All or Nothing
It’s been said of late that conservatives are so patriotic that they want to secede from the union. They love the Constitution so much, they want to rewrite it. They love Democracy, but hate when people they disagree with vote. They love America, but clearly hate most Americans. They want to do away with government handouts, but will cry havoc if anyone threatens to touch their Social Security or Medicare checks. They denounce government pork, but take the lion’s share. They seem to think that the central theme of a nation which calls itself a “union” is “every man for himself.”
And now that their extremism has truly begun to marginalize them despite every game and trick they can imagine to inflate their influence, more and more of them are having tantrums.
A Republican woman in Arizona was so distraught after Obama won, she ran her husband down with her car because he failed to vote. She claimed that “she believed her family would suffer under a second term of President Barack Obama.”
The Republican county treasurer in Hardin, Texas, made public his opinion that Texas should secede, saying that “in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic.” He claimed to just want to “avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years.” One presumes he did not feel this way in 2004, nor would he have if Romney had won.
However, it is no longer just scattered nutballs at the fringe. It is, instead, a growing conservative movement. Petitions have begin to grow for secession. At the White House web site, there are petitions for 35 states to secede from the union. Seven have grown to over 20,000 signatures; Texas is at 85,000.
Each petition reads the same: “Peacefully grant the State of [state name] to Withdraw from the United States of America and Create its own NEW Government.” West Virginia, apparently, wants to form its own “NEW Govern.”
On the one hand, it’s relatively easy to dismiss: I see no filter which would prevent people from other states or even other countries signing the petitions. I am not sure, but doubt there is a limit to home many petitions one person may sign.
Nevertheless, the disparity in numbers for each suggests at least that it’s not an automated con job.
The greatest caveat is sincerity; perhaps most people doing this individually are doing so as a form of protest.
However, you know that with many—who knows, maybe more than half the numbers—they are sincere. Maybe not very knowledgable, maybe not aware what secession actually means, but sincere nevertheless.
And you can bet that the sincere ones essentially want to leave the table and stick the remaining parties with the check. Take Texas, for example. You think they want to take their share of the national debt with them? By population, it’s nearly $1.3 trillion. I almost signed their petition.
All of this is not about what is claimed. When the debt was skyrocketing under Bush, no one was clamoring for secession. Had Romney been elected and had he been able to institute his policies, the debt would have shot up (instead of having gone down under Obama); in that case, again, you can be assured there would have been no such outcry for secession. Despite their claims, the secessionists are not about the debt; they are fine with it when their party is in power.
Nor do I think it is mostly about race. For some, yes; there is undeniably a racist tinge to much of the discontent. But I believe that were it Hillary or Biden instead of Obama, we’d be seeing the same thing.
No, I think this has more to do with simply being in control. Fully in control. Getting everything that you want. What summed it up best, in my opinion, was a small story from 2005, just a few months after Bush was re-elected.
Republicans owned the White House and controlled both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court was deciding cases more conservatively than not. Fox News was the loudest voice out there, MSNBC not having yet found its voice. Most pundits were conservatives, as were the loudest and the most often heard. Sunday talk shows predominantly featured Republicans. Conservative views and policies ran over liberal ones.
At that time, Starbucks had a little campaign called “The Way I See It,” in which quotes, often political, were printed on the cups. Most were from liberal personalities.
A Republican woman in Florida lamented, “I’m not surprised. I’m used to being under-represented.”
Now, think about that. “I’m used to being under-represented.” For the previous two years, her party had full control over the entire government, and for almost all of it for more than four years, and had just won re-election and control for another two. In her state, her party controlled the governorship and the legislature, and had for some time. How exactly was this woman “under-represented”?
We see this many times in conservative culture. White males dominate in virtually every manner of success and benefit from widespread racial preference, and yet whine about “reverse discrimination.” Christians see their religion and beliefs dominate the nation in almost every single respect, but literally throw themselves on the ground in lamentation over a “war on Christianity.”
It seems that the more conservatives get, the more they feel victimized when the last scraps are still held by someone else.
This is how many conservatives see politics: as an all-or-nothing game. Either we get everything we want, or it’s never enough. We win, we get to do anything we want. We lose, and we wreck the game and scatter the pieces. This is precisely what Republicans in Congress have been doing: overrunning when in power, obstructing when not.
I hate to use the old cliché, but there is no better analogy for what we are seeing than a spoiled-rotten three-year-old throwing a shrieking, foot-stamping tantrum because he can’t have everyone’s cake. It is simply far too apt.
Tell you what. Take a few southern states, give them to the hard-core right-wingers, make sure they take their portion of the debt (they did, after all, incur most of it, but let’s divide it evenly anyway), and let them build their 20-foot wall around their new country. We’ll be far better off without these people.
Just make sure they don’t take any nukes with them.