United States of Equality

by Jeremy

Hello, 11Ders! Glad to be here and thanks to Laura for the invite. I have been getting into geographic analyses lately, which is to say I frequently bang my head against the software and read some cartoblogs. A recent one moved my origins around: apparently, now I was born in St. Croix, grew up in Green Bay, and ended up in Jersey?

I love this creative cartography stuff. From Fakeisthenewreal, via Cartophiliac, the above map redraws states as an analogy to congressional districts with their equal population by law. Additionally, they seem to try to save the "communities of interest" argument. I don't agree that "it's obvious that reforms are needed" for the good ol' EC, but with the fun naming you have one clever map. Are you hypothetically displaced? Do you like your new hypothetical state's name, or would you propose another?


25 thoughts on “United States of Equality

  1. Willamette’s fine with me…except mostly people who aren’t from here don’t pronounce it correctly. It’s Wil-LAM-it, not Wila-MET.

  2. A riff, I see, on Joel Garreau’s “Nine Nations of North America.” Missing, IMHO, is the N-S cultural/religious split between coastal Louisiana, Miss & Alabama, as well as E-W split/divide between coastal Oregon & Wash and the interior which tends much more topographically and culturally speaking to Idaho, Northwestern Nev. Missouri is perfect, being, like NPR’s Bob Edwards once said of Louisville (of which he was a native) :”Louisville is neither especially Midwestern nor especially southern–but especially neither.” Mizzou is a midwestern state to the “Deep South”, a southern or southwestern state to the upper mid-west, and a western state to the east coast. And of course it has it’s own internal N-S cultural split–as do Illinois,Indiana & Ohio.
    Conspicuous by it’s absence is the “Grits Line” (defined as where, if one enters a cafe for breakfast and orders eggs w.o specifying hash browns or grits, one will automatically be served grits south of the line–hash browns above it) which runs roughly from Wash, D.C WNW thru southern W. Va., a strip of southern Ohio along the Ohio R, thru the bottom 1/4 of Indiana, bending northward to encompass the southern half of Illinois before diving down bisecting Missouri and Ark entering Texas on a Ne to SW arc ending approx at Del Rio, Texas. GOT to always inclu the Grits Line!

  3. The “SF Bay” might be better identified as Costanoan or Ohlone or Miwok or Miwok-Ohlone (hard to tell from the map).
    I have always livedin Ohlone…
    It is an amusing concept, if totally outside the realm of reality.

  4. virgil re: the “grits line”. I’m from Illinois, and was always told it was the “route” line—north of it, the word is pronounced “root” and south of it, it’s pronounced “rout”. Grits are generally not served in Illinois, unless it’s a chain restaurant with a buffet, or the restaurant has a specific southern theme (or featured southern dish). Even in Cairo, it’s still potatoes, though what kind of potatoes (hash browns, country fries, home fries) is still up to the customer. I’ve been to a lot of mom-and-pop diners, and I’ve never seen grits on the menu. I think “biscuits vs. rolls” is the more accurate measure. 😉
    (then again, what do I know? I’m Sicilian. We eat bread, and avoid the biscuit/roll argument entirely! 😉

  5. I lived in Durham, NC for quite some time and was never automatically served grits at breaksfast.
    The new state map sucks. How would football work with Nebraska, Iowa, and Iowa State in the same state? High Plains, High Plains State and High Plains A & M?

  6. Heh. I know there would be a lot of Illinois residents pissed that they were now living in a new state, “Wabash”, instead of “Lincoln.” The eastern part of Illinois does not identify with Indiana (as evidenced by the frequency that the adjective “fucking” precedes the noun “Hoosiers”).
    How much of that has to do with football and/or basketball rivalry, I’m not sure. 😉

  7. I do think Pittsburgh would do much better as the main city in Allegheny than its current position as a second class city in PA. Philly gets all the nice stuff (i.e. trains not buses).

  8. Obviously, a lot of the devil would be in the details of drawing the lines, but off the top of my head, it doesn’t look like equal population states would change the partisan complexion of the Senate all that much. The Plains would lose some senators, but so would New England, so that pretty much of a wash. New York State would gain some, but the new ones would be from upstate, where the parties are pretty even. Etc.
    Given that nothing like this is going to happen, I really don’t recommend that anyone spend more time on analyzing this than I have.

  9. Vo-Cal? Also, calling the parts of Mississippi and Alabama that are not near the mouth of the Mississippi the state of “Delta” seems unnecessarily confusing.

  10. Mississippi near Greenville is known as the Delta, for various historic and geological reasons. The Delta runs probably from just north of Vicksburg up to Memphis, though how far east I’d be hard pressed to say.
    Aha. A quick check of the Infallible Wikipedia(tm) has the Delta as the shared flood plain of the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers. Makes sense. So in very rough terms, between I-55 and the river. Hence Marc Cohn touching down in the land of the Delta blues, when he lands in Memphis.
    It would make sense to have Memphis as the capital of a Delta state. I’m not so sure about having Delta-land run all the way up to about Jackson, TN. On the other hand, the Grand Division of West Tennessee does have some cultural and historical commonality. Hm.
    I wonder whether western Arkansas and eastern Kansas have all that much in common. What about an Ozark state with either Branson or Bentonville as the capital?
    Comments somewhere made a point about southern LA not being at all like northern LA. Maybe Tombigbee should be landlocked with a state (Mardi Grass, after the coastal vegetation, of course) encompassing all of Spanish West Florida and thence westward roughly south of I-20 to the Sabine river.
    As for High Plains football, who cares? Can they beat any good team from the SEC?

  11. Comments somewhere made a point about southern LA not being at all like northern LA.
    In other places, the problem may be that the places are too much alike. I’m not sure Pittsburgh wants to be reminded that it is basically “Wheeling with nicer buildings and a marginally better de-industrialization plan.”

  12. The geographers and the economists and the historians would beg to differ with the orientation of Iowa to the west. It is neither a plains state nor remotely severable from Chicago.

  13. I guess I’d consider both Iowa and Illinois (and Indiana) to be plains states. Though I do think they are fundamentally different from the bulk (territory-wise) of Nebraska and the Dakotas. The “West” starts somewhere 50 to 100 miles from the Iowa boarder. Population-wise, nearly all of Nebraska lives on the Iowa side of whatever line you want to call the start of the west.
    Of course, western-central Iowa is basically a down-market suburb of Omaha.

  14. I guess I’d consider both Iowa and Illinois (and Indiana) to be plains states.
    Why is that, MH? I ask because (a) I’ve never met anyone from Illinois or Indiana who felt that way, and (b) I’ve never met anyone from an indisputable plains state who felt that way, either. Iowa—that’s a gray area. I see both Illinois and Indiana as having more of an industrial history, and being culturally different from the plains states due to immigration patterns. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  15. Because they are really flat and, outside the cities, mostly agricultural. I’d always used the “great plains” and the “places where most land is used to grow corn*” as nearly synonymous. But, Wikipedia doesn’t agree with me. Perhaps I’ve conflated ‘plains’ with ‘prairie’ or something.
    *i.e. as opposed to wheat or pastureland.

  16. O.K. I’ve finished my research. Apparently, what I had been calling the Great Plains, Wikipedia calls the Midwest. For “Great Plains,” Wikipedia’s first citation is from UNL and I have to assume that people at UNL are familiar enough with Iowa* to know if it is or isn’t in the Great Plains and they say it isn’t.
    In my defense, I do know that penultimate is the thing before the last thing and not the last thing.
    * The closest casino is in Iowa.

  17. Because they are really flat and, outside the cities, mostly agricultural.
    Ahh, that’s the disconnect for me. See, from my perspective, outside of Chicago, it isn’t mostly agricultural. The smaller cities of Illinois (Peoria, Rockford, Decatur, Springfield, Danville, Bloomington, the Metro-East, etc.) I think of as far more industrial than agricultural. Cities of 15,000 or more tend to have more smokestacks than silos. That industrial work created a different population base (and a different culture)than what you see in the Great Plains (on the other side of the Missisippi).
    Or, put it this way—I think of Illinois as having far more in common with place like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania….even New Jersey, than with Iowa, Nebraska, or the Dakotas. I know when I visit rust belt places to the east, I feel “at home”, and when I travel to the plains states to the west, I feel like I’m almost in a foreign country. Illinois and Indiana are definitely part of the rust belt; Iowa isn’t.

  18. The British got really sloppy during the drafting of the Treaty of Paris leading to the famous struggle over whether or not Gujarat could become part of the United States.

  19. Actually, I’ve heard some people call Pittsburgh a ‘Midwestern’ city. It isn’t a very common assertion, for obvious reasons, but I suppose that it is because Pittsburgh gets lumped into the Rust Belt, most of which is midwestern. Pennsylvania as a whole is clearly not midwestern, but Pittsburgh is also clearly not in the same zone or whatever as Philly. Sure, George Washington spent time in both places, but Pittsburgh was not a city in colonial times.

  20. but I suppose that it is because Pittsburgh gets lumped into the Rust Belt, most of which is midwestern. Pennsylvania as a whole is clearly not midwestern, but Pittsburgh is also clearly not in the same zone or whatever as Philly.
    Yeah…I can see that. “Midwestern” is a broad descriptive. I’m a lifelong midwesterner, and when I hear the term I immediately flash on: smokestacks, railroads, rivers, bridges, barges, factories, large communities of Southern and/or Eastern Europeans, big Catholic churches, busy highways with lots of semi-trailers, big street festivals (think: Chicago Bluesfest and the like), etc. I think of that stuff even before I think of the fields of corn and soybeans I drive by, mostly because I think of the people here….our culture, how we earn our living. Although agriculture is an important part of the economy, only a small portion of the population is employed by that sector. So, my default for “midwestern” is distinctly urban.
    It’s been my experience that folks who live on either coast have different imagery come to mind when they consider the midwest, especially if they’ve never been here.
    Maybe Pittsburgh gets that tag because the population and economy is similar to the rest of the Rust Belt—a “Great Lakes” thing. To me, that’s the big dividing line in all the states that comprise “The Midwest”.

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