I’ve had a long running debate with myself whether Lincoln was right to fight the War Between the States. Part of me feels like what was the free states would have been better off if they just let the slave states go. Another part of me worries about the humanitarian nightmare that would have resulted in the South if the North had let them go. A third part thinks it’s silly to debate historical counterfactuals. I used to land on Lincoln was right to fight because the slaves needed to be freed. Lately, I’ve been leaning more towards letting the South go. The debate is far from settled, but there are two reasons why I’m leaning let them go. First, I just look at the humanitarian nightmare that has been the United States over the past 160 years. Second, I think about the fact that, despite what the history books say, the South wound up winning the Civil War. I’m not going to elaborate on those two points here because that’s not what I’m actually writing about.
What I’m actually talking about is the current talk of secession. I saw among the headlines this morning that the Texas GOP is planning a referendum about leaving the US. My first reaction to the headline was a chuckle and the thought, “Let ’em go.” I think most of us in solidly blue states had similar thoughts. But the more I thought about it, because my brain is weird that way and won’t let me just move on, the more I started thinking about how odd it is that the Texas GOP would want to secede. I know I often say that politics isn’t a competition, but any way you look at it, the GOP is winning. They’ve basically erased the 4th, 13th and 14th amendments. There are close to eliminating the 1st amendment, too. The 2nd amendment is stronger than it’s ever been. They are restricting basic rights for every marginalized group imaginable. They own the courts and congress. They have nothing whatsoever to complain about. Why would they want to secede?
It also raises the question of why the donkeys aren’t making more noise about secession. They have been losing very consistently for 45-50 years. The way things are now, they have to win every election for the next thirty years to get the judiciary back. There’s no viable way forward for them in the near future. If secession is ever an option, the donkeys should at least be talking about it now.
The other thing I can’t help but wonder about is whether the Texas GOP has actually thought through what secession means. I haven’t spent a lot of time on it, but the logistics get really scary really quickly. It’d be like Brexit times 1000 if everyone cooperated. If someone didn’t cooperate, I can’t even imagine. Last time someone tried it, we fought an awfully bloody war.
Anyway, I know it’s just talk and won’t really happen, but the headline got me thinking so I thought I’d share some of those thoughts. What do you think?