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Secession: A Fool's Game
Nov 19, 2012
When you lose a game or two at the card table, you generally have two choices. You can keep playing or gather up your chips and go home. If you decide on the latter, you can be a man about it and just admit that your skill or your luck played out. Or you can you can whine that the deck was stacked against you. When the game is politics in America, you have to face the fact that the game is going to go on. Trying to cash out is a fool’s choice.
In recent presidential elections, states have become increasingly polarized. A Democratic candidate has a snowball’s chance in El Paso of winning Texas or South Dakota. A Republican candidate will win Massachusetts only under the shade of flying pigs. Unfortunately for Republicans, a number of key states are leaning Democrat in a reliable sort of way. Republicans have lost the popular vote nationwide in five of the last six presidential contests.
It is no wonder, then, that some folks in Republican-leaning states want to leave the table. A bunch of folks in something like twenty states have signed petitions on behalf to those states to secede from the Union. Is this something anyone should be concerned about? No.
It is unclear how many people actually signed the petitions. There is nothing to keep the insurgents from signing petitions in other states, so we may be looking at a group about as large as the total number of Wayne Newton fans. Heck, they may even be the Wayne Newton fans.
Our neo-secessionists may be like fire breathers of old, but they are collectively incapable of warming a single ice fishing hut. They don’t represent the Republican Party or the Tea Party movement, let alone the states wherein they really reside. They’re crackpots.
It is nonetheless a good occasion to consider the old idea of secession. Several years ago I listened to a Civil War reenactor in Confederate garb who told the room that the Constitution guaranteed the rights of states to secede from the Union. I told him afterwards that there was no such thing in the founding document. He seemed confused. He was.
This Republic was ordained and established by We the People of the United States. It can only be dissolved by the same, and not by the people or government of any state or of any group of states. Any doubt about that proposition was settled when Lee surrendered to Grant.
Southerners like to consider themselves gentlemen and so they are on the whole. Secession in the 1860s was not a gentlemanly act. The South participated in an election and then refused to accept the outcome. That’s like agreeing to accept the outcome of a coin toss and then going back on your word. I didn’t vote for Barack Obama, like most of my fellow citizens in South Dakota. He won, fair and square. That means he has my consent to be President. Only a child could pretend otherwise.
Editor's Note: Ken Blanchard is our political columnist from the right. For a left-wing perspective on politics, please look for columns by Cory Heidelberger every other Wednesday on this site.