In a gift to those who enjoyed Lincoln last weekend, on Monday Ron Paul offered up a real-world sequel of sorts in a blog post to his House website. Following President Obama’s reelection, more than 675,000 Americans from all 50 states signed petitions on the White House’s “We the People” website calling for their state to part ways with the rest of the union. Many assume this new band of secessionists is comprised of people who are angry that the country is being run by a Kenyan socialist and college kids who saw the petition on Facebook and thought it was funny. However, Paul argues that this outcry from roughly .22 percent of the American public raises “a lot of worthwhile questions about the nature of our union,” despite what your history teacher might have told you about the Civil War.
Paul argues that “secession is a deeply American principle,” and points out that our country was formed when the colonies decided to separate from England. He adds, “The Federal government kept the Union together through violence and force in the Civil War, but did might really make right?”
While Paul believes that the states still have a right to secede, as The Hill notes that’s still up for debate. There’s no legal method established for doing so, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia denied that the right exists in a letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “The answer is clear,” writes Scalia. “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”
Okay, so a state actually couldn’t secede (without a fight, at least), but does that mean they shouldn’t be able to withdraw from the U.S.? Paul writes:
There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents. That is what our Revolutionary War was all about and today our own federal government is vastly overstepping its constitutional bounds with no signs of reform. In fact, the recent election only further entrenched the status quo. If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it.
If the American people can’t secede, how will they ever be able to stop the officials they keep voting for in regularly scheduled elections?