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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/9/23

On Secession, 1

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

Again, no picture is necessary. For it goes without saying that a prime reason that the secessionists in the "Red States" want to split the nation is the racism that is a central driver of their belief systems.

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Many people are talking about secession, from Marjorie Taylor Greene (on up or on down depending upon your point of view). On her terms, that would be separating the "red" states from the "blue" states. (I don't know who thought up the appellations "red" and "blue" but I am sure am glad that "red" was given to the Repubs. For when I grew up in the 1940s-60s it sure meant something else, and even as a child I was called it more than once.) And if they aren't talking about secession per se, many Repubs. for example, are all for using the powers of government to, for example, impose a set of personal values, ethical, religious, and otherwise, on everyone, by law and societal practice. Racism is, of course, a principle unstated-in-so-many-words at the center of all of the Secessionists' rhetoric. But for this column, the first in a planned series, I will not be dealing with it specifically.

Speaking directly to the subject, Greene herself said : "We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat's traitorous America Last policies, we are done." (By the way, several dictionaries define "woke" along the following lines, as set forth by one: "aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)." It's kind of tough to make WOKE into a curse, but they've got some pretty creative people over there. Just watch T. Carlson turn the Jan. 6 Insurrection into a peaceful day of touring the Capitol.) Of course "WOKE" is now their principal word for "Black," and "anti-WOKE" is the principal way in which their rampant racism is currently expressed.

A Texas Republican (what else?) state Representative has introduced a bill to put a secession-referendum on the State ballot in 2024. On Twitter he said: ". . . "after decades of continuous abuse of our rights and liberties by the federal government, it is time to let the people of Texas make their voices heard." The bill is called "Texit" (after "Brexit," of course. Perhaps the Rep. might want to take a peek at just how well that is working for the majority of Britons. But that is another matter.) And after all, do remember that Texas was an independent "Republic" from 1836 until it was incorporated into the U.S. in 1845. So why shouldn't it be one again?

I will be returning to this subject on more than one occasion, because the national campaign to impose a particular set of values about, say, sex and sexual identity, and freedom of speech and expression, is well-underway (see, duh, DeSantis' Florida) and will only get broader and louder. There are of course a huge set of governmental, governing, and governmental-management issues that would have to be dealt with, with numbers of observers are already starting to deal with them. But in this column, I would like to deal with what the secessionists want in terms of governance and why they feel that they can't get there without some form of secession.

But first, please forgive this detour, but I would like to deal with what their national song might be. Our current National Anthem does present problems fort secessionists and their anti-individual-liberties agenda, because that concluding line of the first verse does lean heavily on "the land of the free." (On the other hand, the never-performed third and fourth verses in part refer positively to the institution of slavery, so the secessionists might like them.) I did think of one possibility that could be adapted for them, because the first word of the suggested verse rhymes exactly with "Se-cession." That of course would be "Tra-dition," from Tevye's most famous solo from the operetta "Fiddler on the Roof." But then again, that might not such a good choice, because Tevye was, after all, Jewish. And oh yes, and how about a name for the new nation? How about "The Separated States of America?"

Turning now to why secession, that is some form of splitting apart the "red" and "blue" states for governmental and governing purposes, is desired by the likes of Taylor Greene, the primary reason is that they cannot get their politics established nationally. They can get them done in states like Florida and Texas (with certain other ones gathering up in their trail). But nationally they can't get the votes, and everything else being equal, they could never get them. Which is why they are trying so hard to rig the votes and voting, in one way or another, from gerrymandering at a pace and with designs that would make Gov. Gerry blush, to voter suppression of all sorts in all sorts of states. The major modern one was started by the Koch Brothers in 2007, with the "American Legislative Exchange Council" (ALEC), designed to deal with state re-districting, which it has done very well, twice (2010, 2020), benefitting greatly the Republican Party.

More recently is, of course, the Trumpian "stop the steal" movement which he first began setting up when he flirted with running for President in 2012. Of course, Trump is still running on it (for 2024, although as I have said before, with the ever-growing set of criminal legal actions underway against him, I don't think that he going to stick around for that one). So are people like Kari Lake of Arizona, who just recently said that she couldn't accept the Vice-Presidential nomination on a Trump ticket because she is still the Governor of Arizona. (That didn't seem to stop a whole bunch of former Governors, some still in office when they ran. That list includes [in reverse chronological order]: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William McKinley, Grover Cleveland, Rutherford B. Hayes, James K. Polk, John Tyler, Martin Van Buren, and James Monroe.)

But of course actively engaging in voter suppression is a tradition in the post-Reconstruction Republican Party which goes back to the post-Civil-War-Revanchists, that is the founding of the Ku Klux Klan in 1867 by the ex-Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. (See my column: "A Brief History --- Xenophobia, Racism, and the Republican Party.) In fact that Klan was originally founded with a single focus on intimidating and preventing the newly-freed slaves from voting. So modern voter suppression by the post-Reconstruction Republican Party has a long history. And in our time, at least in certain states it seems to be working very well.

So, what are the modern Republicans worried about? They are worried about those states over which they don't currently have control, they are worried about what might happen at the national level politically, and they are worried about population trends which might make their party even smaller in numbers than it is presently. And so, in the minds of some Republicans, at both the state and national levels, comes "Se-cession!" (After all, there are Jewish Republicans so maybe that tune-from-Tevye might be OK. More on them, and the increasingly difficult position they will be finding themselves in down the road.)

OK. So, what is it that they want and don't want that they cannot get in enough states, and where they are getting what they want, in a place like Florida. First, they are afraid of what Federal intervention on a variety of levels might do to such wonderful inventions as a "Don't Say Gay" law. Well, look at what Greene says about "woke culture." As noted above (and worth repeating again, for it has become such a curse-word for the Repubs.) the word can mean "actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)" or it can mean "aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)." But people like DeSantis and Greene never bother to define it. The simply use to imply "Black, liberal, commie, leftist, Democrat, Gay, trans-sexual --- and just awful, in general." So, as noted, even when they can impose it in their own states, they are still afraid of "the Feds."

Further on what they want, and why secede to get it? (This is a broad subject to which we shall return for further considerationin a future column [or two].) For one example presently, on banning abortion, completely if possible, but at a very early gestational age if not, plus even getting a national ban on the most effective and safest "abortion pill," the six right-wing Catholics on the Supreme might actually allow this to happen. BUT, even this Court might put certain limits on thereligious-authoritarian-anti-abortion-rights campaign. So why take chance? Just get away from the Court.

So, once in power, how would what I have previously described as the Republo-Fascists make sure that they would stay in power in their "Separated States of America?" (Or how about the old stand-by, which many of the "Republo-Reds" would likely stand by, the Confederate States of America?) The same way the Nazis, who in one of their first acts banned labor unions, did: (some level of) anti-Semitism, Christian-Nationalism/Religious Authoritarianism, anti-WOKE-ism, anti-intellectualism, and of course open, unmodified, unapologetic racism. For that is the true basis of Right-wing Power in the United States, as "1619" explains (which why the Right hates it so much), from the very beginning down to the present time.

In future columns, among other issues we shall deal with are:

* Mechanisms of secession.

* Constitutional issues for the "Red" states.

* The advantages of Red State secession for the Blue States.

* How population transfers between the two new countries would be handled (hopefully not as they were in the "Get-out-as-quickly-as-you-can" approach adopted by the United Kingdom for itself at the time of the Partition of India).

* How such matters as air traffic control, border controls, customs-checks for goods that originated from abroad, national health problems (just for openers), would/could be handled.

And so on and so forth. The more one thinks about it, the more one recognizes that there are many difficult issues to deal with, if secession could be made to work, for both sides. Have the secessionists, so focused as they are on "WOKE culture" as they describe it (read race and racism), and SEX, and controlling education at levels to support their ideology, thought about these many details? Apparently not. But I will indulge myself, as noted doing so in this space, in the future.

(Article changed on Mar 09, 2023 at 10:12 PM EST)

(Article changed on Mar 09, 2023 at 10:16 PM EST)

(Article changed on Mar 10, 2023 at 8:28 AM EST)

(Article changed on Mar 11, 2023 at 12:32 AM EST)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)
 

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