The idea of secession


It’s hard to take seriously the thousands of people who have signed a petition urging Texas to amicably divorce the rest of the union. Even in the fiercely independent Lone Star State, this idea is roadkill.

While the signatories are exercising their right to free speech, this idea is just plumb screwy and an odd rejection of basic American principles. Besides, as in any divorce, shouldn’t we worry about the children?

The Texas petition says the United States is suffering from economic troubles stemming from the federal government’s failure to reform spending. You won’t get much argument on that, although the same complaint can be made about some cities, counties and states as well.

But the Texas secession petition also complains of alleged rights abuses committed by agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration. An annoying screening system at the airport is reason to collect your toys and quit? Really? When the going gets tough, the “tough” sign petitions to leave?

What about all of us who don’t want to secede? Does that mean we’ll have to leave our chosen or native homeland and flee north to Oklahoma or Colorado?

There’s something mystifyingly un-American about giving up on America. The nation has survived two world wars, a civil war, a hugely unpopular war in Southeast Asia, political scandals and countless moral battles over the rights of women and African-Americans. The United States’ power and influence exists because the states are 50 parts that pull as one, a uniqueness found in the words “We the People” in the preamble to the Constitution. Americans are more alike than we are different, and our system of governance — the great experiment in democracy — is the envy of other nations. That’s not because we are 50 countries, but because we are one.