The Secession Obsession
As of the 13th of November, there are 70,983 signatures on a petition asking the Obama administration to allow Texas to peacefully secede from the union. For an updated tally, you can check the We the People page of the White House website.
Personally, I don't quite think it is sane to be talking about dissolving the union at this time. Sure, I will acknowledge that President Obama is a danger to our freedom, in the way that freedom has been historically defined. I will even say that we as a people are more polarized today than we have been at any time since the Civil War. For good or bad, however, Barack Obama is our president. Please, let's leave the passionate singing of Dixie alone, and, no -- let's not rally 'round the flag, boys.
It is not the actual secession talk that is interesting in this case. What is interesting is what it represents.
Has there been a time in the last century that people have even discussed secession in any context save the historical one? I am talking about a rational discussion, not one held by the audiences of late-night radio shows or those on a quest for Bigfoot. From my own experience I can tell you that in my forty-six years I never heard it discussed in a serious sense, not once. I am sure that my own experience is not all that different that the average American.
But now, suddenly, people are actually doing more than talking about it, they are signing petitions to bring it about. While 70,000 people cannot reasonably be considered a wide cross-section of the state of Texas, it is not exactly a miniscule number either. What is to be made of this small movement? Is it simply a method of conveying extreme dissatisfaction to Washington, or could it be something more substantial?
What is it that could make people think that secession is a topic worth discussion? I think we know the answers to that.
For starters, millions of people remain in utter disbelief that Barack Obama was reelected. They look at the wheezing economy, the unacceptable levels of unemployment, and the horrifyingly huge level of federal debt and cannot fathom that a person could retain the presidency under such conditions. They remember the promise to cut the deficit in half, and the claim that Obama the Merciful would be a post-partisan president. Neither was true, and a very substantial number of citizens didn't believe he deserved a do-over. The reelection of President Obama made half the American people beside themselves with joy, and the other half thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong with the cognitive abilities of those celebrating.
To be fair, liberals may have felt the same shock when President Bush was reelected. Having never actually been in the mind of a liberal it is impossible for me to say. I have always made it a point to stay clear of that -- dark, empty rooms with cobwebs in the corners scare me. But I digress.
Secondly, there was a very serious miscalculation made by the people on the right. They assumed that people understood that a growing federal government was a threat to individual liberty. They thought that people believed (deep down, whether they cared to admit it or not) that free markets, competition, and capitalism were the tools necessary to provide prosperity to the greatest number of people possible. They believed that everyone knew that socialism has never, and will never, provide the opportunities that capitalism and freedom have provided for two centuries.
Boy, were they wrong!
It turns out that socialism is not the dirty word it was only 30 years ago. Looking around the internet, it becomes apparent that a large number of our own citizens have not only warmed to socialist ideas, but are actually thinking that it is a new and improved way to govern. There is no sense of danger, the idea of a new United States remolded into a socialist Utopia is only a harmless expedition to a fairer, calmer, and more prosperous brave new world.
So this is where we find ourselves. One side of the country is completely thrilled Barack Obama and his Forward agenda. They don't believe that a huge federal government is a threat, and they think that capitalism is a dirty, malicious thing best swept into the dustbin of history.
And the other half believes that they are insane for thinking the way they do.
So now it is a surprise that people are discussing secession? Hardly. When people believe that their country is being taken from them, when they think that our founding principles are being ignored, and when they think that the United States, a country they love, is being fundamentally transformed into something foreign to them, well, they may start to act a bit rashly. You'll have to forgive them for their passion.
I'm sure that liberals will claim that they love their country too. Which begs the question: if you love your country so much, why are you in such a terrible hurry to change it into something else?
Knowing the answer, the true answer, to that question could save us a lot a pain in the years ahead.
Follow David on Twitter at @DavidJGarth and visit his website A Most Sacred Right.