Make UK the 51st state

Updated 7:49 PM EDT, Wed June 29, 2016
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Story highlights

David Wheeler: Don't freak out about Brexit; it's not the worst thing. Why not see it as opportunity for UK to become 51st state?

Call it a 'Brentrance,' he says, with many benefits: EU would have 50 states for trade, less regulation, easier travel

Wheeler: Plus, Americans LOVE the British, especially when they talk

Editor’s Note: David R. Wheeler is a freelance writer and a journalism professor at the University of Tampa. Follow him on Twitter: @David_R_Wheeler. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) —  

Can we all just calm down for a second? Can we stop making a tempest in a Twinings teapot? Yes, with the “Brexit” vote, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. Yes, the British pound lost value as a result of this news. Yes, world markets fell in response to this uncertainty.

But you know what? Currencies rise and fall. Stocks go up and down. This is not a self-inflicted London Blitz. It’s not a repeat of the worldwide depression of the 1930s, when Britain’s industrial production fell by 16.2 percent. Nor is it a crisis on par with April 10, 1970, when Paul McCartney announced his solo album, signaling the breakup of The Beatles.

David R. Wheeler
PHOTO: David R. Wheeler
David R. Wheeler

Let’s understand this moment for what it really is: an opportunity for the United Kingdom to become the 51st state of America.

The EU’s loss is our gain. Call it the “Brentrance.”

As King George once said (at least in Broadway’s Hamilton), “Oceans rise, empires fall / We have seen each other through it all.” Isn’t it time we joined forces again?

There are four irresistible reasons why the UK should join in a permanent political and monetary union with the United States.

PHOTO: alberto mier/cnn

First, there’s trade. Why was the UK an EU member in the first place? It wanted easy access to a huge trading bloc — the biggest in the world. However, U.S. GDP is only slightly below the EU’s economic output. We’re No. 2! In fact, by some estimates, California by itself is the world’s eighth-largest economy.

Second, there’s regulation. The Brits were sick and tired of being told how curvy bananas could be and whether eggs could be sold by the dozen. But by becoming the 51st state, the Brits would get no-fuss trading with all other U.S. states, without the pesky regulations. We’re so lax about regulation, we let kids eat mac and cheese with Yellow Dye No. 5 and No. 6 — both banned in Europe!

Third, there’s travel. Sure, as EU members, Brits have been able to get into the fast lane at European airports, making it practically effortless to see the Parthenon in Greece or the Colosseum in Rome. But do they know there’s a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee? And did they forget about the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which has been called “the greatest stadium in the world” by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum website?

And speaking of travel, let me say this to the Brits: Do you have any idea how easy it will be at American airports when you have a U.S. passport? Do you have any idea how much faster the verbal abuse will go by when you’re American? The last time I traveled and was mocked by airport security for not knowing how many ounces my travel-size mouthwash could be, I thought to myself, “This would surely take much longer if I weren’t a U.S. citizen.”

Fourth, there’s the overwhelming embrace Americans would give the Brits. We love everything the Brits do, everything the Brits make, and everything the Brits say (or at least the way they say it). I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum, and there’s one thing they all agree on: The UK is awesome. From Shakespeare to Sherlock, from the Royal Albert Hall to the royal family. And speaking of the “royals,” Queen Elizabeth II and company could simply merge with America’s royal family — the Kardashians. They have about the same power over the government, and they’re just as much fun to photograph.

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David R. Wheeler is a freelance writer and a journalism professor at the University of Tampa. Follow him on Twitter: @David_R_Wheeler. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.