The Founding Fathers made several decisions that would come back to haunt the nation when drafting the Constitution. Most of these were caused by the need for compromise between the large and the small states and the slave and non-slave states. One situation they should have seen coming and addressed was the issue of secession. If they had placed in the Constitution a procedure for one or more states to leave the Union they could have stopped what eventually happened and may happen again. We know that secession is now considered illegal but what if eighty percent of the voting population of a state wants to secede? What happened to “the will of the people?” What happened to Democracy?
If the framers of the Constitution had written a section on secession wherein they required two consecutive plebiscites a year apart with at least a two-thirds vote of the eligible voters in a state voting to secede then, in my opinion, secession would never have occurred. My reasoning is that adherence to a written and agreed upon compact would have stopped the legislatures in the states threatening secession wherein the actual votes on secession occurred. Since there was no mention of leaving the union in the Constitution and the manner of acceptance in the first place had been a vote of the state legislatures this is what happened in 1860. Even then most of those votes did not achieve a two-thirds level of elected representatives. Had plebiscites of all the state citizens been held, and a second vote required a year later to confirm, it is unlikely secession would have succeeded for cooler heads would have prevailed.
If one reads the marvelously crafted book “Miracle at Philadelphia” by Catherine Drinker Bowen you can almost feel the coming conflict between the North and the South. You will put the book down knowing the conflict is inevitable and it will be with a chill down your back that you quietly exhale, “If only.”
Putting aside issues like slavery and tariffs the real issue was Republic or Nation State. Did the states with smaller populations have to accept the rule of a central government controlled by states with larger populations resulting in greater representation in the Congress? It jumps out at you almost from the very beginning of the day by day account of the writing of the Constitution. It was the reason for the creation of the Senate in a bicameral legislature wherein each state had equal representation. In a Republic all constituent entities (read states) are supposed to be equal but in a pure democracy the majority rules. The brilliance of the Founding Fathers was threefold, one, they crafted a government that had checks and balances between the three branches, two, they provided protections that would protect the minority from the majority and the individual from the state (Bill of Rights), three, they provided a method for changing the document by allowing for the adding of amendments.
Still, they should have provided an out for any one of the states wherein the population no longer wished to participate in the union. By providing such a procedure they would have recognized the potential of a small state opting out because of the pressure exerted by the larger states and in doing so may well have set the stage for downline compromises between the states to preserve the union. By putting in place an actual secession mechanism with requirements and time-lines they might well have shortstopped any actual leaving of the union.
Today we no longer talk of states but of parties and power for those parties, causing us to face yet another Constitutional crisis as the party in control of the federal government makes a concerted effort to further disenfranchise the states as equal members of the Republic. New states like California, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington talk of secession. Texas has long held that having joined the union as an independent republic, it can leave as an independent republic. The continued push for control by a super majority of federal citizens, creates an inequality supposed to be corrected for by state citizenship and those rights reserved to the states. If we had a Constitutional secessional procedure for these states to follow we might have an orderly discussion of the issues with non-seceding states thinking of the downline consequences of any secession. Rather than asserting that we have become a single nation state and are no longer a republic of fifty constituent states the government should be addressing the issue of the rights of citizens within the basic foundation of the country, i.e. the states. If they can’t, then they should propose a name change for we are no longer the United States of America, we are simply America, the nation state. The next step would be to abolish all state laws in favor of a set of national laws creating a seamless justice system. All courts would be federal courts thereby eliminating any discrimination resulting from differing law codes. The states would become county-like institutions within the single nation state. The police will become a national force trained to one standard (for equitable treatment) and answering only to the party in power in the much smaller Federal District of Columbia located fully within the state of Columbia.
We will do this in the name of “Equality” insuring that all, except those opposed to the party in power and those who have power, have equal status in the Democratic Socialist Nation of America. But be careful because your definition of equality may not be the same the party in power uses. Infrastructure, alien, illegal, and a whole host of other words have been assigned new definitions in just the past few weeks. Will equality also receive a new meaning? Will we have equality for all but discover that some are more equal than others? Remember, Orwell warned us– has that warning fallen on deaf ears?
As the super-majority continues to override the majorities of those in states with smaller populations the talk of secession will become greater. Why should the citizens of Florida allow the citizens of California and New York to dictate social and legal actions? Why should the citizens of Texas not have the right to determine their own direction, taxes and border controls? With the creation of sanctuary cities many states have already gone further in nullification than South Carolina did in the nullification crisis of 1828-35. They have already made bigger changes with their interpretations of the Constitution than did the entire Confederacy (the constitution of which was mostly that of the U.S.). It will be no surprise that reactions from more than a few states to the continued push for a super-democratic government (meant in both terms) will be nullification and secession. Watch for the new definition of Democratic Republic for it is soon coming from Washington.
I wrote this essay before some of the members of the house called for nationalization of the police forces but it has already happened. When the police force is nationalized it will work for the federal government which is under the control of the party in power. Things are moving quickly.