As of the writing of this post, some 41 states have petitions filed for secession, those states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georiga  , Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri , Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York , North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio , Oklahoma , Oregon, Pennsylvania , Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah , Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin,and Whyoming . In another twist of events, there are also two petitions that call for the deportation, and stripping of citizenship of any person who signed a petition for the secession of their state , which has in total 11,769 signatures.
In any case, most of the petitions have a quote directly taken from the Declaration of Independence, which is read as:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government…”
The cherry picked section of this superb document is disgraceful given the circumstances, when the very next statement reads as:
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
For one, these petitions don’t actually explain the reasons for which they want to secede, with the exception of Texas – which actually cites the TSA and NDAA among others as the reason for which they wish to secede, which we’ll get to momentarily. Regardless, ‘transient’ means “lasting only for a short time” – anything relating to economics fluctuates, and considering Texas’ citation of bad accounting in Congress, I would have to say that’s a transient issue. Moving on, I am overwhelmingly fascinated by this angst, and anger towards a federal government when state governments have done more to destroy rights and liberties than the federal government, or such is the perceived trend. As far as I am concerned, those who have signed these petitions are those who would rather secede, than to be a part of the solution that they themselves help to maintain and perpetuate!
We do not live under a despot! Despotism is defined as the exercise of absolute power in a cruel and oppressive way, involving a country or political system by which the ruler holds absolute power. The people of this country have the power, not political parties. As long as we continue to elect those that create and pass legislation that we don’t like, we will continue to suffer the consequences. Read the Decelaration of Independence – their outline was against a King, a dictator, a person who controlled the lives of civilians in 13 colonies that, for all intents and purposes, the king was ruthless against! It was a problem for which they, themselves, could not resolve without abandonment of said despotism – it was a long train of abuses and usurpation. But our democracy, our republic, demands from its people activism. Lack of activism and participation still construes the notion that they oblige all transgressions! Silence, in and of itself, is voluntary acceptance until that silence is broken to suggest otherwise.
This leads me to the petition for Texas, which has over 80,000 signatures. The petition cites the NDAA, which is unfortunately vague, as it is a federal law specifying the budget of the United States Department of Defense. Activism requires, that when there is a legislative transgression upon rights and liberties, that people speak up to government, to those elected officials. The NDAA of 2012 passed the house with 322 Yes votes, and 96 No votes. 227 Republicans, and 95 Democrats voted for its passage – or, 97% of House Republicans, and 51% of House Democrats. OUR Republican form of government, THESE United States, DEMAND from its people, in order to maintain a more perfect Union, that THOSE who see this legislation as an encroachment upon their rights to petition their government to abolish said legislation. It requires its people to call for impeachments, to vote someone else in, to VOTE, to be informed, to be vocal, and to participate.
In any case, I was asked if it was treasonous to petition the government for secession. To my knowledge, it is not treasonous, particularly because of the non-violent nature of these petitions. There’s no direct desire to overthrow the federal government, and to this end, it would not be considered treason. On the other hand, there’s a philosophical black hole, because when states begin to secede, it destroys the Union, and in effect, eradicates the binding nature of the constitution to its respective states. The 10 Amendment would crumble if every state were to secede, at which point the constitution would be meaningless in the grand scope of things. Treason is defined in Chapter 18 of the United States Code, Chapter 115, sections 2381, 2383, 2385, & 2386.
The language given within these sections discusses violent overthrow or destruction of the United States. Given that these petitions are peaceful (such is the language used), it would be a grievous construction of argumentation to suggest that these sections conclude that a petition to secede is a treasonable offense. This being the case – it is not treason.
That all having been said, it would also be prudent to read the United States Supreme Court Case, Texas v. White (1868) [74 U.S. 700], whereupon Chief Justice Salmon Chase stated:
“Not only, therefore, can there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the States, through their union under the Constitution, but it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States. When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.”
I believe this opinion to be accurate. Consent of the States, will most likely not happen, as it would most likely require Congressional approval, and I don’t foresee this bearing fruit. On the other hand, there’s always revolution, and that, according to the sections provided above, would classify as treason. These people quote a truly patriotic movement to create a perfect union, and yet, they petition to destroy it. It’s disgraceful, it’s not patriotic, and it’s what happens when feeble minds entertain weak ideas built upon ignorance. Indeed, our problems are from within – but the functionability and productivity of Congress, and the proclivity to do the right thing requires an active electorate as the fundamental means for checks and balances.
This leads me to another point of contention, using data gathered from Poole and Rosenthal (DW-NOMINATE scores) that place homogeneous ideology among members of congress on a scale from -1 to 1 (-1 being radical liberal, and 1 being radical conservative), we see that Congress is overwhelmingly divided. Actually, the last time it was as divided as it is now, was in 1885 during the 49th Congress. Moderates in either party have essentially been kicked out, and both parties have grown to the extremes. Though, Conservatives are more conservative than liberals are liberal (-0.384 vs 0.448) I generated the distance as 0.832. Regardless, the point that I am making is that Congress is overwhelmingly divided, and those who are entering into Congress, along with those who remain, have grown to be more partisan, and more often than not vote along party lines, rather than conviction. Any grievances for which the people of this government face, voluntarily accept it when they continue to elect these people into those positions of power.
To this end, there are a number of groups that have previously brought up secession, particularly in the 1990’s. It’s unfortunate that such a movement has such a large support base. Though, it will take time to sift through those petitions, it is likely, in my eyes, that many of those petitions have signatures from individuals that chose to sign all of them, or several. Regardless of this instance, I doubt that Congress, or the President, would ever allow cession to happen, and if it were to entertain the Supreme Court in full thought and scope, I imagine that it would be a unanimous decision to support Chief Justice Salmon Chase, in Texas v. White (1868). This is not to suggest that we should trivialize this heated movement. There’s nothing trivial about it. In fact, it jeopardizes foreign relations, and it makes the United States look childish when half a million people decide that they want the Union to collapse. Is it a coincidence that this all occurred so shortly after the election? It’s a possibility, but I have no desire to entertain the notion.
You can be a part of the problem, or you can be a part of the solution. Being a part of the problem means continually voting against your interests, and giving power to those who will abuse it. Being a part of the problem is also attempting to secede your state. The solution requires activism, not secession.
And, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment, or email me.