As Americans brace for the turbulent times the next four years will bring, some have opened up the discussion of secession. It happens from time to time, and it is usually fairly controversial. I’ve tried to ride this wave out and let everyone get it out of their system, but it’s lingering around a little longer than normal, so maybe we should discuss it…
First and foremost, I am a strong proponent of states’ rights. I believe our founders intended for us to operate as states with a loose, administratively-minded federal government to help us to collaborate on issues that need more attention than any one state can provide. To me, there are few things so obvious as the glaring deviation from this initial principle represented by our monstrous, Frankenstein-esque federal government we have now. However, we should be asking ourselves, “Is secession a good idea, or are we just throwing a fit?”
The answer is a complicated one. First, we must ask if states have the right to secede. To that, I stand firmly with a resounding, “Yes.” Now, I also believe everyone has a right to own a gun. However, with that, I also believe that there are many who ought not to own one because they’re just not responsible enough. Likewise, though I believe any state has the right to secede, I do not, necessarily, believe it to always be the best course.
As states petition for the right to peacefully secede, these efforts are being mocked on the right and left. That is wrong. We should always be willing to have these discussions and be continually encouraging people and states to weigh their options when fighting for the right to self-determination.
These pundits on the left who mock these efforts do so because they cannot fathom a nation comprised of fifty states who largely govern themselves; so to them, such talk is as absurd as it is radical.
Those on the right who mock these efforts do so from fear of being labeled radical. They should focus their attention on explaining why these efforts are not a good idea instead of attempting to undermine the concept of states’ rights. If one believes secession is a bad idea, then speak up. However, we should not aim to discourage the weighing of options as we head towards ruin. We need an open forum to discuss ideas- both good and bad.
Perhaps a better idea than secession is a revisiting of past concepts, relegated to brief mentions in history textbooks. While it still remains somewhat of a controversial topic (even in its own time), perhaps we should review the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions that sought to clarify the sovereignty of states. The Resolutions, in short, were declarations that stressed nullification of federal laws that states found to be unconstitutional. While this may sound radical, nullification is a grey-area of constitutional law that could allow states to function more autonomously without outright secession.
Again, I am not advocating merely one idea. I am, however, urging Americans everywhere to open this dialogue with government and activists and explore our options as states and, more importantly, our options as citizens.
I am for fixing the problems of our nation, first and foremost. I believe there are valid reasons why these states look to separate from an obnoxious and power-hungry federal government, especially in the case of Texas, who was an independent Republic before being a state.
This talk of secession is a manifestation of frustration by the American people, and we need to view this as an opportunity for discussion, not an opportunity for division. I am not convinced we are at this junction yet, so I still continue to advocate for political involvement. Instead of fleeing, we should work within our system to try everything to scale back the oppressive overreaches of the federal government. I thoroughly understand the frustration, so I will not cast condemnation on any man who feels that secession is the answer. However, I believe that we should not be looking to separate, but looking to get involved in causes and campaigns that seek to remedy the problems here in America first.
It is a difficult thing to be called a radical. I have encountered it, and it is never uttered as a matter-of-fact, but almost always as either a pejorative or a compliment. Some of the world’s greatest heroes and villains have been radicals. We must advocate discussion and ideas over frantic action.