Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 10:12:17 AM by AmericanHunter
When Texas Gov. Rick Perry floated the idea of secession if the federal government continues to pursue an aggressive tax-and-spend policy, the mainstream media, as well as the political establishment, cringed.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called talk of secession “whack-job stuff,” calling Mr. Perry a “bozo” and telling the Texas governor, “You don’t have a choice buddy.” Mr. Matthews’ colleague, Rachael Maddow, said Mr. Perry was “flirting to the point of adultery” by talking about secession, while commentator Thomas Frank reinforced the disconnect between the media and many Americans.
“What you’re seeing … what is one of the surprising things about these tea parties … surprising to people like you and me, is how mainstream extremism is in the Republican Party and the conservative movement,” Mr. Frank, author of Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, told Ms. Maddow.
But is the idea of secession a foreign concept to the American experience? Is talk of secession automatically treasonous? Is any secessionist movement doomed to be defined by the Civil War and exiled to the political wilderness?
“I think the biggest surprise to me was the outrage expressed by an individual who even thinks … along these lines,” U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said yesterday on CNN’s American Morning.
“Because I heard people say, well, ‘this was treason,’ they say, and ‘this was un-American.’ But don’t they remember how we came in to our being? We used secession. We seceded from England. So it’s a very good principle. It’s a principle of a free society. It’s a shame we don’t have it anymore.”
Dr. Paul, who ran a hard fought grassroots campaign for the Republican nomination in 2008, argued the principle of secession is one that protects the union rather than threatens it.
“I argue that if you have the principle of secession, our federal government wouldn’t be as intrusive into state affairs. And to me, that would be very good,” Dr. Paul said. “We as a nation have endorsed secession all along. I mean, think of all the secession of the countries and the Republicans from the Soviet system. We were delighted. We love it. And yet we get hysterical over this.”
Critics of the coverage of the secession comment argue the media is trying to paint the Republican Party as extreme. They say Mr. Perry was not advocating secession, but rather saying the federal government could cause its resurrection.
“We got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that?” Mr. Perry asked.
While the notion of secession was floated by Mr. Perry, he was not expressly advocating Texas leave the Union. Rather, the Texas governor used the idea in a manner Dr. Paul believes is historically accurate — to send a warning shot across the bow of a federal government that is encroaching on state’s rights and individual liberties.
Last week’s tea parties exposed a major rift in the country, and some are concerned the Obama administration does not understand the degree of dissent that is fomenting outside the Beltway. And despite panning by the political establishment, the majority of the nation viewed tea party dissent in a favorable light.
Fifty-one percent of Americans had a favorable view of the nationwide rallies, while 32 percent responded their view was very favorable, according to a poll released by Rasmussen Reports. A third of the nation had an unfavorable view with 15 percent unsure.
But among the nation’s “Political Class,” Rasmussen found just 13 percent held a favorable assessment and zero percent held a very favorable view of the nationwide protest. This disconnect, according to Dr. Paul, is a major part of the problem.
“People are angry. And if we don’t sense that, we don’t know it’s actually what’s going on there,” the Texas congressman said. Dr. Paul said the worst is yet to come because secession will achieve a greater legitimacy as the country struggles.
“When the dollar collapses and the federal government can’t fulfill any of its promises, what if they send you dollars and they don’t work,” Dr. Paul said. “People are just going to — they’re not going to have a violent cessation. They’re just going to ignore the federal government because they will be inept.”