Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Secession?



 Rally for Texas Secession on March 2 (Texas Independence Day), 2011 
in Austin

 Since the election last week, there are now petitions for secession flying around the internet with petitions and letters and new movements, etc.  To no one's surprise, Texas leads the effort with the most successful petition drives.

Texas is a special case, though I think some states could make a stronger argument for secession.  Texas was an independent republic for about 9 years from 1836 to 1845, recognized only by the French who had imperial designs on Mexico.  The only other state with a similar history is Vermont.  On the other hand, Hawaii was an independent kingdom, centuries old, recognized as a sovereign state by nearly everyone, and came into the United States through subversion and military conquest.  It seems to me that they have the strongest case for secession.

Texas seceded once before in 1861 to join the Confederacy.  The legislature and a special convention to consider secession put the issue up for a popular vote.  Secession won by a landslide.  The only other Confederate state where secession won with a higher margin was South Carolina.  Sam Houston refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy, and was deposed as governor.  And the rest is history.  There were large parts of the state population that opposed secession and resisted Confederate rule, especially among the German towns of the Texas Hill Country, and in North Texas (where my Unionist ancestors lived in Waxahachie and Midlothian).

Since the early 1990s, there has been a small vociferous independence movement in Texas.  They are now bitterly divided into factions with many of their founders in prison for minor acts of terrorism.  They have almost no popular support in the state, at least until last Tuesday.

I don't think secession will happen.  Texas is not the same place it was in 1861, and has far more to lose by leaving the USA than by staying.  There are enormous military facilities in Texas: Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, Fort Bliss, Lackland Air Force Base, Corpus Christi NAB, etc.  They certainly wouldn't fold like Fort Sumter after a night of bombardment by artillery.  And if they close down and leave, that would devastate the state's economy.
A big part of the Texas economy depends on defense contracting.  Just ask Ross Perot who got rich off government contracts, or big defense contractors like Texas Instruments.

Also, if Texas voted to secede, it would split apart.  The very Latino southernmost part of the state (San Antonio south to the Rio Grande) voted overwhelmingly for Obama and has always been reliably Democratic.  They would not go along with any secession, and certainly would not return the territory to Mexico.  Most of urban Texas would not go along with secession.  A new Republic of Texas would not have the same borders as the State of Texas.

There's no guarantee that the petroleum industry would stay in Texas.  Multinational corporations have no national loyalties and they don't like political instability.  They could and probably would leave Houston rather than take their chances with an independent, and divided, Texas.

If we go back and read the original 1861 Declaration of the Causes of Secession in Texas, we can find plainly stated what drives all of this nationalism:
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.

The aim of Texas Secessionists was and is to found their own little Orange Free State for a separate white tribe.

The left frequently is accused of sedition and treason, but in practice, only the right can bring it off.  The far-right monarchist generals who commanded the French military decided in 1940 that they would rather live under German occupation than under the French Third Republic.

***

For awhile now, some people in this very polarized country have talked darkly about a second civil war.  I've heard this from both the right and the left.  The right sees it as an opportunity for independence and revenge against enemies real and imagined.  The left sees this as a kind of purgative apocalypse in which the scales fall from the eyes of the oppressed and they see the true nature of their condition for the first time, a very fond wish.
In both cases, I would say, "Be careful what you wish for."

The first Civil War was bad enough.  Anyone remember that the total number of deaths from that war was around 625,000?  The Civil War remains the deadliest conflict in American history.

What would a second Civil War be like?  I think it would be nothing like the first one.  The USA would split, not into 2, but into 4 or more warring factions.  The splits would not be along state lines as in the first.  States themselves would split up.  This second Civil War I think would look a lot like the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.  Instead of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, we'd have a series of civilian massacres and counter-massacres.  It would be war by terrorism.   Instead of Billy Yank versus Johnny Reb, there would be no clear armies of blue and grey.  There would be a host of separate paramilitaries with their own political ambitions. This second Civil War would end with no clear winner, but with foreign intervention and a peace settlement imposed by foreign powers that would keep the USA permanently divided.


Detail of the Lincoln Memorial showing part of the list of states 


EXTRA:
The sources of most of these secession petitions remain mysterious, but one of them has been identified, the former owner of a "topless carwash", Derrick Belcher of Chunchula, Alabama.
"Derrick B.,” the man who started a petition seeking Alabama’s withdrawal from the U.S., is a truck driving, knife collecting former owner of a topless car wash who describes himself as “an absolute Libertarian.”
Derrick Belcher, 45, of Chunchula, said in an interview late Monday that secession may be the only way to save working Americans from crushing debt, burdensome federal regulations and rising taxes.
“I don’t want to live in Russia. I don’t believe in socialism,” said Belcher, an operations manager for a Mobile trucking company. “America is supposed to be free."

Remarkable that after 20 years, so few people seem to have gotten the news that the Cold War is over, and that the Soviet Union is no more, that Russia is now an oligarchic state where capitalism in its rawest form runs wild, where a newly powerful Orthodox Church effectively uses the power of the state to enforce church teachings and advance its interests.

Also remarkable is the idea that patriotism ends at the business ledger.  God Bless America, until the profits turn to losses.

Hat tip to JoeMyGod.


9 comments:

Wormwood's Doxy said...

The sharp divides in my own family over this election have been extremely worrisome. There has been a level of craziness in some of the talk I've heard that is frightening---stuff that is completely divorced from reality. And those folks have guns. Lots of them.

I don't know what to do about it. I don't think most of the people in this country are in any mood to put up with the kind of secessionist claptrap we're hearing in Texas and Louisiana. But we've all been too complacent about the BS that gets spewed by the hatemongers over the airwaves.

It's time for the Fourth Estate to get off their asses and do their job. It's time for people to stop making false equivalences between competing arguments when one side of the "debate" is just looneytunes.

Basically, it's time for people to stop acting as if democracy is someone else's responsibility. It cannot survive without an engaged and informed citizenry. If the only people who are engaged are informed by nutjobs, we're screwed.

Ciss B said...

Sadly I believe the first Civil War set the idea that the South was a separate entity in stone and from there came the idea that, "if you don't vote the way I see fit, I need to free of you." There hasn't been since then the idea of blame rather than acceptance and moving on, or even working toward the change. That, in my opinion, comes from an idea that God is on their side attitude. That's where our country has truly gone wrong...

it's margaret said...

"--centuries old, recognized as a sovereign state by nearly everyone, and came into the United States through subversion and military conquest."

I live in a sovereign State within the US borders --legally such by treaty. There are several such States. It's not so hard to imagine.

Bill Ghrist said...

Just an aside to note that one state did split in the Civil War--creating "almost heaven" West Virginia.

Tristan Alexander said...

I think we should just reject Texas and make them leave the Union! See how they like that!

MarkBrunson said...

There's been similar lunacy in Georgia. I laughed in the face of one of them and asked what would happen if we did secede and Ft. Benning, the Marine Corps Logistics Base, etc. all moved away, the jobs and soldiers with them. He looked taken aback and actually said - here's the punchline, folks! - "But . . . but the soldiers would be ours then . . . right?" It was up to me, to explain that secession is not a game of marbles.

MFB III Productions (c)-2012-All Rights Reserved. said...

[b]So they're signing petitions to secede from the union like the southern states did to keep their precious slaves...20 states breaking off cause they can't stand Obama thinking this will cause trauma in the land of the brave. I say let them have at it, let them start their own country, but put guards on the borders of the states who have dared to split what's united it's time we denied them the wealth of this nation that they always have shared.
No imports nor exports will enter their strongholds all that's made in the U.S.will remain out of reach, they want to be self sufficient, let's just see how proficient they'll all be with no restocks there are lessons to teach. When they run low on food and on medicine too, let the red states create what they'll need to survive, they can always be farmers plowing's a great disarmer when they have to grow all that they need to survive. When they run out of fuel they can all just start fracking till they use up the water in the states that are dry....
4.5 million gallons each time they go drilling but they'll all have their fill for the cars that they drive. And if monster tornadoes two thousand miles long destroy several cities I'm sure they'll get along without "federal aid," to help rebuild their losses, throw in droughts and some floods and I'm sure they'll be strong. Cause they don't believe in the words "global warming" they think greening's a joke, till disaster has struck We'll send in the Red Crossin exchange for deserters who are tired of secession and have run out of luck.
And if some foreign nation comes to bring them damnation, cause twenties a lot less then fifty strong states, no military will save them they can raise a militia, against a much stronger army as they fall to their fates. Plus their elderly and poor will have to be taken care of, cause they won't have welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, they don't do socialism so I guess folks will die if you live in a red state you'd best get out of there. All the gays and the blacks, the Hispanics and immigrants' who are legally there better run to what's blue, Democrats and independents better run for the Border when the mess hits the fan they won't take care of you. Which I think is quite funny cause the only one's leftin the red states will be a vast .......minority of rednecks and rich folks racists and neo-nazisand some good Christian folks doing what Jesus wouldn't do! And if you have seceded
you must each get a passport if you'd like to go visit relatives in blue zones otherwise you'll be treated as aliens and imprisoned for illegal entry and then returned to your homes. It's a really big step, into elephant manure but if you want to take it then you might as well dive into huge piles of dung cause you'll have to adapt to living with so much less till the day that you die. I say let them petition and then grant them the rightbut restrict them to the states where they've chosen to live as a separate nation, till their insane creations, sends them begging for mercy for any help we can give.
If you don't love this country that has always stood United, then you should be divided into a different class, then when your resources dwindle and patriotisms rekindled,you'll come back to the U.S. where we might let you pass. But you'll be marked with a status
of illegal immigrants and we'll offer you jobs that don't pay very well, you can wash all our laundry and landscape our houses, and pick fruits and veggies, that our farmers can sell. And you'll have to take classes to regain what you've lost, the right of citizenship
in the true U.S.A. so go ahead sign petitions we're taking note of each name, so you won't come back whining that Obama's too blame.

MFB III productions-(c)-2012 All Rights Reserved said...

I will wish you all well in your secession hell, The United Republic of Red-iculous States, But I'll see you round soon sweeping floors with a broom and in the back of some kitchen cleaning up dirty plates.
Take the Palin's and the Boehners and old Donald Trump with you, take the Romneys and Ryans and don't forget Karl Rove, send an invite to Bush ,take his brother Jeb with you I'm sure they'll all be eager when it comes time to go. But remember to bow down
to the poison you serve, and don't come crying when you get all the pain you deserve....
you're sure to make history as the world's greatest failures, but at least you'll have company in your sheer misery, so start building those fences, keep what's blue from your land, "Heck, if you lend me a hammer I'll even give you a hand....cause it's traitors like you that I truly can't stand.

MFB III Productions
Art~Whimsically Yours Studio
(c)-2012
Godspeed to the United 30 States Of America
"Long may she rule and prosper without
the obstructionist and the treasonous amongst us."[/b]

Counterlight said...

For the record, MFB III Productions whoever you are,
I do not endorse anyone's secession. I think Lincoln was right. That's why I added that picture of a detail of the Lincoln Memorial.