Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Reflections on America: Secession

Moose Photo from Wyoming Lately, there’s been plenty of talk about secession.  Otherwise intelligent folks (bear with me; I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt) seem to feel that they can either petition for their state to secede from the United States, or – better yet – that they can somehow engineer the mass secession (involuntary) of all states that they don’t like in one sweeping move.

Red states or Southern states, states inhabited by rednecks/racists/Christian fundamentalists/poor people/fat people/unemployed people/[insert derogatory southern stereotype here] getting on your nerves? Ditch ’em! Chances are their inhabitants are all “takers”, living off government largesse, draining the country’s coffers of resources that could be better spent elsewhere.  Why should the fine, upstanding, hardworking, taxpaying “real” Americans be subsidizing these folks? Get ’em outta here!

This sort of talk wouldn’t surprise me here in Texas, where our witless governor likes to throw around the possibility of secession as part of his swaggery, been-out-in-the-sun-too-long cowboy schtick. It has about the same effect on his low-information-voter “base” as poking a stick into a fire ant nest: lots of insane running around and pain, followed by nothing useful. My usual response, screaming at the TV, is “FINE! How’s about YOU secede and leave us the hell alone!!”.  But… I digress.

Photo taken by cassandracarolina in 1973 in Yellowstone National Park

Where I don’t expect to hear secessionist talk is on supposedly Progressive web sites. As some of you have seen, there has been a significant uptick in secessionist talk over at The Place That Shall Not Be Named, even from one of their front pagers.  More than a few people that I used to like and respect over there jumped on board with a hearty “oh, HELL yes” at the possibility of jettisoning those pesky Southern states when the prospect was dangled in front of them like the red meat it is. I was shocked. I was hurt. I was angry.

While I live in Texas at the moment, I generally self-identify as a New Englander. I lived in Massachusetts for 42 years, then 12 years in New Hampshire before moving to Texas in 2007 as a reluctant trailing spouse/good sport when my husband had to relocate for work. Next stop later this year: North Carolina.

I’ve had the phenomenal good fortune of spending time in 45 of the 50 United States in the course of family, college, business, and recreational travel. I love this country as much or more than anyone yammering on and on about “taking it back”.  The only person who loves it more is my immigrant mom.

What I found in my travels was exactly what I expected: every state seemed to be inhabited by people just like me. People who wanted a decent job at a decent wage. People who wanted to own their own home, and maybe a little land. People who wanted the best for their kids. People who enjoyed the things I enjoyed, like gardening, playing with their dogs, going out for breakfast, spending time out on the boat, playing musical instruments, or watching a good movie. People who were content to mind their own business and live and let live.

So why, I wondered, were so many otherwise intelligent (yeah, I know; there I go again) folks willing to strip so many of these perfectly good people of their citizenship, casting them adrift in some cobbled-together geographic Gulag? Why would any group of “Americans” take it upon themselves to decide who’s “in” and who’s “out”? Why can’t the folks salivating at the prospect of secession recognize that significant progress is underway in turning these Red States blue?  

Here in Texas, for instance, we have significant Blue zones already, and the ongoing efforts of hardworking Progressives coupled with our evolving demographics could enable us to become a 25-million-person swing state soon, and Blue state in the foreseeable future. How awesome would that be? Sadly, we don’t get much help from the national Democratic party, as they’d rather spend their resources on races in other states. That doesn’t keep them from raising massive amounts of money from Democratic donors here in the Lone Star State… and spending it anywhere but Texas.

We – well, most of us (I hope!) – don’t embrace the idea of ethnic cleansing. That’s dreadful, immoral, horrific. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I’ve heard plenty on that subject. So what is it about “geographic cleansing” that attracts even a moment’s genuine consideration from any Progressive? Or from any American?  

Growing up in Massachusetts, I learned a lot about the American Revolution. Every year, my dad and brother and I bundled up against the April cold and dampness in the pre-dawn hours to go watch the Battle Green re-enactment between the Redcoats and our wily Minutemen. In general though, I found history classes to be an incomprehensible blur of names and dates, advances and retreats, victories and defeats.

In my travels around this most excellent country, I yearned to learn more, to pick at the scab of my ignorance. I made it a point to visit some Civil War battlefields like Chancellorsville, where over 100,000 Americans lost their lives in just over 5 months. This is nearly twice the number of American casualties in the Vietnam War.

Whichever side of the Civil War people identify with (and whatever they feel about who “won”), I think that they’d agree that the toll in blood and treasure was beyond any rational comprehension.

I simply cannot imagine how anyone thinks we could rip the country apart again along similar lines with just a few strokes of a pen without similarly mortal wounds to generations of our people, our infrastructure, and entire economy, and our standing in the global community. We’re tied together as a nation in so many ways that divorce is not an option.

Our highways, ports, railroads, airports, waterways, oil and gas pipelines, reservoirs, water supply lines, telecommunications systems, military installations, manufacturing plants, farms, ranches, mines, national parks, power plants, electric transmission lines, beaches, mountains, lakes, schools, colleges and universities, sports venues, cultural venues, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, research facilities, government offices, industrial parks, libraries, parks, civic centers, malls, and commercial businesses can’t simply be uprooted and shuffled around like pieces on a chessboard as borders are redrawn.

Our people cannot be stripped of their citizenship if their state secedes (on its own or under duress), nor can they be forced to leave their state and migrate to another to retain their spot in America. That anyone in this country considers geographic cleansing a viable option is appalling to me. That any so-called Progressives consider it a viable – or even desirable option – is simply beyond my comprehension.

It’s time to drive a stake through the heart of this misbegotten concept once and for all. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and work together as a nation to lift everyone up rather than casting anyone out.  


  1. LabWitch

    this state, which relies heavily on military industry and has more military bases than most, couldn’t make it one day without the USA.  all the secessionspeak is merely testosterone given a voice while bypassing the frontal lobes.  it’s not feasible, it’s a soundbyte, and it’s stupid.

    ’nuff said from me on this matter.  

    thanks for the diary!

  2. There certainly are dystopian voices on both (all) sides calling for further retreat from each other.

    Which is particularly strange, in a world that is ever more drawing together.

    The country is not going to split apart, perioddone. What had been saturated strongholds in the past are in fact less-so with every passing year. Individuals have more complicated opion-sets, and geographies are more mixed than ever.

    Having lived in the South several times, including the present, the oft-repeated meme of the Deep South as a Hotbed of Intolerance is one of those wedges that do not match current realities. Knoxville may vote very red on average, but colleges around the region and mobile families like ours represent a very cliche-resistant population.

    In California’s Bay Area this is also true. The worn-cliche of leftward extremism is not matched by the pointilistic reality on the ground.

    The country is not only not falling apart, it is growing together.

  3. My Muh (Grandmother) still lives deep in the heart of Alabama, I have tons of people in Texas.  The people who go yeah just let em go piss me off because it’s like they’re willing to jettison my family cause they’re to lazy to fight for us all.

  4. jlms qkw

    than in different.

    lincoln was pushing for the railroad to tie the country together e-w, while fighting for the south . . .

    (yes, i said that awkwardly).  

  5. nannyboz

    as has been written elsewhere.  I find with relatives and friends that once they come and spend time here they realize the stereotypes are way off.  I reckon the loud voices putting down the South haven’t spent any time exploring it’s goodness.

  6. Lorinda Pike

    But I sometimes wonder if we are not too big to govern effectively. I think the US is number three (behind China and India) and I’m not sure if that is not extremely detrimental to unity; with our sheer size allowing for theoretical (if not sometimes practical) Balkanization.

    Heck, Texas and Germany are about the same size. Great Britain could fit inside one of several states.

    I have no answers, but I think (?) B. Franklin was correct when he said if we do not hang together, we shall surely all hang separately.

  7. bubbanomics

    Population weighted:

    Congressional districts:

    Hard to imagine writing those folks off.  That would be an enormous mistake.

  8. bill d

    President Obama got 3,308,124 votes in Texas this cycle.

    The blatant bigotry being displayed from both sides on this dead horse issue continues to dumbfound and disgust me.

  9. BlueStateRedhead say it more or less this way.

    Question solved by the Civil War.

    Can’t be done.

    So, it follows as you say, you don’t need to have an election rights lawyer trained by a constitutional lawyer who happens to be current hold the position of PoTUS on retainer to know that

    That any so-called Progressives consider it a viable – or even desirable option – is simply beyond my comprehension

    Why you can even be a Moose and know it.

  10. BlueStateRedhead

    It’s state flower, after all, is the Bluebonnet.

    Photo embed skilled people are welcome to insert an image for me.  

  11. Its the Supreme Court Stupid

    two words added in the 1950s (which I omit), the Pledge of Alegiance says it all:

    and to the Republic for which it stands,

    One nation,


    With Liberty and Justice for all.

    What part of that did  those advocates (on both sides of the ideological divide) NOT understand?

  12. LabWitch

    in progressiveness and my particular suburb is waaaaaay behind.  a latino republican mayor that we don’t have enough progressive votes to blast out of that seat, he’s a huge friend/fan of GWB.  most in this area think GWB was amazingly wonderful.  they never will understand that they supported the guy in direct opposition to their own self-interest.  

    the yankees (and i’m not using that term in a derogatory manner) that move down here are the type of yuppies that are admire greed, and the “housewives” aspire to be that Vanderpump woman.  

    i tend to stay away from all of them.  fundamentalists rule around here too.  

    i was born and raised in texas, we gave the USA some amazing statesmen (include women in that word) and when i look around this area, i wonder, just how the heck we fell so far.  it’s a big state of course, and there are some wonderful people, they just don’t live in ft worth or in the suburbs thereof.

  13. LabWitch

    complex  because of the competition with Dallas. which is weird since many extremely wealthy people established businesses in Dallas and their homes here.  i mean, we have a world class art museum, the Kimbell is highly respected so there is culture, but somehow, the people here have a very insular “holier and better than thou” attitude which really doesn’t work well.  i’m not sure what i’m trying to say except that ft worth just resents being an “also ran”.

    Carswell is here, a naval air station, lockheed, bell helicopter, that horribly managed airlines (American), lots of businesses that depend on government contracts yet, the attitude of the people is amazingly hostile to the federal government.  it’s a “bite the hand that feeds you” mentality.  never can wrap my mind around that one.

  14. LeftOverFlowerChild

    And this pretty well sums up my reaction.

    More than a few people that I used to like and respect over there jumped on board with a hearty “oh, HELL yes” at the possibility of jettisoning those pesky Southern states when the prospect was dangled in front of them like the red meat it is. I was shocked. I was hurt. I was angry.

    My husband is a 5th generation Texan. He is proud of Texas heritage, knows his Texas history and loves this state big time. When our oldest son was born, we were in NC, that man actually brought a jar of Texas dirt with from Texas to put under the birthing bed in the hospital when our oldest child was born. And then he get got us back to Texas as fast as he could!

    He’s a conservative, but a conservative without a party. He can’t in good conscience support any party that sees fit to throw the poor to the ravages of social elements or a party that will see the sick turned away and left to die because they won’t feed the bottom line of the medical corporations.

    There are more like him, quiet and not talking about their politics, but disgusted. Texas will turn blue. Our demographics alone will make that happen. But more importantly the Democratic Party of Texas knows two things–we have to get out the vote as in continue to register new voters. And we have got to stop the National DNC from constantly using Texas as an ATM machine. Our resources need to stay local so that we can fight and win locally.  

  15. LabWitch

    i always like to meet new people and particularly progressives fairly close by.  granbury isn’t all that far away.  

  16. DeniseVelez

    That anyone in this country considers geographic cleansing a viable option is appalling to me. That any so-called Progressives consider it a viable – or even desirable option – is simply beyond my comprehension.

    I’m sick and tired of reading “let the south go…” or “kick em out” remarks from progressives who should know better.

    Great piece!  

  17. blue jersey mom

    moving in our favor. If not in 2016, then certainly by 2020. I also worry about what would happen to the poor folks, and especially poor folks of color, in the red states if parts of the old confederacy were allowed or forced to secede.

    Having said that, there are aspects of the old confederacy that make me a bit uncomfortable. My niece and her family have lived in the south for over 30 years, in southwestern VA, SC, AL, and then NC. I am a northerner through and through. My great-grandfather served in the Union army. I am upset when I see the confederate flag, whether as part of a state flag or flying proudly over a BBQ joint. It is a symbol of secession and slavery. I am really upset when I hear the likes of Haley Barbour talk about the Civil Rights movement. The man went to segregated schools!!!! I have a problem with notions like the “War of Northern Aggression” which are taught in the schools in the Old South. The GOP has increasingly become an older white male party with its base in the old confederacy. I don’t think that this is healthy for our nation.  

  18. Kysen

    I grew up in SC near Charleston. Every school year included a field trip to Ft. Sumter. I have walked the Battery in Charleston countless times with the Fort in view over the water. A constant reminder of where ‘it’ all began.

    I think those calling for secession have a screw loose. It is a cry of ignorance. Ignorance of history….ignorance of current realities…ignorance of what it would mean for our future. Past, present, future…no matter how you look it…just pure ignorance.

    My folks still live in the house my siblings and I grew up in. My sister and both brothers live in North Carolina now. My wife and I are in Virginia. All Southern states…all chock full of wonderful people and places…and all absolutely vital to the health of our United States.



  19. sricki

    Born and raised in Alabama. There are good progressives in every Southern state, and certain aspects of Southern culture are most wonderful (cheesy grits, amirite?!). The South has an important role in the formation, heart, and soul of the United States. We’re all in this together.

    Put more simply, secession = PHAIL. From any rational perspective.

    The willful ignorance being so prominently (even proudly) displayed by so many across the country… truly stymies me at times.

    When I think about it too much my head hurts.

Comments are closed.