After the conclusion of the American Civil War, a four-year crisis that cost the country 620,000 men, devastated the economy, and even went so far as to disrupt the construction of the gaudy ego-stroker that was the partially completed Washington Monument, the Supreme Court ruled in the 1869 case Texas v. White that the secession of states was illegal. Texas’ 1861 ordinance of secession was “absolutely null,” read the 5–3 decision. “The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.” Never again would any state be allowed to wave a cheery, musketed farewell to baffled statesmen in the Capitol: The 34 states and the 16 to follow would forever be tied by zigzagging borders to alabaster cities and amber waves of grain. There would be no more secession.
What was not introduced in 1869, however, was a law forbidding the expulsion of states. Apart from the term “indestructible Union,” which to an omnipotent governmental body is of little real importance, there exists in the law books of the United States no restriction on forced severance of a state, of the casting off of a district deemed useless or problematic or otherwise unfit to be a United State any longer. It must be inferred, then, that to this day the government has consciously retained this crucial right to defend itself internally if ever there should come a time that it deemed proper to do so.
And that time has come. On January 3, Iowans took part in a much anticipated, carefully watched, and politically explosive caucus. The results infected newspapers and television networks with the strength and speed of a particularly rank fungus. Among Democrats, Senator Barack Obama finished with 38 percent of the vote and an eight-point lead, while the Republicans, pouring out in record numbers from grayish Iowa homes, hurled their support at Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, giving him a 9-point—or 5-delegate—lead over everyone’s favorite wallet-happy Mormon, Mitt Romney. To do this, over 74 of the state’s 99 counties had to express their preference for the slow-witted Huckabee, who himself was fresh from a blissfully uninformed visit to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in the midst of a writers’ strike. Some 40,841 Iowans curled up in their beds later that chilly Thursday evening, warm and fuzzy inside with the knowledge that they had significantly advanced the next great idiot’s chance at a missile-equipped spot in the White House.
While Huckabee still faces significant odds, Iowa spoke up in its slightly starchy voice that is listened to only once every four years and informed the nation in no uncertain terms that it likes Mike. And that, unfortunately for Iowans everywhere, is grounds enough for removal from the United States.
It is truly regrettable. After all, only 339,000 people of Iowa’s nearly three million citizens took part in the caucus, and it is very much a shame that 40,841 people could ruin the lives—or at least the nationalities and healthcare benefits—of so many others. But those 40,841 residents are not isolated. They live north, east, south, and west inside Iowa’s borders. They have spread like a poison—or, indeed, like a rank fungus—across the state, and though they may not yet have contaminated the at least 298,000 anti-Huckabee voters with their gangrenous pus, the 2,643,000 or so Iowans who did not vote at all are entirely questionable. And where mightn’t they spread once they’ve completed their conquest of the Hawkeye State? The entire nation is in the grips of a horrible peril, and the 49 other shaken pieces, give or take Arkansas, must be salvaged.
The best course of action at this point is to act swiftly and decisively. All Iowans must be immediately relieved of their citizenship, their representatives of their positions, and their roads of their American access. A wall much like that propped against our friendly Mexican neighbors must be immediately installed where Iowa strokes with contaminated fingers the noble states of South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and our own Illinois. Those Iowans valuing their American-ness over their defamed Iowan-ness may apply for citizenship, but only those who pass the citizenship test—I propose a modified one with a simple IQ examination rather than the historical version offered to other foreigners—may be allowed back into the country. The rest of the Iowan populace must bumble and rot in its own putrid ways.
It is conceivable, of course, to ponder expelling not Iowa but the Iowans who ceded any rights that they once had to call themselves Americans. The land that Iowans call their own is still useful even if its inhabitants aren’t. Iowa is a major producer of pork, corn, soybeans, and eggs, and last year its gross domestic product totaled $123.97 million. It is tempting, then, to consider seizing this agriculturally (if not so much anthropologically) fertile land, and ridding it, too, of Iowans. History, however, has shown this method of expulsion to be, by and large, rather problematic—the Trail of Tears and the partition of India, for instance. And while any possible merits of such a harsh course of action linger in obscurity (for it is not for me to explore them), these events tend not to be looked up on favorably in history books and the like.
The solution is simple and urgent. Iowa is rising like a great swollen plague, and only expulsion can save us now.