If at first you don’t secede, don’t try again

The Confederate flag has recently regained its prominence as the patron symbol of secession in the wake of petitions to secede from citizens of every state.
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In the weeks following President Barack Obama’s re-election, conservative citizens across the country upset with Obama’s victory have been looking for alternatives rather than en

dure another term under a Democratic administration.

But a radical petition originating from Texas to secede from the United States has led to the spread of secession fever across all 50 states, with considerably more than a million signatures received already.

Anyone with a political science or history degree will tell you a state or nation’s reasons for secession are pretty standard throughout history: resentment from the people on the level of power being exercised by their government.

But if you were to ask them if secession could be considered a legitimate option in our scenario, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a satisfactory answer justifying it.

None of this secessionist folly will amount to anything. These petitions are nothing more than blatant acts of infantile behavior by conservative-minded voters drowning their sorrows in the wake of an unfavorable political status quo. And I’ll bet most of the petitioners aren’t dead serious about wanting to secede, either.

Before I go any further, let me remind anyone now intrigued by the prospect of seceding that the laws of our land do not afford the right of secession to any U.S. state, no matter how broadly you care to interpret the Constitution. This statute was established by the Supreme Court following the Civil War in 1868 in the landmark case of Texas v. White.

Furthermore, hardly any of these petitions have addressed solutions for the messier details if their states’ efforts were to succeed. Issues like the termination of United States defense contracts, the establishment of new interstate (or in this case, international) trade regulations and industrial markets or establishing their own declarations outlining the basic rights of citizens within the territory.

It’s an intriguing prospect, though. But let’s be real here: Are things so terrible in this country that secession is the only answer? No. Even despite the gross polarization of our democracy and current economic turmoil, change is still within our power. So if all hope is not lost, why consider seceding? The answer is simple: There is no logical reason.

And while I believe the threats to be mere bluffs, there remains a sinister aspect to these secessionist sentiments. Most secession movements, as previously noted, are rooted in widespread public discontent and an ideological disconnect from those around them.

This growing psychological discontent is perhaps best explained in conservative political commentator Patrick Buchanan’s book “Suicide of a Superstate.”

Buchanan wrote: “In America today, the secession that is taking place is a secession from one another, a secession of the heart.” Buchanan then goes on to describe the cultural detachment that is responsible for Americans being alienated from one another.

Here exists the danger in these separatist sentiments: They are finally exposing the seething underbelly of the American populace.

They reflect the deterioration of the United States into increasingly disillusioned communities.

But most of all, they reflect the lengths that Americans are willing to consider just because they didn’t get their way.

And it shows clearly that the United States is still full of citizens who are ignorant of our history, purpose and our promise.

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  • Republican

    Not a comment, merely a question here. What weight would the Constitution hold in a case for secession if the states trying to leave no longer choose to observe the current Constitution. It might not be legal, but if the situation in the country really reached a point where states felt the need to seperate, what is really going to stop them?

  • Austin Pederson

    “And it shows clearly that the United States is still full of citizens who are ignorant of our history, purpose and our promise.” The author of this article is clearly ignorant of our history. This country was founded on secession when the colonists seceded from the British. They saw that Britain was being destructive of their liberties and decided to do something about it. It was written in the Declaration of Independence, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness), it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”. That is what the colonists did. They rejected their government and established a completely new one. If they had thought the same way this author does, we might be calling Elizabeth II our queen right now. People in this country upset with our oppressive government should consider the path the Founding Fathers took and the advise they left us with.
    “The answer to 1984 is 1776″

    • Dan Quackenbush

      “The author of this article is clearly ignorant of our history.”Actually, no. I am very much aware of the history of the United States and the role that secession played in the foundation of this country, which is why I find it so incredibly amusing how you blatantly missed the point of this column. And in no way am I a closet elitist or a closet Loyalist who thinks the Queen should rule the United States.

      The point was to illustrate the need for Americans to recognize the danger in the current polarization of our democracy and what these petitions signify. Essentially, I am in favor of saving and restoring the democracy you indicated the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us, not splintering it into 50 pieces and casting it to the wind.

      “They saw that Britain was being destructive of their liberties and decided to do something about it. It was written in the Declaration of Independence, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness), it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”…. So you’re claiming that the rationale used by the United States to secede from an oppressive foreign power in 1776 is applicable here because of an apparent gross denial of civil liberties to Americans? Interesting. Because I am curious to know what civil liberties are currently being grossly violated and denied to Americans to where secession has become the only logical and progressive option?

      • Austin Pederson

        As for examples of assaults of liberty, the searches and arrests of
        innocent people as a result of the Patriot Act and the actions taken by
        the TSA are good places to start. Now these problems, as well as many
        others, COULD be solved without secession – simply vote the tyrants who
        want these things out of office. The problem? Most Americans lack the
        initiative to rebel (by voting) against the establishment that the
        national media lays out in front of them, probably because they spend
        their time watching TV and not doing their own research. So what
        options are liberty-loving people like me left with? Well, we can try to
        wake people up, and I do try that as much as possible. But if they
        won’t wake up, we can still justly declare our independence of
        tyrannical government.
        Also, I still don’t understand how you can possibly say that people who may support secession are “ignorant” of our history.

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