If America's going to split apart, here's what will happen to you
When Abraham Lincoln spoke the prophetic words "a house divided against itself cannot stand" — in a speech before the Illinois Republican state convention in 1858 — he was a relatively unknown politician. He saw the obvious: North and South were hopelessly divided over the issue of slavery — or more fundamentally, states' rights — and a breakup was all but unavoidable. This came to pass in just a few years' time in the form of the Civil War.
Is America nearing a similar point in 2021? Today it is not so much North versus South or free states versus slave states; rather, it is red states versus blue states, the heartland versus the coastal states, elites versus middle class, leftists versus conservatives. No matter how you chose to define the divide, a chasm has grown between two distinct groups living within the U.S. The room for compromise and accommodation seems to be shrinking by the day. Joe Biden's candidacy was based on the promise that he would bring us together. Look at what we got instead: more divisiveness, stoked by the Biden administration itself.
A number of political scientists no longer think the idea of a crack-up of the Union is beyond the pale. They cite a September 30 poll by the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia showing that over half of Trump voters surveyed nationwide and 41 percent of Biden voters are in favor of blue and/or red states seceding from the union. This is poll isn't the only one showing such a sentiment. An earlier YouGov poll in June revealed that 66 percent of Southern Republicans surveyed said they wanted the Southern states to go their own way.
As Steven Malanga, writing at City Journal, points out, the new secession movement predates the Trump-Biden race in 2020. That election, along with the reaction to the Wuhan virus, merely rubbed salt in the nation's wound that already was there. Malanga gives a few examples.
California — it's always California, isn't it? — recently banned any state-sponsored trips by its employees to Ohio. This is based on a 2016 California law that imposes penalties on states that California officials deem to be discriminating against lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals, or transgender residents. At issue is Ohio's new "conscience law," which allows medical providers to refuse to perform certain procedures, such as gender mutilation surgeries, if they violate a doctor's religious or moral beliefs. The Land of Gavin Newsom now restricts state-financed travel to 18 other states which have a combined population of 116 million people. And recently California slapped its travel restriction on states that require transgender athletes to participate in high school sports based on their sex.
This trend is spreading among other states and even to cities. For ten years, Los Angeles has been restricting travel by city employees to Arizona because of its immigration policies. City departments have also been told not to do business with Arizona firms. A few years after that, L.A. added restrictions on trips to North Carolina and Mississippi over their transgender bathroom laws. During the height of the Wuhan epidemic, some 27 states imposed travel bans or strict quarantine restrictions on residents of other states.
Is abortion the next issue? Portland, Oregon is said to be considering boycotts against Texas for its recent restrictions on abortion. This would put tens of millions of dollars in business at risk. And if LGBT and abortion can get states banned, why not target those with laws to protect Second Amendment rights or states that refuse to mandate masks in their schools?
What about the Constitution's Commerce Clause, which prohibits such restrictions? As Malanga says, the power of the Commerce Clause has been fading. But the problem is more serious than that. Notice that all the bans and boycotts are essentially initiated by liberal states and cities. Judging by the past actions of the Supreme Court, one suspects that the Commerce Clause would spring to life with a vengeance if the restrictions were instead initiated by red states trying to force their values on liberal states. On matters critical to the left-wing hive, the Court leans left, no matter what the Constitution or the written law says. That is why such unconstitutional things as affirmative action and racial quotas, homosexual marriage, and abortion have been enshrined as laws of the land. It's also why the Supreme Court refused to hear any challenge to the flawed 2020 election.
Secession does not necessarily need to be hard and formal as the South tried in 1861. It can be a United States evolving back to a true republic as it was initially meant to be. In that scenario, states would have more autonomy to enact laws that suit their citizens and not be ruled from the imperial capital on the Potomac. This would begin with states refusing to obey objectionable federal laws or decrees of the Supreme Court. This is not anti-democratic. It's naïve to think Washington is beholden to the people of the country. That's a façade put forth for public consumption. The politicians, with rare exception, dance to the tune of the big moneyed oligopoly. That's why America's once-mighty Midwestern industrial base was turned into the Rust Belt. And it's also why despite laws to the contrary, illegal immigration flourishes and why U.S. blood and treasure are squandered in foreign adventures.
Yes, even a soft secession could lead to conflict. But to my way of thinking, that's better than being dictated to by a distant elite, which doesn't come close to sharing my values and is bound and possessed to dictate how I live my life. And if the polls cited above are valid, more and more people shared that view. Once a critical mass is reached, secession in one form or another can take on a life of its own.
Image via Pxhere.
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