Secession Fun

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Like many of you I am getting a real kick out of reading the secession petitions that are currently flooding the White Houses’s “We the People” website.  In fact, it’s actually downright cute.  Think about it.  Americans from every region of the country requesting that the federal government allow their state to secede.  The fire-eaters from the Deep South are rolling in their graves.

It does give you a sense of how disconnected our understanding of secession has become from the events that took place in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860.  As a historical concept rooted in the Civil War era it is almost meaningless.  My favorite petition is from the good folks of the state of Washington, who decided to quote the preamble of the Declaration of Independence as justification.  You just can’t beat quoting a document rooted in revolution (as opposed to secession) that specifically points out that, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”  What exactly happened last week?

Ultimately, the image of thousands of Americans logging onto the official website of their government and requesting the right to secede is a sign of this nation’s strength.  I say, sign away.  In fact, I may spend some time this morning signing a few of my favorites.  I may start one for Massachusetts.  Why should we miss out on all the fun.

Finally, a little advice for the most committed secessionists out there.  I seem to remember a reference made by that Republic candidate for president.  What was it?… ah yes, it was a reference to self-deportation.  In other words, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. :-)

21 comments… add one

  • Wallace Hettle Nov 14, 2012

    Most people don’t understand the difference between secession and revolution. They’re not dumb, it is just the kind of thing that doesn’t come up in most public high schools.

  • Sir Nov 14, 2012

    There is no legal concept of “deportation” for citizens.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 14, 2012

      I wasn’t suggesting otherwise.

  • El Tel Nov 14, 2012

    They may not be dumb, but they are clearly ignorant.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 14, 2012

      I think this is just a way for people to blow off steam. Very few people have spent the time working through the implications of such a move and I suspect that the vast majority of people are not serious.

  • Andy Hall Nov 14, 2012

    “The fire-eaters from the Deep South are rolling in their graves.”

    No shit. Even the fire-eaters of 1860-61 understood that for secession to have even the veneer of legality and legitimacy, it had to be accomplished through the established mechanisms of representative government — thus the official calling of secession conventions by state legislatures, formal declarations of causes, even (in my state) a public referendum on the subject.

    The colonists understood that in 1776, as well. The first words at the top of the Declaration of Independence read, “In Congress. . . .” When John Hancock stepped up to be the first to sign that document, he allegedly said that he would sign it large enough that George III wouldn’t need his spectacles to read it. That’s probably an apocryphal tale, but it does appear to be the case that Hancock, as President of the Congress, was for some months the only delegate whose name was publicly attached to the document. To those men, the saying that “we must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately” was not a metaphor.

    So with that as an historical frame of reference, what are we to make of these online “petitions,” many started by anonymous persons, and mostly “signed” by anonymous persons. Not much, I’m thinking. It’s a little bit more dignified than the League of the South’s efforts to get out its message through mens’ room graffiti — but not greatly so.

    If folks want to start a petition for secession that merits attention, then get some comfortable walking shoes and a clipboard and start a real petition — one with actual signatures, of actual residents, who are registered voters, and are subject to verification by election officials. Get it put on the ballot. This is serious stuff, so stop acting like you’re voting on “Dancing with the Stars.”

    Oh, Kevin, if you’re going to “sign” a secession “petition,” make sure to sign Alabama’s, begun by Mr. Topless Carwash. Some movements just get the leaders they deserve.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 14, 2012

      Hilarious. I guess secession no longer serves Gov. Perry’s political interests.

  • Brad Nov 14, 2012

    I need to secede from something, I just don’t know what :), although my wife has suggested that I secede. Oh, I guess that’s called divorce! :)

  • Sam Elliott Nov 14, 2012

    It is a matter of blowing off steam. Lefties were doing it in 2004. Lawrence O’Donnell wanted the upper blue states to join Canada and the lower red states to form “Jesusland.”

    • Kevin Levin Nov 14, 2012

      Exactly. Nice to hear from you, Sam.

    • paul Nov 14, 2012

      The first term of C+ Augustus was a bit more divisive and destructive that the first term by the 44th President. The Canada/Jesusland schtick was more an observation than a wish.

      I was surprised to see a petition from Washington (started by someone in the Eastern/Red half). I bet you could make some deals to break states up (Washington into 2, California into at least 3, Florida in 2, maybe 3 pieces) that would appease any serious secessionistas.

  • Dudley Bokoski Nov 14, 2012

    Could a state get kicked out of the United States by the other states? Now, those would be interesting petitions.

    And think of the “Dear State” letters:

    Dear Maine,

    I think we both know at some point you became more Canadian than American. The online petition closed last night and there’s no easy way to say this. It was fun while it lasted, but we both need to get on with our lives.

    The United States

    Dear Texas:

    You think you’re big enough to be a country? Fine. Now, you’re a country. We’re pulling out the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy next Thursday. Write when you find a new country. Oh, wait, you don’t have a Postal Service do you?

    The US

    Dear California:

    The guys in accounting have run some numbers on what it will cost us to bail you out after the big one hits and 20% of land mass falls into the Pacific Ocean. As you know, times are tough and frankly we couldn’t take the hit. You’re high maintenance in the best of times, but now you’re just too big a risk. Maybe you could hook up with Spain again. The Spanish are a very forgiving people.

    Your Uncle Sam

  • Thomas Rowley Nov 14, 2012

    As an observer of the secesher scene for going on six years, this particular bend in the trail comes as little surprise. These boneheads have been peddling BS for years. Normally I get to refute “facts” like a push poll that they manufactured back then that suggested that 13% of Vermonters, or as the baas of the Second Vermont Republic, Thomas H. Naylor, implied, more than 40,000 registered voters, supported secession from the Union, but in the 2010 gubernatorial election 99.24% of Vermonters voted for someone other than his handpicked candidate (around 1,800 votes, about the same amount as spoilt ballots in the average Vemont election).

    Now we have scores of out of staters, lacking any standing to do so, advocating for the unconstitutional removal of our state from the Union.

    If you’re at all interested in how we besotted Vermonters are responding to the secesherperialists, some of our modest efforts may be found here, here, here and here.

  • John Maass Nov 15, 2012

    these folks know they will be forgiven if they try. Afterall, the US puts on its postage stamps people who tried to secede from the Union!

  • Ernest Nov 16, 2012

    This is just overreaction to a candidate losing and another winning. Liberals did it when Bush won in ’04 and some even threatened to move to Canada (sadly, they did neither one!) Nothing will come of it. I live in TX (not from, but live there) and I found an interesting story in regards to this. Basically, if Texas DID secede, then Austin and El Paso said they would petition to secede from Texas and join the U.S.!

    • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2012

      You said: Liberals did it when Bush won in ’04 and some even threatened to move to Canada (sadly, they did neither one!).

      Of course. I think the rhetoric coming out of conservative camps in recent years may leave people with the impression that they alone have a monopoly on such silly calls.

  • Bummer Nov 16, 2012

    Bummer thinks that the U.S. Government should disallow Washington and Colorado from leaving the Union in order to heavily tax the marijuana sales in those states. The loadies only fear now is the Fed’s pot laws with lengthy prison sentences.

    Bummer

  • Charlie Nov 19, 2012

    Guess Ron Paul confused secession and revolution
    http://www.salon.com/2012/11/19/ron_paul_is_cool_with_secession/

    • Kevin Levin Nov 19, 2012

      I don’t see how you can make a serious run for the presidency and flirt in any way with the idea of secession.

      • Paul Nov 19, 2012

        I’ve never understood how we get candidates who hate government and that they win. But secession as a campaign issue is a head scratcher.

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