Least Constructive Post Election Idea: Secession

November 13, 2012 13:00 pm

by Charlie · 71 comments

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

The reaction to last week’s Presidential election continues, most of it from Republicans attempting to grapple with identifying what issues have kept them from winning the White House for the past two Presidential elections.  Others, however, have decided that winning the Presidency is no longer a worthy option.

There is an online petition movement asking for various states to secede.  It started with a request from a Louisiana man asking for his state to be allowed to “peacefully grant the state of Louisiana to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government”.  A petition from Texas followed.  Now, 20 states including Georgia have such petitions collecting signatures via the White House’s own website.

According to The Daily Caller, the President’s policies for his “We The People” program, any petition gaining 25,000 signatures requires an official response from the White House.  Louisiana and Texas have already met that threshold.  Georgia’s petition has just over 17,000 signatures.  South Carolina, who fired the first shot the last time this madness was considered, is trailing significantly with just over 10,000 signatures.

Regardless, it appears there will be an official response from the White House. Petitioners should not expect any more than a flowery “no”.  Those looking for any assistance from the conservative wing at the U.S. Supreme Court are likely to be equally disappointed. 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently replied to a screenwriter asking questions for a screenplay based on Maine succeeding from the Union.  According to Politico, Scalia replied “…If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, “one Nation, indivisible.”) Secondly, I find it difficult to envision who the parties to this lawsuit might be. Is the State suing the United States for a declaratory judgment? But the United States cannot be sued without its consent, and it has not consented to this sort of suit.”

The exercise may make some feel better, but the underlying issue that so many feel like we should no longer be one nation, indivisible is troubling.  Those that just waged a campaign arguing that the current administration doesn’t appreciate American exceptionalism can’t honestly think a wave of successions improves the exceptional nature of our country.  Quite the contrary, it is a juvenile reaction to not getting one’s way, and the response need be little more than the chiding of children who are acting out.

My father had a rather unique way of handling situations when me and my sisters found ourselves unable to get along.  He would employ some creative discipline that forced us to understand we had to work together and get along if we were to be allowed to resume our own individual pursuits of happiness.

A favorite of his in the instance of our fighting was to make us go sit in the shower stall in my parents bathroom.  Three children sitting on the floor of a roughly 4×4 area would generally begin by us sitting, pouting, knowing the other was wrong and they should be the one being punished. Often we would even face the wall so we wouldn’t even have to see the sibling that was so clearly wrong and so definitely the cause of all the trouble.

Eventually, someone would break the silence.  Sometimes it would happen quicker than other times.  But it always worked.  If we wanted to get out of there and get back to playing, we first had to come to Dad, together, apologize to each other in front of him and say we loved each other.

We all knew it was inevitable, each time.  And each time, it eventually happened.

It would be nice if we had an adult that could force us all to realize we are better off together than we are when we try to isolate ourselves.  Nice if someone could remind us that we’ll be together a long time so we might need to learn to get along.

We, however, aren’t children.  Voters are adults who are old enough to make our own decisions.  We are able to retreat further and further into our own self-isolating groups.  We’ll have to figure out on our own if and how we can again realize we are better off together than separated.

This seemed a whole lot easier when I was a kid.

Engineer November 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Throwing around the issue of secession certainly did wonders for the Federalist Party when they (the Northeastern states) threatened to secede from the US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartford_Convention

seenbetrdayz November 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm

In hindsight, perhaps we should have let them.

David Staples November 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I haven’t and won’t sign the petition, but a couple of thoughts occurred to me here. Firstly…

“If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. ”

I would imagine the British probably said the same thing when the colonies first declared their independence, no? In that same spirit, would logic not follow that certain states could claim a similar list of grievances and declare their independence in the same form and fashion that the original colonies did should they decide to do so? (Good luck getting a 50% + 1 or 2/3rds or whatever vote on that…)

Andre November 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Governments always believe that provinces, states or regions have no right to declare independence. That, unfortunately, is why we have bloody conflicts like the one in the former Yugoslavia.

I believe that people always have the right to dissolve the union. I guess I take the Declaration of Independence a little too literal.

I would prefer a bloodless revolution, similar to the frequent votes the Canadian province of Quebec has had over secession (referenda that have repeatedly failed, I might add). However if the government becomes too tyrannical, then sometimes the people must take up arms.

Stefan November 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

And you are suggesting now is one of those times? And back away from comment in 3, 2, 1…

Andre November 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Am I suggesting that the time has come to take up arms against a tyrannical government?

No.

What I am explicitly saying is that if the people in the states with secession petitions want to vote on secession, then let’s have a vote on it. Let’s have vigorous discussions and deliberations over secession, then vote.

It is not completely unprecedented to do so.

seenbetrdayz November 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I guess I take the Declaration of Independence a little too literal.

The fact that you take it at all sets you apart from the vast majority of people in politics. But the Declaration transcends politics. Actually, it is for those occasions when politics has failed. I think politics has failed (every 2, 4, 6 years the American people go to the polls to change the course of the country, and to no avail), so I would agree with your comment.

I don’t think secession is necessary. What *is* necessary is for both sides of the aisle to back-off at the federal level and remember that there are still state and local governments to handle state and local issues. We’re rapidly moving towards a heavily-centralized democracy where 51% of the people can tell the other 49% what to do. Everyone opposes this concept when they are the 49%, but when they get 51%, they tend to grow fond of this un-American form of government. Power does funny things to one’s memory, and therefore, we never manage to get back to the Republic our country was founded as.

Stefan November 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I think you are leaving out a step in the history. See (2) below.

(1) Declare independence
(2) War
(3) Independent Nation

Andre November 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

See my comment below about the Scottish Independence Referendum.

Harry November 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

There is nothing in the Constitution as amended that prohibits secession, but it’s not a good idea. Rather, we should have an ongoing national discussion about Federalism.

David Staples November 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Nope, didn’t leave any steps out… just didn’t get that far. I don’t foresee enough support within Georgia to complete step one, much less start step 2 to achieve a step 3. :-)

Another Example in addition to Andre’s though of recent (our lifetime) events…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovakia

I was in the Czech Republic not too many months ago, but didn’t quite make it to Slovakia. It appeared to me that they’re prospering rather well for such a young country. (Of course they left out your step 2. Silly Czechs.) :-)

bgsmallz November 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Uhhh…gents….take a step off the ledge.

Texas v. White. aka “the law of the land derived from the consent of the governed” says there is no unilateral right to secession. Period. I assume that is part of the basis of Scalia’s quote.

There are only two and maybe three paths to secession. (1)Constitutional amendment overturning Texas v. White. (2) “Consent of the states” is a maybe…it is dicta in the court decision and could be interpreted that if the majority of states said ‘yes,’ then states could leave. (3)War.

That’s it. That’s the law. Case closed unless you want to take up arms or do some really heavy campaigning in the blue states….which ironically were asking the same question in 2004.

Andre November 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm

A lot of folks have been referencing Texas v. White in this discussion about secession.

My first thought, without doing any research on that SCOTUS decision, is that the justices may have legislated from the bench.

After researching Texas v. White, I believe that Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase and the majority did indeed legislate from the bench when they ruled that states have no right to unilaterally secede.

While Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the United States spells out the method for new states to join the union, the Constitution does not specifically spell out a way for states to leave the union. That being said, Amendment X to the Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

If the Constitution does not prohibit secession, then how can a Justice of the Supreme Court come to the conclusion that no state has the right to unilaterally secede. It seems to me that the 10th Amendment reserves the right to secede with the states and/or the people.

In addition, the majority opinion written by Salmon P. Chase in Texas v. White flies in the face of the Declaration of Independence, which reads:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

If it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another; if the people have the right to alter government, abolish government and institute new government, as Jefferson wrote, how can someone say the states have no right to leave the union, unilaterally or collectively, and institute new government?

Salmon P. Chase, a former member of Lincoln’s cabinet, clearly legislated from the bench. And while I wouldn’t advocate for secession unless absolutely necessary, I think Chase got it wrong.

Stating that unions, once formed, must continue in perpetuity and are indissoluble just doesn’t make sense, if only for the fact that sometimes unions need to be dissolved

seenbetrdayz November 14, 2012 at 4:35 am

Good points.

I’m cautious to point to Supreme Court rulings that ‘establish’ or ‘deny’ rights of any kind, as that is not the role of the Supreme Court. They are to review federal laws to determine whether or not they are Constitutional or not. But the Supreme Court, too, is supposed to understand and respect the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Constitution—an understanding which doesn’t always show through their rulings.

Here’s 9:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Here’s 10:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It’s pretty darn open-ended as to what the states can do. If someone doesn’t like the idea of secession, they should push for a specific Constitutional amendment banning it and see if it passes the ratification process.

Stefan November 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

I believe that it is you, not Salmon, who is fishing.

bgsmallz November 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Andre/SeenBetter-

It isn’t open-ended. It isn’t unsettled. It’s actually crystal clear.

Number 1…it was settled by military force. In the same way Britain can’t make an argument that the DOI is invalid and therefore unilaterally try to impose the crown’s taxes on the US, the treaty at Appomattox rendered the question virtually moot. There was a war about it. The question is answered by the winners. If the losers want another shot, they typically need to fight another war.

“A lot of folks have been referencing Texas v. White in this discussion about secession.” Well, duh. That’s because it is the opinion of the court that explicitly says secession isn’t allowed by our Constitution and confirms the result of that little thing called the Civil War (War Between the States, etc.). AKA it’s the law. “A Lot of Folks” must know where to start on this issue. The Union can’t kick a state out unilaterally and a state can’t secede unilaterally. Period. Law.

Thus, again, I make my point. If you truly want to secede, you either have to change the law (constitutional amendment) or fight it out again. Period. Not fishy, wishy, or questionable. That’s it.

Andre November 15, 2012 at 3:03 am

One quick question:

Which article, clause, paragraph, section or amendment to the Constitution of the United States explicitly says secession is not allowed?

I ask that because, as seenbetrdayz correctly notes, the Supreme Court reviews laws to determine whether they are constitutional or not.

So which article, clause, paragraph, section or amendment to the Constitution of the United States explicitly says secession is prohibited?

It must be there because, using your own words, it is the opinion of the court that explicitly says secession isn’t allowed by our Constitution.

If it isn’t there, then Salmon P. Chase and the majority clearly legislated from the bench.

And by the way, since we’re discussing the Civil War as well as Texas v. White, Georgia was re-admitted to the union in 1870. The Texas v. White opinion was handed down a year earlier.

Texas v. White said that the state of Texas remained a part of the United States, even though Texas passed an ordinance of secession dissolving its ties to the United States. Texas v. White also said that a state cannot secede unilaterally.

If a state cannot secede unilaterally, then why was Georgia re-admitted to the union in 1870; re-admission strongly suggesting that Georgia left the union. If Georgia never left the union, as implied under Texas v. White, then why the redundant task of re-admitting Georgia to the union?

seenbetrdayz November 15, 2012 at 5:34 am

Right. I’m not particularly fond of efforts to view the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights, as a list of ‘priveledges’ rather than a list of ‘rights.’ If someone wishes to view the Constitution as an open-ended path to power, rather than a strict limitation of the government’s powers, then I suppose they are free to believe that. However, it should be noted, that such beliefs go against the very structure of our ‘bottom up’ form of government. Freedom of association when states came together in the union implies a freedom to dis-associate when the bond between them is no longer beneficial to the security of their liberties. That’s stated, quite clearly, in the D.o.I.

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

I’m all for continuing to try to alter it, but I don’t get fussy when someone speaks of abolishing it, because alteration has proven futile in many cases. I believe that as the U.S. Dollar continues to decline, as natural rights such as those affording people a right to trial (not indefinite detention), as special interests in Washington continue to prolong and keep us entangled in foreign conflicts for ‘freedom’ which the people of those countries neither want nor understand, as young Americans continue to pay into a social security system that will not be around when they are old enough to collect, as younger generations continue to be burdened with an unfathomable amount of debt they did not vote for and will never be able to repay, etc. etc.—the talk of secession from an out-of-control federal government will only become more mainstream, because no one who has given these issues the consideration they deserve will have any desire to defend a broken system.

They will be looking for alternatives. And can you really blame them? We’re seeing quite a bit of condemnation of the secessionist movement, but has anyone stopped to consider that the Federal government might share a large part, if not most, of the blame?

bgsmallz November 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

“Least Constructive Post Election Idea”- Ok, Ok….the heading wins. Yeesh.

Andre November 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

In 2014, Scotland will vote on whether to become independent or remain part of the UK.

If certain states want to secede from the union, then why not follow the lead of the Scots, and conduct a referendum where the people decide?

Stefan November 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

The information deficit is a bridge too far. At least by internet.

Lea Thrace November 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

So rather than work within the system that the Founding Fathers created, (self described) “conservatives” would rather take their ball and go home?

And there are P/P commenters debating the validity of this argument?

I have no words.

David Staples November 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

“And there are P/P commenters debating the validity of this argument?”

Isn’t that what this thread is for? :-)

lukethedrifter November 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I would never want Georgia to secede from the United States and find this whole debate petty. However, I do enjoy contemplating what would happen if the “makers” and “takers” in this country were somehow petitioned off into two different governments, say Eastern USA and Western USA. Hell, split the debts and assets respectively down the middle. Is there any doubt which side would prosper and be a viable world power in 10 years?

Stefan November 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Especially without California, Washington, and Oregon. We are talking about the documentary “Red Dawn”, right?

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Hmmm…Secession…Sounds bat sh*t crazy…I like it! Where do I sign up?

SallyForth November 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Fergit, hell?! :) Some things aren’t necessarily productive, they’re just flat out fun. Here you go: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/peacefully-grant-state-georgia-withdraw-united-states-america-and-create-its-own-new-government/pgJ9JLY3

As of yesterday, states with citizens filing petitions include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Georgia joining ranks with the likes of New York and New Jersey – now that’s bringing America together!

One week ago tonight there were a lot of sad people in the P/P community, and as LDIG says, this is bat sh*t crazy, and maybe fun enough to pull some folks out of their doldrums. At the very least, this movement will force Obama to at least acknowledge a lot of states his campaign totally ignored. Sally forth!

greencracker November 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I am not saying I adore carpetbaggery. But I am saying I’m glad we lost the war, and if it wasn’t for the federal government, we’d still be more segregated, setting poll taxes, lynching, washing clothes in creeks, having hookworm, etc. I will gladly accept a good idea out of a carpetbag, or wherever it comes from.

joe November 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm

“…and if it wasn’t for the federal government…” = “You didn’t build that.”

SallyForth November 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm

@green, caution – one must always consider the source on any idea….

xdog November 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I guess no one read Jindal’s remarks from yesterday, or if you did you didn’t believe what he had to say.

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

I understand having a reasonable and rational party culture makes more likely the election of reasonable, rational politicians like Jindal. I also realize that some of you may be framing these nifty pro-secession arguments solely as a theoretical exercise. But you should realize that to outsiders you could come across as if you’re “offensive, bizarre, simplistic”.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83743.html?hp=f2

saltycracker November 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Secession Pros:

Great visionary leaders
Valuable/abundant natural resources
Strong manufacturing base
More exports than inports
A highly educated/skilled population
Strong since of unity

…….ehh….never mind…..

saltycracker November 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

modify: imports/sense – We got Jeff Foxworthy too !

AMB November 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Who knew Neo-cons really meant Neo-Confederates?

Chuck Shiflett November 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm

If one person wants to head east and the other wants to to go north, you can’t compromise and go northeast because neither person will arrive at a detination they want.

smvaughn November 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

“neither person will arrive at a detination they want.”

That’s pretty much the definition of compromise.

johnl November 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Secession? Really?

I’m sure all of the dead and maimed during the Civil War would crawl out of their graves and choke these fools if they could. It insults their memory to say the least. But hey, who cares about that, right? It was so long ago, why does that matter?

These silly people would do well to remember that our men and women in uniform are sworn to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Good luck getting past that.

seenbetrdayz November 14, 2012 at 4:40 am

These silly people would do well to remember that our men and women in uniform are sworn to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

And the people in Washington, DC would do well to remember that as well, considering they vote in violation of that Constitution about 99% of the time.

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 14, 2012 at 5:06 am

+1 zillion

xdog November 14, 2012 at 8:40 am

“Peacefully grant the State of Herp-a-Derp to withdraw from the United States of America & create its own NEW government.”

“Please keep sending my Social Security check. I earned that, yo.”

drjay November 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

if at first you don’t secede, try, try again…

cheapseats November 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Two words should be enough to end this movement: President Deal

SallyForth November 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

LOL :)

KD_fiscal conservative November 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I can’ think of anyone more un-American then these morons. I always say, if you don’t like it here….you can away get out.

seenbetrdayz November 15, 2012 at 5:44 am

So basically secessionists should leave, they just can’t all leave at once? Seems somewhat contradictory, but whatever.

David Staples November 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Just following that line of thought here for a moment. Let’s say you grew up in Georgia and have had family here for hundreds of years. As more and more people and companies move here for whatever reason – be it lower taxes, hub of transportation, whatever – the policies / taxes / etc. for the region change and adapt to the new majority view. So for someone who has seen the area they live in continually change and their property taxes increase to pay for new amenities that they never asked for or wanted… you’re saying they should move? That they should leave the area that they’ve called home all their life?

To take a bit of a different direction of your statement… “if you don’tlike it here… you can away get out”… isn’t that what the secessionists are trying to do, as seenbetrdayz says? (all leave at once)

SallyForth November 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm

David, you described me exactly. It has been sad to watch people move here from everywhere else and immediately get busy trying to make Georgia like wherever they came from. I’ve always wondered that if it was so great where they lived before, why they didn’t just go back there instead of polluting our state.

I am presently reading “Empire of the Summer Moon,” a NYT bestseller that chronicles the rise and fall of the Comanches as the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. While they were a primitive people and some of their behaviors barbaric, they were the indigenous American people and owned this nation until our ancestors arrived and slaughtered them. They were reduced from hundreds of thousands to a few thousand by decades of brutal massacres by “long rifles” and catastrophic white man’s diseases (like measles, malaria, influenza, whooping cough, smallpox and cholera) to which they had no immunity. Entire bands perished. What few remained in the late 1800′s were herded to reservations and treated horribly. By comparison, the people who came here from Africa (slave or otherwise) were treated like royalty by the white men. This book is a revelation.

In light of the P/P community dialogue these last few days, there are subtle parallels between today’s native Georgians and the American Indians. The secessionists are not trying to “all leave at once” – to the contrary, they dream of withdrawing from the federal union and exercising their state sovereignty established in 1783. They do not want to leave their generational homes; they’d like to keep their tax money in their own states and exercise home rule.

Everybody knows that is not going to happen; I think they are just using this petition thing as an escape valve for their frustrations. It may be bat sh*t crazy, but doesn’t hurt anybody, so I say let them be.

seenbetrdayz November 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Well, I mean, I always laugh when blind supporters of our federal government who cannot seem to put the wrongdoings into perspective, take the ‘love it or leave it stance.’

Wouldn’t it be more practical for people who think that states have no rights to leave? I mean, if you want a top-down form of government there is absolutely no shortage of those countries around the world.

It almost sounds like an ad for a travel agency.

Tired of people who criticize gov’t? Tired of people who say ‘this ain’t working’? Tired of people who have the audacity to suggest that the people are the final arbiters of what powers governments should have? Tired of . . . well, let’s call them what they are . . . Americans? Then come on over to North Korea where we have just the type of government you’re looking for. Book your move today and get a free bland gray uniform and red flag to wave at national parades while we vow our submission to our fearless leaders.

There’s only ever been one America. But those who wish to mold our government, slowly, into the kind found in abundance around the world, well, maybe they should be the ones to ‘love it or leave it.’

GA Constitutionalist November 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Myths about secession…

1. The Constitution does not prohibit secession. The legal argument boils down to this: 1. The Constitution does not mention secession. In any way. 2. The Tenth Amendment says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Now I don’t have a Ph.D. in logic, but even I can figure out that if something is not mentioned, then, according to the 10th Amendment, it isn’t prohibited to the states. In fact, it is the opposite of prohibited. Now I know that the Supreme Court says no secession allowed, which means the federal government has declared that you can’t escape the federal government. Gee, that’s no shocker. So, sure, if you believe that the federal government should be the last word on what the federal government can and cannot do, then that’s fine. Just don’t pretend that we have constitutional government. If the federal government gets to decide what the Constitution says, then the Constitution is nothing more than a suggestion box for the feds.

2. The Civil War did not “settle” the issue. Secession was never settled beyond the federal government’s assertion that it has the right to kill people who try to exercise their rights protected by the Tenth Amendment.

3. Secession is treason/unAmerican/craaaazy/for slavers only. Prior to the confederacy, there were some slaveowners who got together and seceded from their government. They were called Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. If you’re opposed to the secession of 1776, then that’s fine, you might be consistent on this issue, but if you’re one of these right-wing pundits who thinks the Declaration of Independence should be read aloud every July 4, and then says that secession is nutso, you might try actually reading that document you profess to love.

The Declaration makes a simple argument:
1. Humans have rights from the Creator
2. Governments exist to secure those rights (a debatable assertion but we’ll roll with it.)
3. When the government fails to secure those rights, we can ditch it and start our own government.

That’s pretty much all it says. If you thought that was true in 1776, when tax rates were 1% and there was no such thing as a the EPA or the FBI or the IRS, why is it not true now? Because we’re so much more free now? And, no, the Declaration did not say that the government is free to violate rights as long as people get to vote on it.

Andre November 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

+1776

SallyForth November 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

States that fought the Revolutionary War for freedom from England’s central government could voluntarily join the U.S., but could not un-join, drop their membership. Got it?

The War or Northern Aggression ended in 1865 when Lee surrendered. Four years later, the 1869 U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that secession was illegal, and that the Confederacy had never legally existed.

Well, duh. Of course the U.S. government had to justify their murder of hundreds of thousands of people in the Confederate States of America. How better than to have their puppet court declare the CSA never existed?

Never mind the fact that, depending on which historian you read, the CSA was either the richest or fourth richest country in the world at that time. It supplied 2/3 of the world’s cotton, plus major portions of tobacco and sugar cane, and had great wealth. The northern states and the federal government wanted control of all that money and commerce. Like everything else, you just have to follow the money.

benevolus November 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Wow.
Someone was commenting on the need for the VRA in another thread? Here ya go.

benevolus November 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

And also, I’m sure this conversation is helping the Republican image issues.

seenbetrdayz November 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I’m not sure it’s a Republican/Democrat issue. Vermont is not the first state that comes to mind when one thinks of republicans, but they actually had a very vocal secession movement during the Bush administration due to the fact they wanted to recall their men and women in uniform home from a fruitless war in the Middle East. Here we are 11 years later and I have to wonder if their efforts towards secession were any less effective than trying to alter our foreign policy through voting. I mean, I’d have to say that anyone who thinks we can simply change these things by voting is at least as delusional as those who support secession. And that is precisely the point we have arrived at. And well, when you can no longer alter government by voting, that’s when that pesky Declaration of Independence comes into play.

The fact that people are still trying to neatly package these ideas as being left/right, demo-/repub- speaks volumes about the disconnect between those deeply imbedded in politics and those who aren’t. It’s more of a citizen versus deaf-government issue.

Choose a side.

seenbetrdayz November 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Imbedded should be spelled, embedded. Oops.

I’d wager that the day will come when democrats are just as upset about the DEA coming down to the state level and over-riding the marijuana de-criminalization ballot referendums as Republicans are upset about Obamacare, so that’s what I mean when secession shouldn’t be viewed in simplistic, ‘left versus right’ terms. Everyone has at least one major issue that they have a hard time resolving with our increasingly-intrusive Federal Gov’t. That’s why I say that the best alternative to secession is to have Federal officials who know and understand the right of states and local self-government. In any case, you can’t force two sides to stick together without creating the very disunity that anti-secessionists seek to avoid.

The North was about as close to seceding, at one point, as the South prior to the Civil War. The South just went first.

benevolus November 15, 2012 at 9:25 am

You’re probably right. Being the less diverse party and antagonizing minorities is good! Republicans don’t have an image problem. Talking about secession is probably helpful. Heck, the six states with the most petition signatures are Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Texas. Maybe a little pattern there, but that’s OK because it’s the right thing to do!
Maybe this will be like TSPLOST or the Charter amendment and we can have multiple threads every day about secession. That would be fun.

Andre November 15, 2012 at 9:53 am

Being lectured by the left about diversity is the pot calling the kettle black, given the fact that the liberal Democrat party is not diverse nor does it fairly reflect the population of the State of Georgia.

The Democrat caucus in the General Assembly is 2/3rds black, but blacks are not 2/3rds of Georgia’s population.

In Rockdale County, every elected official is now a black Democrat. I sincerely doubt Rockdale County has a population that is all black and all Democrat.

But since Democrats love to promote diversity for the sake of diversity, how about enacting a public law regarding elected officials that mirrors the Democrats’ delegate selection process? Mandate that half Georgia’s elected officials be women; mandate that so many elected officials have to be black, Asian, Hispanic or gay; then see how well that works out.

As I like to tell people, the reason why the Democrats’ national convention appears to be so diverse is due to party rules that mandate such diversity. It’s not a naturally occurring thing.

benevolus November 15, 2012 at 11:13 am

Hah! No one mandated that 80% of minorities vote for Obama.
You can cherry-pick your data all you want; have fun with it, I don’t care. It’s your problem to deal with or ignore.

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Sally, you make an excellent point about the amount of wealth that the old Confederate States of America possessed as an independent nation.

The old CSA also was able to amass all that wealth with the use of what was virtually free labor in the form of slavery.

Most people think that the Civil War was all about slavery, but as you mentioned above, the war was not really about ending slavery, the Civil War was really all about MONEY in that the northern states and the feds wanted control of all of the money, wealth and commerce that came about as a result of all the cotton, tobacco, sugar cane and textiles that the Confederate states supplied to the world.

That’s not to say that the war was not about ending slavery at all, it’s just that ending slavery was not as consequential to the reasoning of the war as much as controlling the agricultural commerce and trade of the Confederate states that made up a very large part of the Gross Domestic Product (formerly GNP or Gross National Product) of the United States as a whole.

SallyForth November 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Yes, LDIG, like most things in life turn out to be, the Civil War was all about the money. There were other tangential issues that entered the fray between 1861 and 1865, one of which was the system of serfdom in both the northern and southern states, brought over from England. But the War began in 1861, and the Emancipation Proclamation was not issued until 1863, in an effort to get blacks to fight for the Union army and replenish their soldiers who were walking away and going back home up north.

Slavery in any form throughout world history has been disdainful, including as it is still being practiced in the world today. But to say that America’s use of slaves was “virtually free labor” excludes the monetary costs involved. According to the history books, wealthier European-Americans in the colonies paid the Spanish and Dutch traders big money (in those days) for every person sold to them by African chieftains from their slave trade. In addition to that initial outlay, in return for working on the big farms (aka, plantations) there was the ongoing constant cost of providing homes, food, clothes, health care, etc. for them and their subsequent children, families. Average Americans in the north and south could not afford and did not have slaves. Just like throughout history, it was monied class and big bidness whose greed caused problems for everybody else.

saltycracker November 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Big bidness has again figured out money making labor : illegals
And the chieftains are those holding the gates open.

Lea Thrace November 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

So we’re still debating/discussing this nonsense as if it has any merits whatsoever???

*sigh*

Three Jack November 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

While the attempt to secede is certainly futile, 660,000 (and counting) petition signatures cannot be totally ignored. Lots of unhappy folks out here in the real world trying to get some attention from the beltway insiders….nothing wrong with that.

James November 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

+1. I find it highly amusing that some of you (cough, cough, GA Constitutionalist, cough) apparently believe there is some intellectual merit to the idea of secession. But putting aside niceties like, say, “the law,” I’d actually like to see these secession hillbillies make a go of it. Because I’m easily amused by train wrecks.

bowersville November 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

…see these secession hillbillies…

That’s an insult to hillbillies. We can read, we can write and we are educated. We don’t go to family reunions to meet women. We go off to college, marry, have children and we stand back and watch a newcomer until they prove their self trustworthy instead of accepting some one that latter proves themselves otherwise. Most mountain folk are proud of their heritage and we continue to live here out of choice. My message to Secessionist is add your name to the list and self deport.

Nonchalant November 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Well said, Charlie.

As long as things stay stuck at the year 1766, that is. I don’t think they will. I have not signed, but I fully understand the spirit of defiance that drives the signers, a spirit that I think should be praised and not admonished. The spirit of liberty dies when people no longer care to risk all for it, no matter the circumstances.

There are legitimate concerns for the future. A side not checked is a side emboldened, and it *is* rather hard for a side to be checked when all the major cultural institutions are pulling for them. Given what I’ve seen over the last two decades from standard issue Republicanism and conservatism, perhaps of the sort on display here, I don’t think a check is coming from that sector either, anytime soon.

And then what?

But forgive me. I forget we are dealing with the great minds of our time. My apologies.

nast November 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Just a bunch of geniuses who think they’ve figured out a clever way for UGA to be “National Champions” every year.

Romegaguy November 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

The best part about this whole secession petitions? Is that you know the FBI, CIA and probably the UN Agenda 21 enforcement police are keeping track of names and IP addresses of any of the signers. I’m sure the black helicopters cant be far behind

seenbetrdayz November 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm

In order to hold our free country together, I suggest we immediately round up those people and ship them to detention camps. It is the only course of action suitable for the land of the free, home of the brave.

Dave Bearse November 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

Of course. We have a government after all that thinks two Florida women in a cockfight over an American general is a matter of national security.

Daddy Got A Gun November 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

Since the Director of the CIA is in the succession line to launch nuclear missiles, his dalliances are a matter for national security. Plus, the obvious risks of blackmail affecting his actions and opinions.

His dalliances are another indication that we’ve been at war for too long. Time to withdrawal and let the Muslims fight it out among themselves.

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