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home : opinion : columns May 24, 2016

11/18/2012 6:00:00 AM
Editorial Column: Let's not mess around with secession

Alan Choate
News Editor

Secession obsession is sweeping the nation, and I've caught the fever.

This time around it's not enough to grouse about the election's outcome. Nor is it enough to threaten to move to Canada and/or Mexico, seize on any perceived discrepancy in the vote count, or even maintain in the face of all contradictory evidence that the election's winner has completely fabricated his background and is, in fact, a sleeper agent for some unsavory cause.

No, the sentiment now is "let's throw in the towel." The candidate you didn't want to win not only won, but did so by a convincing margin? Here's a solution - make it so there's no country to be president of!

That'll show 'em.

I'm talking, of course, about the "We the People" section of the White House website, which has been inundated with petitions asking the Obama administration to "peacefully allow the state of [insert state] to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."

All 50 states are represented. Texas, with its history of being an independent republic before statehood, is well ahead of any other state with more than 111,500 signatures as of Friday. Arizona was doing well too - 21,900 signatures and counting - as are several Southern states, which makes sense since they've been down this road before.

So let's do this. Wouldn't it be great to split things up? Go it alone, wipe the slate clean, clear off the detritus of history and build some bright, shining cities in the desert?

Think about it. No more federal taxes! That's a nice chunk of take-home pay we'd get to keep.

Federal gas taxes? No more! Cheap(er) gas!

Cheaper cigarettes and booze, too.

No more U.S. gun regulations.

The border? Ours to patrol as we please.

And we could come up with a cool new name.

The Independent Republic of Arizona has a nice ring to it. Well, except for the acronym. I think "IRA" is already taken.

The best option might be to band together with a couple of neighboring states - say, Nevada and Utah, so we get to keep Las Vegas and Zion National Park - and form the United Southwest Alliance. That way, we can still chant, "USA! USA!"

Speaking of keeping things, do you think we'll actually get to keep places like Zion and the Grand Canyon? That's a tricky one. What about the stuff bought with federal money - law enforcement equipment, university stuff? Our federally supported highways?

Wait ... what about Social Security? I've been paying in for, like, 25 years. I'd at least like a shot of getting something out of that.

And suddenly the fever breaks.

The problem with this secessionist nonsense is that it's been settled law for more than 100 years that states can't unilaterally secede. Texas - where myth holds that the agreement that brought it into the union contains a clause allowing the state to leave at any time (false) - argued the point back in the 1860s, and the U.S. Supreme Court said joining the USA is "an indissoluble relation."

Of course, if you're seceding from the U.S., you don't give a squirt what the Supreme Court says. To do so is to ignore history, however, and the last time states seceded things did not work out so well - especially for all the people who died violent, painful, bloody deaths.

I know as well as you do that secession petitions won't accomplish anything. The attitude behind them, though, is fundamentally un-American.

It's an attitude that says fellow citizens who hold different beliefs are not worth engaging. In this way of thinking, when people disagree, one side takes their ball, goes home and makes sure nothing gets solved.

We've seen what happens when half of our political world decides to dig in its heels and simply say "No" to whatever the other side proposes. I, for one, don't want four more years of nothing happening.

So as fun as it is, let's ditch the secession bunk. Our country, which is made up of 50 diverse but united states, has work to do.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

You forget
You have got to be kidding aren't you?
Slackers have all the skills and common sense is just a silly joke and I will bet lots of people got a big kick out of your make believe.
Romney didn't loose because he was afraid to get his hands dirty, he lost because he didn't get the nick name Santa Claus like obumer did and why do you think he got that nick name? If you don't know your not worth anymore of my time.
Hopefully your letter was in total jest and you will come back and tell us you were only kidding because it is a total joke.

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: You Forget

@ Capt. Nice

Not a bad idea but you forgot some very important stuff! Most of the conservatives (doers) don't have enough skills to even fold a sheet of paper let alone build something. If the conservatives were to ever do an honests days work (physical labor, not breathing) I would imagine they would abandon the West. You see, and what you forget, is you can have all the money in the world, but if you don't have any other skills, what will you do with it. The slackers (the East) have all the skills, common sense, and they are not afraid of getting their hands dirty. And that is the very reason that Romney lost! The slackers couldn't be bought and Romney lacks common sense, and skills. Hell, even his running mate and political party have seen the light and abandoned him!

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

If all the people who are unhappy that obama was able to buy a victory were able to just give up their citizenship and move somewhere else, how would the left survive?
They gotta have the doers making money and building things so they can take it away via our president who hates anyone who makes a profit and does not belong to a union.
I think we should have an east and west united states and the good guys (conservatives) should get the West and the goof balls should get the East.....I know what would happen, it would be like north and south Korea as the East would start sneeking into the West because holding your hand out doesn't get much done and the East would collapse.
The first thing the West would have to do is build a huge wall from Canada to Mexico to keep the slackers out, and we would have a President who would enforce the law and would keep the illegals out.
I know it is a pipe dream but we conservative have to dream about something good happening!

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012
Article comment by: absolutely correct

I couldn't agree more.

Until The United States comes together on all levels we are in big trouble.

Wouldn't it feel great to really produce well made durable products again?

Im not the only Bluecollar tradesman that remembers the pride and confidence the whole country thrived on not so long ago.

Hard work built America. We just got complacent and trusted 20 years of bad politicians from all parties. We're not even close to extinction. We just have to clean house with the house and senate.

Start with 535 job evaluations. Lets demand the worthless get booted. Remember they work for us. Its time to expect some credibility.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

I think that we as a people have a serious problem as exemplified by the subject of this column -- secession? ....really?

I'm reminded of discussions over the last few years of "The Dumbing of America" and as demonstrated through Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" on the streets of LA. This is really troubling to those of us who are concerned with the future of our nation.

Read: "The Dumbing Of America", By Susan Jacoby, Washington Post, Sunday, February 17, 2008 @ http://tinyurl.com/27owj7

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

I think the secessionist movement in America is being over blown by media, if one does the math 750,000 plus so far signed these useless petitions! We are a nation of more than 300 millon! All they have accomplished is vented their anger, xenophobic rage, no secession will ever occur, to many of us true patriots would stop them as was done long ago! Together we stand divided we fall! Every society has misfits, social outcasts who just seem to march at their own drummers, good thing is they are even smaller than the minorities they hate so vicioiusly!

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Doing Research

Alan, thanks for adding some sanity to this.

Another comment in another letter by "K K" outlined just how bad things would be for the states that wanted to secede if they did, from public health problems to lack of large financial and manufacturing centers.

Most of the states that naively want to secede A) can't spell secede correctly, and B) take more in Federal dollars than they pay in overall.

Example? Between 1999 and 2009 Arizona received, at least according to The Economist, about $206 BILLION in Federal spending more than it sent to DC in taxes.


If you added in Utah and subtracted Nevada it comes to $221 Billion that the "old" USA would get back over a 20 year period and that AZ would lose.

So really, I'm taking a hit on the chin to keep the most vocal complainers at the party? You're welcome.

How sharper is the serpent's tooth it is to have an ungrateful (and ignorant) child.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Latitude 35°x114°

"The attitude behind them(secession petitions), though, is fundamentally un-American."

Quite the contrary, secssion is the epitome of America... Please take a moment to read the Declaration of Indepence... and the U.S. Supreme Court has been wrong before...

Agree or not with the secession issue, to call someone un-American merely for holding a view you disagree with is... un-American! )

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

So your answer is to just keep going as we have, more programs, more underachievers living off of hard working tax payers money and those people becoming more poor as time goes on. No sir, I work hard for my money and I don't want it squandered by politicians who don't care where the money goes because it doesn't effect their wallet, time to dump this government either through secession or civil war.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Patriot WES

no need to worry about secession in the first place. Obama will just ignore this just as he does our laws and the Constitution. The only time he will pay attention to it is if it can be used to his advantage. Your statement that one side just says no and you want this to change. What you are really saying is you want the republicans to cave and let socialism get here faster than what it already is. Extreme circumstances call for extreme action. You haven't seen anything yet, wait until they want to take our guns away by a treaty with the United Nations. This secssion movement will seem pretty small !

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