I was asked this morning if I was going to say anything about the secession petitions that have been filed at the White House, and I realized I needed to. I have clearly been remiss. Some who thought I have never heard of a secession proposal that I wouldn't like might have been wondering what happened to me. Why was I not stirring in my stall, like an old war horse who senses the fray of a distant battle?
Because this set of secession petitions is nothing but stupidity on stilts.
Three quick takes:
1. Secession is not something that individuals do, and it most certainly is not something that individuals do on behalf of some other body. A random number of Texans don't get to ask if Texas can secede without checking first to see if Texas (the body that would have to do it) wants to. And if Texas wants to, let Texas say so.
2. If you have to ask, it isn't secession. The fact that these petitions are being filed at the White House, of all places, shows that these seceders are as nationalistic in their assumptions as anybody. "Please, mister . . ." This is not political theory; it is misdirected frustration. And while frustration can create some interesting political theater, it is not anything close to the real deal. This movement is showing all the intellectual rigor of a Ron Paul voter on food stamps.
3. This kind of thing distracts us from the real loci of civil resistance -- those areas where individuals as individuals do have the authority to make decisions that are not as cooperative with our metastisizing federal cancers as those cabinet level cancers would like. We still have many options -- the results of last week's election notwithstanding. This attempt to do what we cannot do is distracting people away from what they can do. And the reason for this is that what we can do requires courage and brains together, in equal measure.