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.