The American secessionist streak
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
As we’ve previously noted, the excitement Sarah Palin aroused with her involvement with the Alaskan Independence Party has sparked renewed interest in secessionist movements. And here’s Christopher Ketcham, a frequent contributor to Vanity Fair and Harper’s, who makes this intriguing observation about Palin and the AIP in the Los Angeles Times:
Sarah Palin’s secessionist sympathies sparked minor hysteria last week. Her crime was hailing with round praise the work of the cranky Alaskan Independence Party, which advocates a statewide plebiscite on the secession of Alaska from the Union. “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government,” the party’s late founder, gold miner Joe Vogler, once said. “And I won’t be buried under their damn flag.”
My, but those words sound familiar. Where have we heard sentiments like that expressed before? Oh, yes …
I like Joe already.
But check out what Mr.Ketcham observes taking place on the American political landscape:
The thing is, it’s not just residents of the Last Frontier who favor breaking away from the Union. According to a Zogby poll conducted in July, more than 20% of U.S. adults — one in five, about the same number of American Colonists who supported revolt against England in 1775 — agreed that “any state or region has the right to peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic.” Some 18% “would support a secessionist effort in my state.”
The motivation of these quiet revolutionaries? As many as 44% of those polled agreed that “the United States’ system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections.”
It gets even better. Ketcham gives an unbiased, objective sketch of the second North American secessionist convention that the League co-hosted last year in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and even quotes from the Chattanooga Declaration that all delegates signed. But his conclusion is the real show-stopper:
It could be argued that secession is the primal American act, as old as the concept of the states themselves. What else did our founders accomplish in 1776 but secession from the tyranny of England? In other words, what the secessionists would argue is that although they are anti-United States, they are most certainly pro-American.
Welcome to the age of secession. The wave that’s transforming the world’s political map has finally returned to the shores where it was born.