Today, citizens in 20 States over in the US have petitioned the White House’s ‘We Are The People’ site to secede from the Union, based on their continued bitterness that their preferred candidate-for-insanity didn’t win the election.
Amusingly, the secession petitions carry with them a quote from the Declaration:
“…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…”
- Deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. Well, the governed just democratically chose not to give any power to your candidate. Deal with it. That’s democracy. The form of government has not become destructive to that end. You lost. Democracy doesn’t mean you must win, all the time. If you want to secede, because you lost the election, then you absolutely do not understand democracy or America. It really is amazing what a bunch of regressive idiots will do when a man with dark skin is in the White House.
It is interesting to me, that New York has a petition. It has a couple of thousand signatures so far. What a curious understanding of democracy. Their State voted Democrat. The majority of those in New York, are Democrat. So, if a vote was theoretically put to New York State legislature, based on the will of the people, it would lose. What would secessionists then say? Secede, but only the conservative areas of New York? It really is absurd reasoning… again.
They are unhappy that they have been democratically defeated. So, they’re calling for a new democracy. Because apparently that’s what democracy means. If you don’t win, no longer observe the rules of democracy. But call for a new democracy. Based entirely on you winning. Essentially, secede, until you win. Eventually it’ll come down to individual homes. And then their wife will vote against them. And so they’ll secede from the home.
Granted it’s a very small number of Americans that have actually signed the petition. Just to give you some perspective, my article titled Bad day for bigots has so far today received 11,327 views. The State of South Carolina’s petition for secession so far has 10,722 signatures. 4,679,230 people live in the State of South Carolina. So, that’s 0.22% of the population of South Carolina calling for secession. Not even half of 1%. And less than the amount of people who have viewed one article of mine, in less than 12 hours. If we take Texas, which has the most signatures for secession so far with 67,834, and we note that the population of Texas is currently 25,674,681, we see that a weak 0.26% of the Texan population; just over a quarter of 1%… calling for secession. So, a very small number, by anyone’s standards. Unlike this guy, who thinks it’s practically the entire population, and has curiously “never happened before”:
Judging from secession tweets currently occupying Twitter, it would seem that they are citing States Rights (that old chessnut) derived from the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment States:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
- The inference being, that the Federal government under Obama has wrestled too much power away from the States. Oddly, there weren’t too many calls for secession from right winged Americans when Reagan massively expanded Federal payroll, tripled the National Debt, raised taxes in ’82, ’83, ’84, and sold arms to Iran, all whilst covertly funding terrorists throughout Latin America. But I suppose that’s hypocrisy for you.
The Tenth Amendment is quite clear. But it is not the final say the Founders had on the matter of the supremacy of law in the US. Article 6 states:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
- Essentially, Federal law is supreme. State law does not override Federal law. Regardless of the ‘Constitution of Laws of any State’, Federal law is supreme. If Congress votes, and the President signs, and the judges see no unconstitutional problem with the law, then whatever bitter and angry ‘Confederates’ think about the law, it does not change the fact that they must abide by it. In the same way that whilst I dislike the changes the Conservative Party over here have implemented with regards the NHS…. I can’t suddenly call for the city of Leicester to secede from the UK. Well, I could… but i’d be wrong. My side of the argument lost the election in 2010. I have to accept that.
The great enlightenment thinkers that provided the US Constitution certainly realised that there may well be some people, after an election goes against them, that might demand secession. And so Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution states:
“No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or Confederation. No state shall, without the consent of Congress, keep troops, or ships of war in times of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger.”
- Obviously a State, to succeed alone, would have to enter into treaty’s or alliances, or Confederation. Thus breaking the guide set out by the Constitution. The Founders anticipated secessionist nonsense. And they reiterated it AGAIN with Article 4 Section 3:
“Congress will make rules and regulations for territories and for property of the federal government.
- The Federal government owns the land. Specifically, Congress. Congress is empowered by the Constitution, and so cannot act outside of its power. Thus, any secession acted through Congress would be illegal and unconstitutional, rendering it meaningless.
As if that isn’t enough restrictions on right winged States-Rights advocates, then perhaps Article 1 Section 8 Clause 18, which garnered a lot of debate during its ratification process that including it in the Constitution would grant too much power to the Federal Government above the States. Hamilton and Madison argued for its inclusion. And it got included.
The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
- Hamilton used this clause to defend his Bank of America (arguably the biggest centralisation of power in US history).
States, through their representatives to Congress, give up certain State powers when they vote to ratify certain Federal Laws. Those laws that haven’t been given up to Congress, stay within the remit of the States. That is my reading of the entire subject of States Rights. Talk of secession is not only illegal and unconstitutional; it is based on a very simplistic and flawed reading of the Constitution and the motives of the Founders in particular. More than that; it is based on the undemocratic hysterics of “our candidate didn’t win, so we don’t recognise the outcome”.
These people, the very same people who insist on telling everyone what a ‘real’ American is. If you’re Atheist, you’re not a ‘real’ American. If you’re socialist, you’re not a ‘real’ American. If you support gay marriage or abortion, you’re not a ‘real’ American….. are now showing just how American they are, by demanding to leave the Union, simply because they very democratic principles that America was built on, did not turn up the result they wanted. They should be ashamed.
If they feel disenfranchised, then become politically active. Run for office. If your position isn’t gaining enough support……. maybe that’s because people don’t agree with it. Again, that’s democracy. There’s only so many times you can secede from all forms of social governance, before you’re on your own…. living in a Hobbesian hell hole. Grunting, as you chase your prey, with a spear. The point being, eventually, your point of view is not going to be the most popular. This is how democracy works.
I imagine a seceded Tea Party Confederacy would be pretty hellish. Walmart and Starbucks would be the two parties fighting for power. Leave your house and walk out onto the road? Pay for it! Everything is private! Including the roads you walk on. Don’t have police insurance? Well then your property will be robbed, tough. The land of the free! Unless you’re gay. Which would obviously be outlawed, as a sin against the word of the Lord. The land of the free! Where you have the democratic right to vote…. for a conservative…. You get the idea.
Now, obviously the Constitution sets out how States must act when in Union. There is no legal framework for secession, nor is secession legal. But, once seceded (violently), the States obviously wouldn’t have to abide by US law. The problem for them is, they absolutely cannot secede. Their legislatures are bound by oath to fully support the rules set out within it, and the land belongs to the Federal Government. They therefore, can only secede after declaring war.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution
- James Madison, writing in the Federalist Papers Number 44 progresses this point:
The members of the federal government will have no agency in carrying the State constitutions into effect. The members and officers of the State governments, on the contrary, will have an essential agency in giving effect to the federal Constitution.
- State officers must abide by the Constitution. They are compelled by its powers. Therefore, given that the Constitution limits States rights, and places Federal law as supreme, and compels representatives in Congress and State Legislatures to abide by it, by oath, it follows that secession cannot be brought about by legal nor peaceful means. The only way these people can secede, is violent overthrow of their State legislature. And to do that, simply because your candidate lost an election, is abhorrent.
I wrote my political thesis on President Lincoln’s relationship to the pro-slavery movement coming out of the South. And what stands out more than anything, as it does today, is that hysterical right winged lunacy pushed Lincoln into a vehement abolish-slavery position that he absolutely did not support in the run up to his first election win. He simply expressed his intention to prevent the spread of slavery westward, thereby keeping Congress 50% free, 50% slave. The Confederacy did not just want to preserve their right to hold human beings as slaves, they wanted to expand it as far as possible. Lincoln was worried that slavery would be Nationalised. He did not wish to outlaw slavery in the South, until pushed to it, by a manic, overly paranoid Confederacy. An over paranoid Confederacy, that whilst completely discredited, is still in part using the same hysterical tactics it used 150 years ago.
The reason they wish to secede this time is simple; they didn’t win an election.