This year is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and many Southerners would love the opportunity to re-engage with the federal government and secede from the Union. The secession talk began in earnest as conservative groups and Fox News mercilessly promoted opposition to health care reform and President Obama’s legislative agenda. Texas Governor Rick Perry intimated that secession was an option for his state, and recently, a constitutional group began exploring legislative strategy to begin the process. The events in Wisconsin and Michigan demonstrate that secession does not necessarily mean breaking apart from the Union; it can also mean ignoring the rule of law and representative democracy by creating dictatorships that are entities unto themselves.
This past week the Texas Nationalist Movement held a rally to encourage lawmakers to introduce legislation that allows Texans to vote to secede from the United States because of high taxes and federal mandates. Governor Perry suggested that Texas should be allowed to secede from Social Security although he denies being a secessionist. Lauren Savage is the vice president of the movement and she stated, “Texas can take better care of itself than Washington,” and that “We are here to raise interest in the Legislature of the possibility of secession to cure the ills of America.” There is a school of thought that agrees America’s ills would be alleviated if Texas was not part of the Union, but that is another story.
Texas does not need to secede to become its own country if they follow Republicans’ lead in Michigan and Wisconsin where one man becomes dictator and creates his own set of rules. The Republicans’ underhanded vote to eliminate collective bargaining without input or discussion from Democrats is not the American way, and is reminiscent of Hitler-like tactics to shape a government without dissent or accountability to voters. Republicans feel so emboldened by the support they receive from Koch Industries and Karl Rove that they ignored the law requiring a 24 hour notice before voting as State Representative Peter Barca pointed out when he called the vote to eliminate collective bargaining illegal. Despite polls showing a majority of Wisconsin voters are opposed to Walker’s union busting scheme, Republicans ignored the will of the people in favor of their corporate masters. It is increasingly evident that adhering to the law is of little interest to Republicans in Michigan or Wisconsin. Governor Perry can avoid secession if he makes himself the dictator like Scott Walker and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder have done.
As horrendous as Walker has been in Wisconsin, his actions pale in comparison to Michigan’s Republican Governor. Snyder has effectively eliminated democracy in Michigan with his fascist emergency financial manager law that gives one man the power to “suspend a regulatory statute, order, or rule prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business, when strict compliance with the statute, order, or rule would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the disaster or emergency.” Under the harsh measure, the governor can appoint a corporate manager to disband school districts, city charters or elected officials when he declares an emergency. If Snyder appoints one of his cohorts in the corporate world, they can terminate an entire police force and replace them with private security personnel who have no loyalty to the rule of law. It is not a stretch to imagine the nightmare scenario of Snyder suspending voting rights for Democrats if polls showed Republicans losing.
Governor Snyder is not the first Republican to give themselves unlimited power to unilaterally ignore the will of the voters or established law. George W. Bush instituted a similar measure that gave him unprecedented and unlimited power in case of an emergency. In 2007, Bush released ‘National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51, “which gave him unchecked power to control the entire government and to define that government in time of an emergency, as well as the power to determine whether there is an emergency.” Although the bill is not verbatim, Snyder’s emergency manager law has as it basis the same objective as the Bush directive. It is a dictatorship pure and simple and the people of Michigan should be outraged. Snyder is thumbing his nose at democracy in the same manner the Southern Confederacy rejected the laws of the United States 150 years ago.
America is in jeopardy of becoming a fragmented conglomeration of dictatorships depending on the party in power in individual states. The governors in Michigan and Wisconsin have suspended the rights of citizens in violation of the Constitution and have essentially made themselves the law of the land. They did not have to secede from the Union like the Texas Nationalist Movement is proposing and they do not have to follow democratic principles. It is reasonable to assume that Governor Perry is contemplating similar actions to those of Snyder and Walker now that he has witnessed firsthand how to form his own dictatorial country apart from the United States.
It is almost worth allowing Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and any other Republican controlled state to secede instead of allowing them to remain in the Union as dictatorships and fragment the country worse than it already is. The divisive nature of multiple dictatorships scattered throughout the country is worse than allowing the rebels to secede and form their own country. America does not need 50 states if there is not a consensus to follow democratic principles, and it is more advantageous to have 25 United States than 50 separate dictatorships. Let the fascists all move to Texas or Alaska and establish a police state apart from the rest of America. It is not the ideal solution, but it beats the alternative of many little empires run by fascist dictators in what is becoming the dis-United States of America.