On the heels of talk about forming an an anti-Obama “underground,” the right-wing talk radio set is now broaching actual secession from the union. The liberal blog Think Progress Nov. 25 posted an audio link from a recent broadcast by shock-jock Glenn Beck. Here’s the offending quote:
So the question is, do states have the right to secede anymore? Because it was a compact. It’s not perpetual. In fact, in the Declaration of Independence it says it is our right, it is our responsibility to get away from a government who doesn’t listen to us any more.
Do you even have a right to do that as a state any more? Do you have the right to say, “You know what, you guys are going down a path that I don’t even agree with”? Is that even possible?
“Anymore”? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say states have the rights to secede, and the question was settled rather definitively with the Civil War. As for the Declaration of Independence, the invocation is rather an irony. Many of the grievances enumerated there against King George III apply equally to George Bush. Read for yourself:
The History of the present King [George] is a history of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States… He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance [Homeland Security Department, PATRIOT Act]… He has affected to render the Military independent of, and superior to the Civil Power. [Guantánamo tribunals] He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws [violations of habeas corpus, Fourth Amendment (electronic snooping), separation of powers (Iraq security pact)]; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended legislation: For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us [Northern Command, use of the military for domestic policing]; For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit [Military Commissions Act]… For depriving us in many cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury [declaring citizens “enemy combatants”]… For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences [“extraordinary rendition”]… He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People [Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.]… In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.
Yet Beck didn’t talk about secession under President Bush, or utter a peep of protest against any of these abuses. In fact, he appealed for national unity against terrorism (and the Islamic world generally) in what he called “World War III.” But now that a Black man is going to be president—before he even takes office, Beck is preparing a new assault on Fort Sumter…