Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ugly Truths About Secession

Once upon a time, there was a really close baseball game. Extra innings. Tied for eternity. Then one team got a base hit, and it was just enough for them to score.

Some people on the losing team groaned, but they shook the hands of the winning team, and talked with each other about training harder for the next game. But one little boy could no contain his anger. He grabbed his glove and his bat, and charged off the field.

The little boy climbed a hill near the field. He stood at the top and yelled, "I don't want to play anymore. I'm taking my stuff, and I'm going home. I really mean it this time."

The rest of the players drifted away, heading to their respective homes and separate lives. The little boy remained on the hill, shouting.

"I mean it! I'm going home, and I'll never play with any of you ever, ever again!"

Oh, wait, that wasn't a baseball game. That was reaction to a presidential election.

I understand that half the country didn't get the president they voted for. But talking of secession, of leaving the United States, benefits no one.

There are two reasons an individual would petition for secession. One, they want to send Washington / the president a message. Two, they really want to secede.

To the first group of people: Stop it. You're making yourselves look ridiculous, and you're wasting energy. Do you really think the president cares if you voted for him or not, or how angry you still are today? He doesn't give a damn. You could get five million signatures for secession and he wouldn't care. If the president were the sort of person who listened to your concerns and cared about ending divisiveness, you wouldn't be protesting in the first place. So cut it out. You're not helping a cause. You're looking foolish, and wasting time and energy.

Also, if you're doing this just to make a point, it's an empty gesture. Don't pull this kind of crap unless you mean it. You're like the little boy after the baseball game, telling all the other kids you won't play with them again. When you do show up for the next game, the other kids will mock the hell out of you...and you'll deserve it.

To the people who genuinely want to secede from the United States: find your passport, pack a bag, and leave. That's the only way your plan is going to work.

The big court case on point is Texas v. White, 74 US 700 (1869). The legal issue in the case was whether or not Texas remained part of the US following the Civil War, since Texas seceded from the the US to join the Confederacy.

Here's the chunk of language from the case modern secessionists must confront:

When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

(bolding and underlining done by this author, for emphasis)

So, if you want your state to secede, you've got a couple of options. One, revolution. You need a military for that, a military that can successfully take on the US Military. Not likely. Also, there's the whole thing of people dying at the hands of their fellow countrymen. We did it once; let's not have a repeat. If the ghosts of your Civil War era ancestors could weigh in on this issue, they'd bop you over the head, because they know what a bad idea this is.

Option number two for secession: consent of the States. This is the one that has people petitioning. Does this option have a real likelihood of success? No. For one thing, the other states aren't likely to agree to any state leaving. Second, you'd have to hold a state vote on secession. And I gotta tell you, even states that went red for the presidential election aren't likely to vote yes for secession. The issues are totally different. You're talking about yanking apart economies, infrastructure, military institutions, legal systems, etc. As a citizen of Texas, will I need a passport to go to Louisiana? What about the Social Security my mother accrued...if she lives in Texas, and Texas secedes, does she forfeit her Social Security? Bet she does. And if you put secession to a vote in Texas, people are going to talk about things like this. Odds are, they'd end up voting no.

Bottom line: petitioning for secession isn't the way to make a point, and seceding isn't practical

Do you really feel strongly about leaving the US? Do it. Vote with your feet. I suggest you research options in Central America. Several countries in that part of the world have established communities of expats from the USA. Some of them allow US citizens to own property, and welcome retirees. Skip Canada; it's almost impossible to get a job if you aren't Canadian. But countries where there are established US expat communities offer some opportunities for jobs: there's networking in the community, for one, and professionals like lawyers or doctors can make some money working for their fellow countrymen. Local companies will even hire US expats, if you have the right skill sets. If you get enough secessionists together, you could start a business in the other country. See? Something pracitcal to do with all your energy and passion.

But forget secession. That's sandlot talk.

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