Wednesday, November 14, 2012

If at first you do not secede, try, try again ...

Nearly a week has passed since Election Day and if one trend can be identified from last Tuesday, it would be this:  America is moving in a more liberal direction.  Whether that trend is good for the country is debatable.

President Obama won re-election with 332 vote in the Electoral College, while Romney tallied 206.  Romney failed to win any of the ten key battleground states needed to tip the election in his favor.

Recreation marijuana found approval in Colorado and Washington, while Oregon voted down the idea.  Same-sex marriage was approved in Maine, Maryland, and Washington.  Wisconsin elected the first openly gay member of the United States Senate.  Democrats gained seats in both houses of Congress.

Democrats whipped the GOP in 2012.  If you're a conservative, you must be disappointed.

Since the election, the nation has seemingly turned on its head.  In response to the leftward turn of the nation, residents from 40 states have filed on-line petitions for secession with the White House's website.  Yes, you read that correctly:  secession.  As in withdrawing from the Unions.

The number of people signing these on-line petitions makes up less than 1% of the population, so let's dispense with what should be obvious to everyone:  no state is leaving the Union, which cannot be dissolved.  Once a state joins the Union, it's akin to joining the mafia -- you're in for life.

Supreme Court Justice Salmon Chase wrote about the perpetual nature of the Union:
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to 'be perpetual.' And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?

History demonstrated precisely what happened when states attempted to forcibly leave the Union.  The issue had to be decided through bloodshed.  Secession didn't work out well then and Southerners still celebrate their Quixotic effort. 

Perhaps these citizens who wish to secede haven't thought this concept of secession through to its natural conclusion.  What would it mean for most states if they were permitted to secede and truly be independent? 

Advocates of secession only think about the positives -- freedom from the federal government, true sovereignty, no federal taxes, and no more national debt.  However, what would the potential down side be?

  • No more protection from the world's strongest and most well equipped fighting force.
  • Potentially long period of time before receiving official recognition from the international community.
  • A huge loss in funding that a state would no longer receive in the form of federal grants, which many smaller states rely on for completing key tasks such as education and infrastructure development.
  • An economy that would most likely struggle thanks to a relatively small industrial base, and potential trade restrictions implemented by an angry United States government.
  • A weak international credit rating, the need for a new currency, and prayers that the market would generate a solid exchange rate.
  • Being surrounded (and for most states, landlocked) by a nation hostile to your intentions
  • A sizable loss in population from loyal Americans not wishing to be party to secession.

Apparently, secessionists forgot to remind angry citizens about the problems endured by Southern states in the War of the Rebellion.  From 1861-1865, the Confederacy experienced great hardship because of an angry America, no international recognition, a highly successful naval blockade and terrible inflation.  And that was endured by a block of states with more grit and determination than today's secessionist 'wanna-bes'. 

The realities of life without the federal government are lost in this grandiose romanticism of rebellion against authority. 

Furthermore, the talk about secession includes an attempt to hearken back to America's Revolutionary era, as if the federal government is some sort of modern day George III.  Critics of the government want to invoke the Declaration of Independence in attempting to legitimize what really amounts to the threat of open rebellion.  While flouting the catch phrase --  "... Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness ...", secession advocates overlooked a key sentence in the Declaration, which notes, "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes ..." 

To compare the American Revolution to this nation's current problems is nothing short of foolish.  What "long train of abuses" have states suffered?  What cause do they bring for wanting to withdraw from the Union?  The answer is relatively simple:  we lost the election.

When an election or issue is decided not in your favor, Americans do not threaten to leave the Union.  They don't suggest a civil war could be brewing.  They work within the constructs of our governmental system to bring about change in a peaceful and lawful manner.  

1 comment:

  1. I've been saying this ever since Election day. Secession will do nothing to benefit these states. What this country needs is for everyone to work together to bring this nation to the glory it once was.