Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Funday: Secession Silliness

If you haven't been completely driven away from politics in the last week and a half since the election, it's likely that you've heard about the ridiculous secession petitions being filed by disgruntled right-wingers in many U.S. states.

When we first heard about this idiotic trend we were neither surprised or concerned. In fact, our initial response was quite simple: the rest of America survived eight years of Bush (barely), you fools will survive eight years of Obama. Of course, we also thought, "If you want to leave, go ahead! Get to steppin'!"

In truth, we couldn't really take the idea of secession seriously at first because the petitions were being filed using the "We The People" online petition tool − which is hosted on the White House's own website. Nothing says "We don't need you" like using the tools of the people you claim not to need.

Still, out of curiosity more than anything, we began to look into the issue a bit more closely, especially after reading an opinion piece by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post earlier this week.

After further review of the facts and numbers, we tend to agree with Mr. Milbank - AND the secessionists. If people like that want to leave, there are a whole host of reasons why we're more than willing to let them go.

There are just a few problems though.

For one thing, secession in the United States is illegal. It's an act of treason. For another, it's unconstitutional. We know - the Supreme Court already covered that back in 1869, in the Texas v. White case, the case that proved Texas may not secede from the union.

There's also the problem of money.

Most of the states leading the secession charge are "taker states", as Mr. Milbank pointed out in his piece. That means that for every dollar in taxes they pay to the U.S. federal government, they get back far more than a buck. Louisiana takes about $1.45 for every dollar they send to Washington, DC. Missouri takes $1.29 for each dollar. Nebraska doesn't mooch too badly, only taking $1.07 for every dollar we give.

Of course, all the people in those states that were leaving would have to give up their Social Security, Medicare, Medicare, and VA Benefits too.

The biggest problem with the idea of secession though isn't all the stuff.

It's the people.

We like Austin, Texas, home of The Derailers, among other things. We also like Corpus Christi. We have family and friends in Arizona and Indiana, in Nashville, Tennessee and rural Nebraska too. The feeling goes the other direction too, as we know many "red staters" that have family and friends in New York, Chicago, L.A. - and of course, Washington, DC.

There's no reason to unfriend all those people who disagree with you on Facebook, or stop shopping at retailers who don't share your political views. We are one country - with millions of different viewpoints.

As President Obama first noted in his 2004 speech, and as he echoed again in his victory speech last week, we are not just a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States.

If you want to leave, that's up to you. But we'd rather you actually stayed. After all, that's how the melting pot concept is supposed to work.

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