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.