obviously, there are several ways to go about this. Some are complete nonsensical – make California and Florida their own countries, for example. While it would do a good job of getting rid of some of the crazier folk, it would mean everyone would have to obtain a visa if they wanted to go to a warm beach. (Though, to be fair, Americans do need to travel outside the country more often, so maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.) Rather, one should take great care in deciding what states to change, as otherwise disastrous results would occur.
First off, how many of you have heard of anything coming out of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, or Idaho? No hands? That’s because nothing actually happens there. I wouldn’t be surprised if these states were created for the sole purpose of putting a nice, round number of stars on the flag. So, obviously, they are the first to go. That’s five down already.
Meanwhile, we should consider what one of the original purposes of this was – to make sure that young Americans everywhere aren’t completely confused by a complicated compendium of cartography. So, in order to take care of that, simply merge some of the problem states. Kentucky and Tennessee? You can’t mix them up if they’re just one entity. Same with Alabama and Mississippi, or Nebraska and Kansas, or Washington and Oregon, or Arizona and New Mexico, or Indiana and Illinois. Furthermore, there has always been issues with people muddling up North and South Carolina, so you might as well combine them too. In fact, Greenville, North Carolina has a law stating that it is not the city’s responsibility if someone confuses the place with its South Carolinian neighbor. Right there, we have reduced the number of states by seven without having to give up any land to foreign countries.
Then, you have to give something to the map-makers. After all, they are the ones who will have to present the revisions to the general public, and they should get some sort of reprieve for their hard work. So, for example, get rid of all those small states by merging together the ones east of New York into an entity that’s of a reasonable size. Same goes for Delaware – make it a part of Maryland. In addition, it’s never nice to deal with insets – those boxes that contain Alaska and Hawaii. Normally, I would recommend nixing both, but then we wouldn’t be able to make fun of Alaska anymore, and plus, they have lots of oil.
It sounds good and all, but this leaves us with 31 states. This is not dandy, as that would cause a weird flag design, and that just can’t happen. In this case, it’s probably the best option to get rid of West Virginia. While it does leave an unsightly hole in the middle of the country, there is the advantage that they probably won’t actually notice for about ten years.
So here you have it – a United States of America, just as good, with only 30 states. I urge you to inform your congressman of this ingenious plan, provided that he doesn’t represent, say, South Dakota.