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A Look At The Secessionist Movement

The Motivation

Conservative forces throughout the country are unhappy with a president who continually expands the reach of government, forcing citizens to pay additional taxes in order to keep the poor afloat. These groups are beginning to push for secession forcefully, championing a position that was once confined to the fringe elements of conservative parties. Popular conservative media outlets like Fox News are covering these secessionist movements with no incredulity: they see secession as a viable option for states unhappy with current government trends.

Many states were home to secessionist movements before the election, but Romney’s loss has only served as fuel for these movements, which hold Obama responsible for the degradation of the country. It is a testament to the unhappiness of the nation as a whole that even citizens in blue states like New York have filed petitions to secede.

The goal of these movements, of course, is the hope that states could re-assert their dominance in areas that traditionally belong to the states. Education and healthcare are some of the biggest areas that frustrated citizens are working desperately to return to the dominion of the states. Nobody can argue with the idea that should the federal government remain in control of these policy areas, our country will pick up speed as it heads for failure. The federal government continually seizes power from the states, and it should surprise nobody that citizens are coming together to re-assert their power as voters and activists.

White House Petitions

The White House has added a new segment to their website for petitions from citizens. Intended to create better communication between the general public and White House officials, a petition “requires” a response once it has reached 25,000 signatures. That means that a team at the White House will consider the request and prepare an official response for the administration. Some of the more eccentric petitions on the site include things like “re-declaring independence” and legalizing mushrooms; at the moment, there are 248 petitions on a range of issues. However, all fifty states have citizens who are currently petitioning for secession, though at this time, only eleven states have amassed enough signatures to require a White House response. While there are red states across the country pushing for secession, each of the eleven that require a response is located in the South.

The petition for Texas to secede from the Union currently has over 110,000 signatures, more than any other state moving to secede. Texas is currently pursuing almost twenty lawsuits against the federal government; many of their claims revolve around the constitutionality of Obama’s universal healthcare plan and the necessary impact on the states. There are states (and citizens) all across the country that are actively campaigning to involve more community members in the secession movement. These petitions, however, are citizen-based and not official state petitions for permission to secede.

The Reality of Secession

While many secession activists push for autonomy in the hopes of freeing states from the grasp of the overreaching federal government, many of these individuals fail to carefully consider the changes that would occur in terms of every day government operations.

Things that would cease to be provided by the federal government that seceding states would be responsible for include:

  • Highway, bridge, road, and transportation maintenance will cease if state agencies do not immediately institute programs to resume these functions. This also means that air traffic controllers at airports (who are, after all, federal employees) would immediately be moved to airports within the United States, and states would have to shut down airports until new air controllers could be trained. A flight from Texas to the United States would become as onerous as international travel, with a Texas passport and U.S. travel visa required in order to travel. Citizens would be unable to travel to the U.S. without a passport from their new country.
  • All U.S. military bases will be closed and relocated to locations within the United States. Not only would this affect the lives of each military family current located within a seceding state, it would also drastically impact the local economies of the (now independent) countries. Much of the economic activity in an area surrounding a military base depends on the consumer spending of military officers and their families, and relocating these bases would create a chain economic reaction.
  • All Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare programs will cease, along with disability and unemployment programs. Because individuals do not currently pay into a state fund for any of these items, it would likely be years before states could re-start operational versions of these programs. In some states, these programs would likely cease to exist.
  • Border patrol between Texas and Mexico (as well as Coast Guard forces in the Gulf of Mexico) would cease to operate, and states with borders to other countries or bodies of water would be forced to deploy their own forces to defend against external threats.

The truth is that no matter the White House response to these secessionist movements, there are insurmountable legal barriers between the states and secession. Legally, the president does not have the right to allow a state to secede, and no legal framework to do so exists. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that the Union is composed of “indestructible states”: a contract, in other words, that cannot be broken. If any state were to successfully secede, they would likely have to force a constitutional amendment allowing secession through first. With enough liberal voters in the country, it is unlikely that legal procedure would change enough in the next twenty years to allow secession.

While almost no state is equipped to take over all federal functions, these secessionist movements can, at the least, serve a powerful political purpose. With citizens in every single state pushing for the secession, the federal government may finally have to take heed of citizen complaints about overreaching federal power. The Constitution also reminds us that the power of the federal government comes from the people, and movement has the potential to allow us as a nation to reclaim that power.

©2012 Off the Grid News

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5 comments

  1. I’m sure it was “illegal” for the 13 colonies to secede too.

    Not that I expect ANY State to EVER secede at this point.

  2. I wish to counter a few of the arguments put forth by the author. First, the people nor the states need permission from the president or any other part of the Federal government. The petitions are a statement of the willingness of the citizens to go to that extreme. So let’s imagine that a state or even several states successfully proclaim themselves seceded from the Union. The author tells us that this, that and the other will cease to exist. Let us look at those claims.

    Highways, roads and bridges are already taken care of by the states. Presently, they use mostly Federal dollars. After secession, the tax monies that were going to the IRS will stay at home within those states. Air traffic controllers are people who live in those states. I would imagine that many if not most will choose to remain in the state they live and continue to do the job. After secession, their paycheck will come from the state in which they work. If the seperation is amicable, I do not forsee any problems with passports between the seceeded states and the states that remain in the Union. If it is a contentious parting, there could be some problems. But we have normalized relations with every country we have ever gone to war with (except North Korea) and one is able to travel even to Vietnam on a US passport. Why would it be different for a seceeded state?

    US bases in the seceeded states might very well close. But they are just as likely to be allowed to remian open, or to be turned over to the state military department. National Guard budgets would increase because once again, the IRS would not be getting the state’s money.

    Entitlement programs would indeed take a hit. However, what a great opportunity to clean up the corruption and waste in those programs, or to wean the citizens off of these programs and into a more viable and sustainable solution.

    Do you truly think that border patrols between Texas and Mexico would cease? I think they would be stepped up higher than ever. The politics of the United States and the politics of Texas are far apart. Every rancher along the border would be jumping at the chance to increase their state’s security.

    As far as what the Supreme Court has ruled, the Supreme Court has allowed usurpations of our constitution for almost as many years as that document has existed. And if a state seceeds, it is declaring themselves not subject to the jurisdiction of that body. It’s like the burning question surrounding the emancipation proclamation. How does a President of country A proclaim that all slaves in country B (which are not under his control) are free, yet the slaves still held in country A (which ARE under his control) are not free? There will be no need to force a constitutional amendment. If I don’t want to belong to your club anymore, I do not require a change in the club bylaws to allow me to go. I just don’t show up to the meetings anymore.

    • Bamarebl you make some valid points. I have considered this along a similar line but with a twist:

      Instead of out and out secession, why couldn’t a state act as a funnel for federal taxes? In this scenario a state would collect the federal taxes instead of money being sent directly to DC. Since states have existing state counterparts for most federal bureaucracies they could fully fund them first rather than letting DC hold the carrot on the stick. DC would lose control (oh damn!).

      Each state could then fund any necessary programs and simply discard the rest.

      But each state should still contribute to the common defense by helping to fund the military which would allow states to continue to house the various military installations.

      Why they could even send enough money to keep some of the lights on in DC but I’m “afraid” DC would necessarily shrivel because most of the money would remain in the states.

      This sounds pretty damn similar to what our nation was “in the beginning”.

  3. I have been doing a bit of paying attention to this topic for a few weeks. I believe it has been reported that there was a contract signed by the confederate states at the conclusion of the civil war that stated there would be no more secession at least from the states that made up the defeated confederacy. I believe personally it is in the least an extremely complicated issue with many unforeseen circumstances to be reconciled. The idea is very interesting none the less.

  4. A BIG eventual question as was faced by our great grandfathers at Fort Sumter. Who will fire the first shot?

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