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After seven years living in North Carolina I made my stand about the Civil War: the South was wrong about the slaves but may have been onto something about the politics.

What I meant was that many of the fights about politics in the United States today come from the country simply being too big to be manageable. The language about Washington, D.C., being “broken” and needing to be “fixed” seems to me to come from the wrong semantic field; we’re not talking about a plumbing issue—it’s more like obesity. The vital organs of the capital are under major pressure servicing a body that’s just too large. I thought North Carolina was a nice size for a country. It had mountains and coastline, rural areas and cities, and a diverse population of a tidy 10 million. That was plenty.


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