The Jesusland map is an Internet meme, created shortly after the 2004 United States Presidential election, which satirizes the red/blue states scheme by dividing the United States and Canada into "The United States of Canada" and "Jesusland". The map implies the existence of a fundamental political divide between contiguous northern and southern regions of North America, the former including both the socially liberal Canada and the West Coast, northeastern, and north-Midwestern states of the USA, and suggests that these states are closer in spirit to Canada than to the more conservative regions of their own country. The Freakonomics blog opined that the map reflected the "despair, division, and bitterness" of the election campaign and results.
The original image was created on November 3, 2004 by G. Webb, a poster on yakat.org, an Internet message board for fans of the work of Jeff Minter. It quickly became an internet meme, which The New York Times described as an "instant Internet classic".
The meme is in the form of a map of the U.S. and Canada which depicts a new hypothetical national border between the two countries. The "blue states" from the 2004 election (New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, the Pacific coast, and the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) have been merged with Canada to form a single contiguous nation, which is labeled the "United States of Canada." The remaining "red states" are labeled as "Jesusland".
Similar maps give different labels to the geographically separated blue states. The northeastern states are alternately referred to as "Eastern Realitania", "Northeastistan", "Western France", "The New American Republic", or "New America"; the central blue states near the Great Lakes are labeled "Central Realitania" or "Minniwillinois"; and the blue states along the Pacific Coast are called "Western Realitania", "Pacificstan", "Southern Canada" or "Baja Canada" (with Hawaii being separately labeled "The Tropic of Canada"). Another has chosen the overall name "Realistan", and another has chosen "The United States of Liberty and Education". The red states in these variant maps are called "Jesusistan", "Redstateistan", "Redneckistan", the "United States of Evangelicals", or "the United State of Texas". Some maps purport to show a capital city of Crawford, Texas, the home of former U.S. President George W. Bush. One map shows Alaska as having been returned to Russia.
The Canadian province of Alberta, which has historically voted for the Conservative Party of Canada or its antecedents, is sometimes included in Jesusland and is contiguous with the continental U.S. "red" states.
A future polity entitled the "Republic of Northern America" is posited as a result of disenchantment and growing irritation between the Northern and Southern U.S. states, leading the former to seek a union with Canadian provinces.
In the context of the Jesusland map, the states in which a majority voted Democratic in the 2004 election are viewed as more socially liberal in outlook, and therefore having more cultural similarities with Canada than with the remainder of the United States. The Republican-voting red states tended to vote based more on socially conservative positions commonly associated with religious beliefs, such as opposition to same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research. Holders of these values are characterized by a high degree of faith in Evangelical Christianity, thus causing the name of Jesus to be affixed to the hypothetical country; in an article by Ron Suskind of the New York Times, a Republican official characterized the divide as being one between a "faith-based community" and a "reality-based community".
The gap is seen as stark enough that some Democratic bloggers have sarcastically or semi-seriously advocated secession, while some on the Republican side (such as Mike Thompson, a past chairman of the Florida American Conservative Union) suggested that the federal government expel twelve blue states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
In 2008, Nebraska's 2nd congressional district (NE2) and several of the states that had given their vote to Bush in 2004 - Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia - gave their votes to the Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Four of these states (Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina) and NE-2 had no border with any of the 2004 blue states.
The type of electoral map seen in 2004 was at the time historically unusual: the last three occasions on which a major party's votes occupied a continuous region with no 'holes' were 1980, 1940, and 1936. None were nearly as close as the 2004 election, in which a Democratic victory in Ohio or some combinations of Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa and Colorado would have won them the presidency. Bush's two election victories were the first Republican victories in history to occur without the votes of a single West Coast state or the New England state of Vermont.
Following the 2012 election, the area described as Jesusland is fully contiguous having all Republican states, except for the state of Alaska, being adjacent to each other in terms of the presidential electoral map. All states lying outside of the area are adjacent to one another, Canada, Mexico, and/or coastal waters.
In popular culture
- "Leaving Jesusland" is a song by the American punk band NOFX. It is the eighth track on their album Wolves in Wolves' Clothing.
- "Jesusland," Ben Folds's second single from his album Songs for Silverman
- In his sci-fi novel Black Man ("Thirteen" in the U.S.), Richard K. Morgan develops the idea in a hypothetical society based in the year 2107.
- The TV Funhouse sketch titled "Blue Christmas" (aired on December 18, 2004) satirizes the conservative majority vote by showing Santa Claus skipping the red states on his delivery route and shows Rudolph a map similar to the Jesusland map, with the red states referred to as "Dumbfuckistan".
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- Matt Bai (November 19, 2006). "The Last 20th-Century Election?". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 13 December 2009. "Since Bush’s disputed victory in 2000, many liberals have been increasingly brazen about their disdain for the rural and religious voters; one popular e-mail message, which landed in thousands of Democratic in-boxes in the days after the 2004 election, separated North America into “The United States of Canada” and “Jesusland.”"
- Mengisen, Annika (November 9, 2009). "Maps: Fighting Disease and Skewing Borders". Freakonomics blog, from The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- the original discussion)
- Jack Hitt (December 12, 2004). "Neo-Secessionism". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 13 December 2009. "A proposed map showing the United States of Canada just above JesusLand has become an instant Internet classic."
- Muslim WakeUp! A Possible Solution to US Electoral Problems[dead link]
- "Alberta: NDP ends Tory dominance". Nationalpost.com. 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Kelly, Stéphane. "The Republic of Northern America." Toronto Star; Opinion (Canada 2020). 26 December 2006.
- "Exit poll - Decision 2004 - MSNBC.com". MSNBC. 2004-10-27. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "Weblog: 'Moral Values' Carry Bush to Victory | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Suskind, Ron (2004-10-17). "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
- "Human Events". Humaneventsonline.com. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "2012 Presidential Election". Politico.com. Retrieved 2012-11-07.