By Mr. Curmudgeon:
A White House website called “We the People” is currently unavailable. All you will see when landing on the splash page is a prompt reading, “404 Page Not Found,” along with a notice saying, “We’ve been upgrading our site.”
According to news reports, the White House website has been deluged with petitions requesting that states be allowed to secede from the Union. Secession has become a hot topic of conversation in response to the re-election of President Obama.
According to the Washington Times, “As of 7 a.m. Thursday, there were 789,453 [petition] signatures, but since many people had signed more than one petition … fewer than half, or 281,780, were unique.”
I have never been a fan of secession or the Confederacy. I am an unapologetic Abraham Lincoln Unionist. “The Union is much older than the Constitution,” said Lincoln in his first inaugural address, “It was formed in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was ‘to form a more perfect union.’”
Lincoln also made an argument based on contract law. “If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of states in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade, by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it – break it, so to speak; but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?”
Whereas the framework for a national government was established in convention and delivered to the various states for ratification, rescinding the arrangement requires agreement from all parties to the contract. By seceding without consulting the other parties, the Confederates States of America acted in bad faith and in violation of the spirit and letter of the law.
I have two observations concerning modern secessionists: Unlike the lawless southern rebels of the past, modern secessionists petition the White House for permission to leave the Union, something Lincoln would have found curious if not outright laughable; secondly, I find them to be the worst specie among cowards. They would break the law to form … what exactly? A monarchy? A republic? A collection of city states?
They would run from our Constitutional system rather than fight to preserve it against the “menaces of destruction to the government.” They would rebel against the very document that provides the safety valve of the amendment process.
“America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future,” said escaped slave and arch abolitionist Frederick Douglass, “Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion [the 4th of July], I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery – the great sin and shame of America!”
Abolitionist publisher William Lloyd Garrison dismissed America’s slavery-sanctioning Constitution as a “covenant with death, and an agreement with hell,” believing Southern slave states should secede in order to wipe slavery from the remaining Union of states. Douglass disagreed. Dissolving the Union to defeat slavery “is about as wise as it would be to burn up this city, in order to get the thieves out of it. The Union, under the Constitution, requires me to do nothing which is wrong, and gives me many facilities for doing good.”
It is imperative that state Tea Party organizations abandon wasteful efforts to expand their presence in Congress and, instead, back candidates for state office that pledge to call for a Constitutional Convention to re-establish our national governments’ limited and “enumerated” powers, working to stop the 100-year creep of totalitarian Progressivism in order “to form a more perfect Union.”
“Let us go home and cultivate our virtues,” said Gen. Robert E. Lee to his men after surrendering the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. Modern secessionists should take Lee’s advice and fight to reestablish their homeland’s Constitutional virtues than make a coward’s mad dash for the exits.