Any time talk of secession comes up, many Americans are inclined to think back to that nasty period in our history: The War of Between the States (more commonly referred to by the uninitiated as The Civil War…which it was not—and I don’t just mean in a “ha-ha nothing civil about it” way, but BY DEFITION a “civil war” is when two powers fight over the control of one government. The American “Civil War” was nothing remotely like that. Calling it “civil war” was a calculated political move by Lincoln—a smart one, but a political move nonetheless) and automatically assume any talks of secession means war between north and south.
Even many Southerners today are quick to lambast the idea. I don’t know if this comes as a result of being whipped into submission once already, a fear of being perceived a racist, a fear of the federal government, a lack of knowledge or some combination thereof.
You want to know my theory?
Why thank you for asking…
I think it comes because of many American’s inherited ideals of the White Man’s Burden…or, if we modernize that: the need to control everyone else. Having taught ESL for several years and being friends with many of my former students, I see them post on various social media, and (when I can read them) they have no great love for the US—regardless of who is in the White House (I’m sorry all you Obamaites—the “world” doesn’t really like him that much better than the last guy despite what you’ve been told). And so that makes you wonder, what exactly is it that so many of them don’t like? To the poor of the world, the US is still the land of opportunity—well, it still represents that, even if it isn’t true. The truth is, they don’t like that we “police” the world.
And I don’t blame them. As much as I don’t want Iran to have nukes, why is it up to the United States to tell them they can’t? If Russia told us we couldn’t have something, we’d flip them the middle finger pretty quick because…well, we’re the US and that’s what we do. So why do we get to tell Iran what they can and can’t have?
Because we’re the bully nation.
Even with the current depressed state of the military, we have the world’s foremost military—hands down. He who holds the big stick makes the rules. So, we dictate to so many nations what they can and can’t do…not just because we can, but because we think we’re right.
And that brings us back to secession. As a nation we supported the breakup and secession of countries from Mother Russia; we supported the breakup of Yugoslavia; I imagine there are others of which I’m not aware. Why then, as a nation, do we refuse to allow “secession” to be part of the national discussion? It should be a very real part of the discussion. Secession doesn’t mean war. Russia still gets along fine with Ukraine and BeloRussia and Latvia. The US gets along just fine with Canada. There’s no reason to automatically assume that secession must be war, not at all.
Not long ago on Facebook, someone I don’t even know got violently mad about a secession comment I made. When I tried to get to the root of it, he basically said “because you can’t.” An old friend of mine, here on this blog some months ago could never answer the question “why do you care?” The truth is, they both think they know better than the people who talk secession…and therefore their will should be imposed on those with whom they disagree.
Just like a bully.