Mares: Secession Revisited

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(Host) With post-election petitions to secede flowing into the White
House, writer, former state legislator and commentator Bill Mares
reflects on real and fanciful moves to leave the Union .

Since President Obama’s re-election, numerous petitions to secede from
the union have arrived at the White House. They’re made up of
approximately 600,000 signatures from all 50 states – or roughly 2
tenths of one percent of all Americans. The hotbed of this modern-day
secession movement is Texas , whose governor Rick Perry referred to it
publicly during his brief run for the presidency. The Texas secede web
site insists that, "…it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw
from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of
living and re-secure their rights and liberties…"

Secession is a
topic I’ve thought about before. 25 years ago, UVM prof essor Frank
Bryan and I wrote a book that speculated about how Vermont might secede
from the union. We titled it, "OUT, The Vermont Secession Book" with the
sub-title, "We won’t make that mistake again." We invented a covenant
supposedly signed by Ethan Allen and George Washington giving Vermont
the right to secede whenever we became sufficiently angered by federal
actions. We imagined a currency backed by pure maple syrup which was
stored in the Granite quarries of Barrie . We proposed to sell products
like fresh air, Bag-Balm, dried cow manure and hand-size plots of land
(100 square inches) so that millions could own "a piece of Vermont." And
so on . We me ant the book to be a satirical spoof. But these New
Secessionists – like the "birther movement" to cast doubt on Obama’s
citizenship – are no joke.

I grew up in Texas so I know from
experience how some residents of the Lone Star State view the world . My
elementary school textbook was titled "The true history of the war
between the states, from a southerners’ point of view." We were taught
that in 1845, the United States joined Texas in a new Union. And a
popular song of the era was "Save that confederate money boys, The South
will rise again."

But the urge to secede isn’t limited to
either the South or the Conservative Right. Before the Election six
different friends sent me an open internet letter proposing that the
Blue states should secede if Romney won – because, among other things,
they claimed that:

62% of those in the Red states believe life
is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say
that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 ,
and 38% that Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale.

in most of the country cooler heads have prevailed. At Mississippi
State University campus newspaper student editors warned against this
"internet sensation" this way:

"To those who signed petitions to
secede from the union, think long and hard about what that signature
implies. Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘A house divided against itself
cannot stand.’"

Finally, the secessionist fire no longer burns
in Rick Perry’s belly. According to his press secretary, "the Governor
believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to
change it."

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