Map-making: Just one spinoff from secession movement
BILL COTTERELL, Florida VoicesPresident Obama's re-election has prompted disgruntled voters in all 50 states to sign secession petitions.
Published: November 21, 2012
Published: November 21, 2012
In a little feel-good gesture, the White House last year set up a "We The People" page on its Web site. The idea is, any petitioned signed by 25,000 people in 30 days will be addressed by the Obama Administration – not approved, just acknowledged.
Many voters wish to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by taking another run at that whole disunion thing. In fact, Georgia and South Carolina each produced two competing secession petitions. Texas lead the movement late last week with more than 105,000 names on its request.
It should be noted that the dissidents want to go quietly. Nobody is firing on Fort Sumter.
But that's about the only planning they seem to have done. Secession didn't work out so well in 1861-'65, but one thing you have to admit is, they weren't just whistling Dixie.
Neo-secessionists now insist the movement is not about race. It's Obama economic policies, like national health care, and social policies like gay marriage that they don't like.
Just for fun, let's ponder what would happen if Washington let our errant brothers go in peace. Would we have 50 little countries? Would groups of two, three or four states merge, creating maybe 12 or 20 big and little countries?
What would the District of Columbia be, besides a whole lot of suddenly available downtown office space? The District already has a statehood movement, so could it become sovereign – or maybe it could join Puerto Rico, which also has such ideas.
And Guam? Maybe it could join Hawaii and Alaska and become the state of Pacifica.
Would each state, as a new country, share obligations for military pensions, Social Security and Medicare? Would we tell bond holders and debtors like China that the $16 trillion debt is now the responsibility of – whom?
With 20 million people, Florida can be its own country, or we might join our neighbors as, perhaps, Ala-georg-ida? Flora-bamia? Once joined, could states secede from their new unions? Could the three West Coast states, for instance, become a country and later expel Oregon?
Donald Trump owns big properties in New York, New Jersey and Palm Beach. Which country would have to take him?
Must the new countries be contiguous, or could New Mexico join with Arkansas and Vermont?
What about our treaties around the world? If Tex-iana-sippi has really had it with Luxembourg, may it use ports in Geori-caro-ginia to ship out its army? Would I need passports to go from Tallahassee to Seattle – and if so, how many? A visa?
There would have to be internal treaties among out new nations, to protect patents, copyrights and artistic freedom. Consider Steven Spielberg's new Lincoln movie; would new mini-countries be allowed to show it backward, so they'll like the ending?
My son in the Navy serves on a nuclear submarine. Who would he work for, if the Disunited States of America becomes, let's say, nine republics, a federation, two alliances, three co-ops, and an LLC? Would all of them have to agree on a doomsday message to my son's captain, or would a majority vote be enough to launch the missiles? Maybe a two-thirds majority?
But never mind nukes. Secession threatens football.
You've got your SEC (no, not the Securities and Exchange Commission, although that would be addressed, too), your ACC, your Big Ten, your Southwestern Conference. They do all right as states, but what if we had whole 'nuther countries establishing academic rules for those scholars?
And the BCS system would be scrapped. All right, I didn't say secession doesn't have an up side.
The Interstate Commerce Commission would have to become the International Commerce Commission. What if the West Coast nation of Wash-egon-fornia cuts off our supply of Starbucks or imposes cruel tariffs on iPads?
Furious patriots would dump the stuff into Boston harbor.
Before every election, ardent supporters of one candidate threaten to leave the country if the other guy wins. But nobody ever does. (Hint: Delta is ready when you are.)
Wouldn't it be better for the petition signers to leave Obama, rather than separating their states from him? They could go to Canada, for instance.
A country with national health care and gay marriage.
Bill Cotterell is a retired Capitol reporter who worked for United Press International and the Tallahassee Democrat. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.