Secession, Sarah and the State

by Andrew Murphy

One of the more egregious attacks on Republican VP candidate, Sarah Palin is her affiliation and her husband’s with the Alaska Independence Party (AKIP). The left-wing bloggers like the Huffington Post, Daily Kos and several in the media including MSNBC have tried to make hay with this. One wag at the Washington Monthly went so far as to say the idea of secession is "un-American."

Why? The truth is secession is as American as apple pie. So, the nerve of Mrs. Palin to advocate a long-lost American doctrine like secession, let’s bring her down they must be thinking.

However, just as a sidebar to set the record straight, Sarah Palin was actually never a member of AKIP. Lynette Clark, Chairmen of the AKIP issued a press release September 3, 2008 to correct any misunderstandings. Clark wrote, "What was correct was that Todd Palin was a member, that Sarah as a candidate for Governor appeared at the AIP Convention in 2006, and sent a welcoming DVD to the membership at the 2008 AIP statewide convention."

Perhaps the Kossocks and the Huffingtonites need to brush up on their American history. For starters, The Declaration of Independence in the final paragraph states pretty clearly:

"That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES……….and that, as free and independent states, they have the full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other things which independent states may of right do."

Thomas Jefferson, America’s first libertarian president, in his first inaugural address declared, "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it"

Jefferson several years before in 1798 with James Madison wrote the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions which stated, "Where the powers were assumed by the national government which had not been granted to the states, nullification is the rightful remedy."

During the War of 1812, several states in the northeast USA threatened to secede because they did not want a war with England. The Connecticut state assembly went so far as to draw up a letter of protest; the opening sentence starts off, "But it must not be forgotten, that the State of Connecticut is a FREE SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT State; that the United States are a confederacy of States; that we are a confederated and not a consolidated Republic."

I will avoid mentioning the Confederacy of the United States simply to avoid being accused of being a "neo-confederate" which is the smear word for anybody who mentions secession in liberal circles. I will mention that many northern newspapers in 1860–1861 saw secession for the South as a perfectly constitutional thing to do. The New York Daily Tribune wrote they saw no reason why the South shouldn’t have the right to leave the Union (December 17, 1860). The Wisconsin Democrat, on January 11, 1861 wrote in their editorial that the right of secession "inheres to the people of every sovereign state."

More ironic, the left forgets that one of the most liberal states in the Union has one of the largest secession movements in the USA, Vermont. The state that gave us socialist Bernie Sanders and politically correct ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s), has a huge secession movement. One of the strongest supporters for the secession movement in Vermont is Nation magazine contributor, Kirkpatrick Sale.

Therefore, whether you are a secessionist or not, it is impossible to deny that it has a rich tradition in American history. It is an idea that unites both libertarians and some decentralized leftists. If the media and the leftist bloggers want to continue to try and make an issue out of this perfectly respectable American idea, I say, Sarah and Todd Palin shouldn’t back down. If it was good enough for Thomas Jefferson, it ought to be good enough for the rest of us. Right?

Copyright © 2008

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