Secession – The Great Compromise Between Red and Blue States

By Ron Kennedy

The 2004 Presidential election demonstrated the sharp ideological division between the people residing in Red and Blue States. The subsequent defeat of the major (as opposed to minor) liberal/socialist candidate has given rise to a new found interest in the Constitutional principle of secession among a number of leftist writers. In a recent article published in the New York Press, which claims to be “New York’s Premier Alternative Newspaper,” Christopher Ketcham calls for the secession of New York City and the establishment of an independent New York city-state! His article “Long Live The Free Republic of Gotham” can be found at <www.nypress.com/17/52/news&columns/feature.cfm>. I must warn my readers that his language at times is a little less temperate than I would prefer, but what do you expect from someone who lives in New York City?

Blue state citizens make a valid point that they send more tax dollars to the Federal government than Red state citizens while they receive fewer services per capita from the Federal government than Red state citizens. In other words, the Blue states have become the Federal government’s milch cow (read cash/tax cow) while the Red states have become the great consumers of Federal tax dollars (read tax dollars forcefully removed from Blue state citizens for the benefit of Red state citizens). Southerners conversant with the Constitutional history of States’ Rights are amused at the irony of the current situation. From the very beginning of our country, the South complained against the numerical majority of the North using its political power in the Federal Congress to tax Southern agricultural products via Federal tariffs and then using Southern tariff moneys to finance “internal improvements” mainly for the benefit of Northern states. Patrick Henry of Virginia warned of the dangers of a Federal government where “our dearest interests” would be controlled by the Northern numerical majority. John Randolf warned of the danger posed by “King Numbers.” John C. Calhoun agreed and saw nullification and secession as the only antidote for the tyranny of the Numerical Majority. Thus, our Northern Brethren are today forced to deal with an old issue for us but new to them! The shoe is on the other foot and now the left foot is beginning to recognize and feel the pain that the right has been forced to tolerate for over 200 years.

Perhaps the current situation will provide an opportunity to educate Americans about the legitimacy of nullification and secession and convert them from their love of a large centralized, all powerful, Federal Empire back to America’s original principle of a constitutionally limited Federal Republic of Republics. The beauty of America’s original Republic of Republics was that via secession we the people of each Sovereign State had the ability to protect our reserved rights. We the people were the final arbiters of the limits of Federal authority! Under this system Blue states could protect their right to legalize marijuana regardless of how many “super” conservative Federal Supreme Court Judges President Bush appoints. But on the other hand, Red state citizens could protect Second Amendment Right with the same vigor. Secession is the final escape route that an aggrieved people would take to protect their “dearest interests.” The mere existence of the right of secession acts to modify or moderate the excesses of “activist” Federal Judges, legislators, or Executive. Again the mere threat of secession in most cases will cause the aggressor to seek a compromise in order to maintain the benefits of the Union—just as Lincoln back in 1861 did not want to lose the South as a source of Federal revenues—the President Bush would not want to lose the revenue of New York City. Hopefully, the compassionate conservative would be less likely to resort to invasion, murder, kidnapping and illegal occupation to maintain the Union than was Lincoln.

The current interest in secession in certain liberal/leftist circles presents Southerners with an unexpected opportunity to explain the benefits of secession and nullification as it relates to the maintenance of the mutual benefits of our common union—America’s original Republic of Republics. The shoe is now on the other foot—perhaps America’s leftists will now begin to “feel our pain!”

On The Web: http://www.southerncaucus.org/kennedy1.htm