Don’t get me wrong. I can understand not liking it when your candidate doesn’t win. I can understand not liking it when a candidate you really dislike (for whatever reason, however serious or silly) wins instead. But secession? Really?
Forget for a moment that those calling for secession seem incredibly likely to be of the same subset of America that called anyone who questioned President Bush, a wartime president, unpatriotic. Like it or not, President Obama is a wartime president. I’m sure they’ve connected the dots for the sake of consistency and fairness.
Forget for a moment how pro-democracy would-be secessionists appear to be…as long as their teams wins, however marginally.
Forget all that. That road only leads to unfortunate characterizations and divisiveness. The same kind of divisiveness that has 80,000 Texans and others from around the country clamoring for secession. Besides, it was a Founding Father that said we need the occasional revolution, right?
I’m sure the appeal of it must be amazing to someone who thinks it’s a good idea. Since I’m not one of them, I fail to see it. Off the top of my head, here’s a few little problems with secession that I don’t think the secession enthusiasts have thoroughly considered. Maybe I’m mistaken.
Let’s assume these angry Americans succeed. Well, succeed in convincing a sufficient percentage of their state populations that secession is a good idea, that is. I know, I know, we’re entering the realm of fantasy here, but bear with me. Let’s assume the issue makes it to the statehouse (or statehouses, plural). Let’s assume state legislatures make the big vote. Let’s assume the governor (or governors) support it. Let’s make believe…
What will a seceding state’s first order of business be? Have the secessionists thought that far ahead? I’m assuming, for the sake of brevity, that some kind of new constitutional convention for each state will be in order, some manner of establishing home rule. These things take a little time to hammer out. I should hope that while they consider the matter of a new constitution, assuming that’s the road they take, they’ll consider how to structure their new government in a way that won’t fail them like democracy did. That, in itself, would be well worth watching.
I should hope they would take into consideration what kind of military force they would build. An all-volunteer standing army? A military with ranks supported by a draft? Who will be the commander in chief? The generals, admirals, and other high-ranking officers? I’m sure that a state seriously considering secession must have a dream team in mind, replete with diplomats and even an intelligence agency or three.
So, if we’ve made it this far, there’s a constitutional convention, comprising delegates (selected how, exactly?) debating how best to raise the military force necessary to defend their new interests. Maybe they settle on volunteer vs. draft and do drum up a dream team to lead them. Where will they be based? What will they wear? How will they be provisioned? How armed? How trained?
Oh, funding. Maybe, like our Founding Fathers, Founding Fathers (rebels or freedom fighters, you decide) will pony up their personal wealth. Enjoy speculating about which wealthy capitalists will do that. Surely they’ll have plenty of US funds to draw on, right? Unfrozen US funds? No? Oh, there is that, isn’t there? Good thing there’s gold bugs with tons and tons of bullion just waiting to start their own gold-backed currency by way of an unregulated state banking establishment who will be willing to fund the war on credit.
War? Now hold on a blessed second. Who said anything about war? People want to peacefully secede, right? Or not. Either way, consider this. Up to the day before secession, the Union counted among its national assets assets within the borders of the seceding state. Upon secession, the Union will just be nice and let the seceding state take those resources, right? Certainly, the Drone Strike President won’t even contemplate using force, covert or otherwise, to secure those assets!
And speaking of assets, let’s consider those for a moment. Our lucky secessionist will hail from a territory that has abundant agricultural resources, including fresh water that won’t require complicated treaty arrangements for it to not be dammed up before it gets there. They’ll have ample mineral resources. Ample energy resources. A sufficient manufacturing base ready to be tooled up, first for war, then for reconstruction after they prevail. I should hope so. Otherwise the seceding territory will have to have those items imported. Maybe the Union will kindly export food, raw materials, and manufactured goods to the new Free Territory, even during hostilities. If not, maybe a US ally will. Clearly there won’t be any sanctions, right? After all, the US doesn’t have a history of imposing crippling sanctions anywhere, does it?
Luckily, there are other nations in the world beside US allies. Maybe Venuzuela will come to the rescue with oil. Maybe China will gladly invest in Territorial natural resources, as they do in developing nations, to fund this little holiday from the US. Nevermind that they will fully expect a monopoly over those resources and have a history of bringing in their own personnel. Maybe Iran will share its alleged developing nuclear arms technology. Or maybe Kim Jong-un will supply a nuke or three, if only for giggles.
Assume all these conditions and their prerequisites are met. I’m sure I’ve forgotten most of the things a seceding state needs to do in order to become a successful nation. After all, I haven’t really put much thought into it. Exporters are beating the door down to provide the budding new Free Territory with goods and services that it can’t produce itself. They’ll have no trouble getting those resources to the Territory, right? I mean, it’s got coastline that won’t be blockaded, or New Freedomstan will have a navy capable of taking out any one of the US fleets? No? Good thing there’s air transport. Certainly the US won’t establish a no-fly zone that would prevent such deliveries. No? *whew* That leaves roads for the fortunate land-locked New Freedomstan. Good thing the roads into and out of the territory won’t be shut down from the other side!
So. There we have it. By the same miracle that endows the Ryan plan with budgetary sense, New Freedomstan has seceded, successfully, established itself as a nation, prevailed through superior force, and can now engage freely in the world marketplace because there aren’t any sanctions. The UN will welcome New Freedomstan with open arms, not that NF really cares. To hell with the UN! Who needs a seat at the table while the rest of the world negotiates everything?
Congratulations, New Freedomstan. You will have arrived on the world scene and can get down to brass tacks once all of your funding isn’t directed to just getting your feet on the ground. You can establish an educational system sufficient to your national goals. Or not. You can establish a health care system that will meet the needs of your population. Or not. You can build your infrastructure to satisfy your every need. There will be peace across the land. Only the right religions will be part of the social fabric (which specific denominations remains to be seen). Men will stop raping because only virtuous women will be part of New Freedomstan. There will be no more out-of-wedlock births. Abortions just won’t be needed, so why even bother outlawing them? Divorce will be against law because of the sanctity of marriage. And all of this will be supported entirely by goodwill because, after all, there won’t be any taxes. No taxes, no need to worry about who has to pay, and how much. Your free market will be unfettered. Monopolies will develop and naturally return to their altruistic ways.
That just leaves getting rid of all those pesky minorities and immigrants. Decisions, decisions. Pogroms? Genocide? Forced sterilization? Slavery?
Congratulations and good luck on your promising future. Your best days are ahead! When you get a passport, I would encourage you to visit our humble nation. We’ve got a lot to offer the adventurous tourist.
Image credit: Clip art courtesy of openclipart.org.