Calling their bluff on secession
by David Atkins
The drearily predictable calls for secession in the wake of the re-election of the first African-American president have already begun:
In the aftermath of last week's presidential election, residents in at least nineteen states have put up petitions on the government's "We the People" petitioning website seeking the right to secede from the rest of the country.Here's the thing about that:
While the petitions themselves may not be significant, the reaction could be.
Petitions for secession filed from Louisiana and Texas have already received well over 10,000 signatures. Per the website's own rules, petitions that garner 25,000 signatures or more within 30 days require a response from the Obama administration.
Red states, by and large, are moochers. They can't sustain themselves. If California were to secede, the state would have a balanced budget (or nearly balanced.) If Alabama were to secede, it wouldn't be able to pay for its stop signs.
Now, the standard and safe response to calls for secession from the Right is to toe the President's line that we are one people and one nation, not two Americas but a United States of America. That's a great line. But it's not really true. It's not true culturally or even geographically. The same free-state vs slave-state divide that has existed since the founding of this nation is still more or less with us today, in almost the same geographic locations.
This isn't to say that secession is justified or remotely desirable. It isn't. A lot of good people would be badly hurt in red states by a Red State secession. We can't and shouldn't leave them behind.
But at a certain point, as long as these dependent Republican fools are declaring themselves John Galt producers, fantasizing themselves "makers" in a country of takers, it may be important for progressives to simply call their bluff and dare them to secede. They won't do it, and we wouldn't allow it when all is said and done.
But like a good parent with a rebellious teenager who thinks they know it all, sometimes the best course is to say, "Fine. Then leave. Good luck paying your bills!" That sort of response might at least give them pause to consider their actual fiscal realities.