• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

You say you want a revolution?

This seems a little drastic. I mean, we do recall what happened the last time don't we?

Less than a week after a New Orleans suburbanite petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede from the United States, petitions from seven states have collected enough signatures to trigger a promised review from the Obama administration.

By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.

A petition from Vermont, where talk of secession is a regular feature of political life, was the final entry.

Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North CarolinaTennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals.

Naturally Vermont would be in there, and of course Texas would lead the way on signatures collected. I've visited the state frequently, and sometimes I think half the people there still think the place is an independent republic -- and they act accordingly.

Now, don't go dragging out your dusty old Constitution -- it's silent on the matter of secession. The Supreme Court did speak on the matter once, in the case of, um, Texas v White, in which it said that the entry of Texas into the United States was its entry into "an indissoluble relation." So, there. Stuff a copy of the Second Amendment down the barrel and stow that musket in the attic.

But the issue is an interesting one to talk about, for a lot of reasons. One is purely economic. How many of the 50 states could survive on their own, without their connections to other states and the federal government? Texas certainly could -- during some periods in recent years, more new jobs were created there than in the rest of the states combined. It might be a little more problematical for other states, but I suppose it could be argued that without our federal taxes and other obligations, almost any state would have a decent shot at success. I mean. we've got a lot of corn and soybeans here in Indiana we can sell to other countries, and we could always put up toll gates on all our borders. "Just passin' through, pardner? That'll be $100, please."

And one big reason is philosophical. How much do we really believe all that "founding principle" stuff about freedom and liberty? Don't we still really mean it when we talk about having a God-given or natural right to the pursuit of happiness? Shouldn't that pursuit include the ability to divorce ourselves from the current power structure? After all, what we call the American Revolutuion was actually a war of secession, which we waged after declaring the necessity to "dissolve the politican bands" that had connected us "with another." Of course, our attitudes were a little different about 85 years or so later. We were like the push-cart vendor who went on the establish a great department store then petitioned to have push-cart vendors banned. Autonomy is fine when we want it, but when you do -- are you kidding?

We have the "right" to as much independence as we can demand and back up with the credible threat of force. We should know that from our own history -- one war of secession succeeded on our soil, and one failed. And since the attitude about the central government has shifted drastically since our founding -- it's amazing how much oppression we'll put up with when it's accompanied by sufficient amounts of other people's money -- these petition signers can't be regarded as anything but a handful of cranks.