In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s re-election, hundreds of thousands of Americans signed online petitions seeking to peacefully secede from the union.
It was a purely symbolic move and the wrong way to go about seceding, but that was not truly their aim. The goal for many of them was simply to express their frustration that the next four years will see more government growth, expanding bureaucracy and a growing regulatory burden, and an understanding that neither party seems to represent their wishes.
Of course, lovers of Big Government and Obama (is that redundant?) quickly chimed in with claims that racism was behind the movement. There were even petitions begun that sought to remove citizenship from those who deigned to exercise their rights under the 1st Amendment.
No doubt the irony that those who petition their government, using a right guaranteed them under the 1st Amendment, should be stripped of their rights for doing so was lost on those starting and signing those citizenship removal petitions.
Americans have suffered under an ever more abusive and ever growing government for many years. The rates of abuse and growth have accelerated exponentially since the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 economic collapse. It has been fueled by both Republicans and Democrats. It spawned the original Tea Party movement (since co-opted by the Republican Party). Secession petitions were just another way of expressing frustration that their voices were not being heard.
On July 6, 1775, the Continental Congress issued a “Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms,” authored by Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson. One of Jefferson’s lines was: “Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.”
It is not yet time to take up arms or secede from the union. For as the Declaration of Independence states: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is the duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”
If the current train of abuses continues unabated, a breaking point will eventually be reached. The political class would do well to heed the growing frustration levels before it is too late.