Leonard Pitts is shocked, SHOCKED to find polarization and secession going on here. Of course, calling his opponents "some group of gun-toting goobers that meets in the woods" probably isn't the best out-reach.
Pitts, liberal darling columnist of the Miami Herald, has just discovered that we are two countries, sharing a language and a common border but not much else. Well, doh.
If you go here, you will find Pitts' latest column. It ran in my local paper, The Birmingham News, under the headline "What does talk of secession say about us?"
Have you ever had one of those moments when you gazed across and did not recognize your fellow Americans? I find myself in the middle of one. . . I felt it last week, that jolt of unrecognition, that instant of worry for the state -- and future -- of the Union. Not because of the so-called "teabag" protests on April 15. No, it was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaking after one such demonstration, who made the moment surreal.
"When we came into the Union in 1845," he told reporters, "one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that. My hope is that America, and Washington in particular, pay attention. We've got a great Union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that?"
You may read it twice if you wish, but it does not improve upon repetition. To the contrary, it becomes all the more incredible. That is, indeed the Republican governor of Texas -- not a yahoo from some group of gun-toting goobers that meets in the woods, but the honorable James Richard Perry himself -- saying Texas doesn't like the way things are going in this country and suggesting that if we don't get our act together, his state might take its mountains and rivers and go home. . .
That it is borderline traitorous for Perry to obliquely threaten it might be tried again goes without saying. That it is dangerously irresponsible in a nation where there are, in fact, goobers in the woods with guns, is likewise obvious. . .
I just find myself wondering what it says about us that secession even enters the discussion. I suppose Perry is just the conservative analog to all those dispirited Democrats who threatened to relocate to Canada four years ago when George W. was re-elected. But isn't it telling that leaving the Union or sundering it has now been floated as a possibility by the losers in two consecutive elections? In a sense, it feels as if secession has already occurred, except that it's not geographical but, rather, what columnist Michael Gerson has dubbed a "spiritual secession," a nation of extremes pulling away from the center, rejecting the very idea of common cause.
Perry's words have made him a hero out on the angry fringes of conservatism. Those of us who do not live on that fringe can only mourn this new reality in which ideology supersedes country. Country, after all, is supposed to be that which pulls us back together after everything else -- politics, race, religion -- has conspired to pull us apart.
But there are too many days lately when it does not. And too many days when you find yourself wondering if anything still can.
Leonard Pitts' E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pitts' memory is as defective and convenient as can be when he minimizes "those dispirited Democrats who threatened to relocate to Canada four years ago when George W. was re-elected." For four years ago, THIS is what passed for liberal thinking.
In a 16 November 2004 article entitled "If at first you don't secede" in that liberal on-line bastion Slate, Michelle Goldberg wrote:
Feeling they've lost any say in how the nation is run, liberals are turning to an unfamiliar philosophy: States' rights. In the days after the election, fantasies of blue-state secession ricocheted around the Internet. Liberals indulged themselves in maps showing Canada gathering the blue states into its social democratic embrace, leaving the red states to form their own "Jesusland." . . . These sentiments were so pronounced that they migrated into the mainstream. Speaking on "The McLaughlin Group" the weekend after George W. Bush's victory, panelist Lawrence O'Donnell, a former Democratic Senate staffer, noted that blue states subsidize the red ones with their tax dollars, and said, "The big problem the country now has, which is going to produce a serious discussion of secession over the next 20 years, is that the segment of the country that pays for the federal government is now being governed by the people who don't pay for the federal government."
A shocked Tony Blankley asked him, "Are you calling for civil war?" To which O'Donnell replied, "You can secede without firing a shot."
For now, of course, secession remains an escapist fantasy. But its resonance with liberals points to some modest potential for constructive political action. After all, as the South knows well, there are interim measures between splitting the nation and submitting to a culture pushed by a hostile federal government. Having lost any say in how the nation is run, liberals may be about to discover states' rights -- for better or worse.
One of the liberals quoted expressed fear of a visceral sort:
"We are being attacked and really caricatured," says Cannavo. "There's been an attack on the blue states as out of touch with the country. You had 48 percent to 51 percent in the election, but the 48 percent is considered somehow illegitimate."
Yeah, well we gunowners have felt that way for a long, long time. Just ask Pitts' "group of gun-toting goobers that meets in the woods" if you can find anybody that answers to such a cartoon caricature. Or how about the unfairly tarred "right wing extremists" in Janet Napolitano's world? THEY are being caricatured by THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT in hysterical fashion and with the potential of deadly consequences of offical violence, no matter how illogical or unfounded.
Here's the deal, Leonard. When you cannot agree upon something as basic as the sanctity of life, does the fact that you agree on ANYTHING else make a difference? Yet, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
We have co-existed without violence thus far because we are used to doing so. The nanny state liberals and doctrinaire collectivists have pushed us back over the past eighty plus years, presuming our "law-abiding" nature would protect them from retribution for all their many thefts of our liberty and our property. Thus far, they have been right. We have only ourselves to blame for that.
We do insist, however, on being left alone beyond a certain point. As MamaLiberty commented over on David Codrea's War on Guns blog: "Here's an idea...If nobody wants a 'civil disturbance,' why in heck don't they quit disturbing us?"
Over many years, it has been speculated what that precise point might be. We are there. The Three Percenters, among others, have declared that we will obey no further circumscription of our traditional liberties and permit no further seizures of our property. And let me make this plain: that means by ANY MECHANISM, DIRECT OR INDIRECT, LEGISLATIVE, JUDICIAL OR EXTRAJUDICIAL, BY LAW, POLICY, EXECUTIVE FIAT OR TREATY.
That Pitts now clucks his tongue at a Texas politician's attempt to reclaim a conservative moniker (for Perry is at best a Bushie, with all the negatives that implies) just in time for a Senatorial primary by hinting at secession is doubly silly. But it is not secession that Pitts ought to be worrying about.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
It may well be that the settling of our disputes may, after a long horrible conflict, end in separate countries. But that is not, should not and must not be our initial goal. Our goal must be to restore the Republic of the Founders -- ALL OF IT. Once they have, by their bad behavior and exercise of their insatiable appetite for our liberty and property, pushed us past the point of armed resistance, we should not cede one square inch of sovereign American territory to these collectivist, tyrannical pukes.
Don't worry about secession, Mr. Pitts, worry about that.
Leave us the hell alone, or we shall not leave you alone this side of hell.