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The scale of the right wing post-election temper tantrum is breathtaking.  I guess that I should learn to expect anything from people who talk about "FEMA concentration camps" or who live in constant fear of impending martial law,  but the shear number of conservative lunatics in America keeps surprising me.  As of this afternoon some 700,000 people had signed petitions asking for secession.

Part of the fun of winning this election is getting to laugh at people like that.  You guys at this site did a great job.  This was a not just a great victory for Americans, the whole world owes you a debt of gratitude for your hard work.   By all means, enjoy yourselves.

I've been reading some posts from people saying to "let 'em go".  As someone who lives in a country where secession is a very real possibility, I would not suggest talk like that.  Quebec separatism is a real problem for us.  I'm not sure many Americans know just how close Canada came to actually breaking up.

We've had two referendums in Quebec concerning independence.  Separatists try to soft-sell it as "sovereignty", but their goal is clear.  The first referendum federalists won in a walk by 20 points in 1980.  The second one wasn't so easy.

In 1995, many Quebecers were upset with the stagnant economy and  were angry about perceived slights to Quebec by other provinces.  The premier of Quebec established a referendum on sovereignty using  a very confusing ballot question.  With the help of a charismatic leader,  they managed to convince large numbers people who didn't support independence to vote "yes" for sovereignty as a protest .  Many people thought of it as a non-binding way to voice their displeasure.  As it turns out, the premier of Quebec was intending to treat any vote of 50% +1 as a clear mandate for independence.  If he had won, he would have declared Quebec independent the next day.

The polls right before the vote were very close.  Those of us who didn't live in Quebec couldn't do much except watch powerlessly.  Early returns on election night were strongly in favor of sovereignty.  Slowly, over the course of what seemed like hours, the NO side steadily gained ground.  

At the end of the night, the results were 50.1 - 49.9 against sovereignty.  The margin of victory grew later to just over 1%.  It was probably bigger, but in one of the worst examples of election fraud in our history, some 80,000 NO votes (almost 2% of the vote) were discarded in primarily English speaking polling areas for offenses as frivolous as marking the X too big, or not centered enough on the ballot.

I'll never forget that night.  I was studying at university in Ontario at the time.  When it became clear that the NO side had won, thousands of students flooded the streets.  Traffic was held up for what seemed like hours in all directions.  We stayed out long into the night cheering, hugging, waving flags and bursting into spontaneous O Canada.  It's one of my favorite memories.

Sadly, Canadians have grown apathetic about national unity.  One poll conducted last February showed that 49% of Canadians "don't really care if Quebec separates from Canada."

The fact that we live in a country with so much diversity is a great source of pride to me.  I love the fact that Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world.  We welcome people of all cultures and faiths.  We encourage people to keep their cultural heritage when they immigrate to Canada.  

If Quebec leaves, we will lose a part of our soul.  Our country was founded by two very different peoples and has managed to stay together through some difficult times.  Our tolerance is a big part of who we are.

One of the things that I love about the US is how different all of your states are.  I've visited many of your so-called "red states" and have found the people to be almost universally friendly, kind and helpful.  Your unity is a big source of your strength. To all of the "let 'em go" folks out there, be careful what you wish for.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If only difference in Secession or not is whether (0+ / 0-)

    or not you pay the taxes you owe, I still think there needs to be consequences for choosing secession.  I would think you should lose privilidges like "in-state tution. Instead your child would pay the same rate as a foreign student.  Same thing would be true for the now free public schools --- tutiion would be charged for "foreign students."  Of couse court or trial rights would be for forfited.  Perhaps the right to vote should also be withheld, just as it is for illegal immigrants.  So, go ahead and secede, but don't plan to come back for at least 25 years or more.  Bye, Bye.

    •  If a state secedes and becomes sovereign, ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah

      their citizens would become "in-state" to that sovereignty, not "foreigners" within the U.S.  None of your proposed consequences could be imposed by the U.S.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:31:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But there are those who want to stay in their own (0+ / 0-)

        homes, retain their possessions, maintain their lifer style within states who don't secede, but just not pay taxes. That doesn't seem feasible to me.  What am I missing about that idea?

  •  Like your diary but, (11+ / 0-)
    I've visited many of your so-called "red states" and have found the people to be almost universally friendly, kind and helpful.
    Are you white? Straight? If you are then I would caution you that not everyone has this kind of experience. If you aren't, well then I'm glad your travels have been pleasant. Interesting diary though.

    Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about. Mark Twain

    by Deathtongue on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:06:13 PM PST

  •  Quebec couldn't secede (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek

    because it couldn't sell the power from the anticipated Jemes Bay hydro project to NY. That basically killed secession since Canada was insisting that Quebec shoulder it's share of the national debt. So that killed it. At least, that's my understanding of it.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:11:24 PM PST

  •  "Real Secession" (14+ / 0-)

    looks like the Civil War.

    That it is unconstitutional for States to secede appears to have escaped the wingnut0sphere.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:22:26 PM PST

    •  I think (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, twigg, Neuroptimalian

      In this era, I don't know how tenable that kind of conflict would be. If a region truly voted for secession and acceptable terms for separation could be found, then I imagine they would be let go. Use of force would be self-destructive and would likely lead to pressure from the international community (though I don't think the US would be all that susceptible to it).

      •  It wouldn't be tenable at all (7+ / 0-)

        Neither will it happen.

        A few hotheads wouldn't persuade any of the red states that secession was viable ... it simply isn't.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:41:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Debt would be a major issue for secession. (0+ / 0-)

        Undoubtedly, they would argue that the States gets to have all the burden of the national debt, since it's not their fault that there's a national debt and it was created by liberals anyway.

        One amusing consequence is that it might be favorable to the budget deficit, since a lot of the states that receive more federal money than they pay in would be leaving the union.

        Of course, the new country would suffer catastrophic consequences of mismanagement and be right on the border of the US.  Not a good thing.

    •  not entirely (5+ / 0-)

      Peaceful secession can also look like any number of nascent national independence movements in Europe.  Or Quebec, if they should chose self determination at some future point.  The EU allows for that -as does the Canadian constitution, "notwithstanding".  

      As a queer, socialist inhabitant of cities, I absolutely hate that the US now has a national referendum every four years on, essentially, the issues of reconstruction.  It does not make me feel like a citizen, it makes me feel like a resident of an empire hitting the wall and capable of almost anything.  I have had the privilege of being an immigrant to a social democracy (I screwed it up for personal reasons) and it was a very different feeling, one I will never know unless I somehow go back.

      On the other hand, I don't think it is right to abandon social progress in Texas so that I can feel hunky-dory in Seattle.  But some 200 year old constitution?  It isn't a religious document, or even a universal one (though it had such aspirations) and the civil war didn't sanctify it.  The war ended slavery, but to spite the great accomplishment of that war, its terrible cost, or the grand rhetoric of Lincoln, it doesn't mean we should stick together forever when there is no coherent vision of society.  People deserve a working social contract, and we are not providing it.  To spite the fact the right is going nuts on the issue now, and it probably would look like civil war given our federal system as constituted, I don't think it is automatically that, or that the idea of America as it stands is all that special.

      Mileage varies.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:37:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mileage only varies (7+ / 0-)

        among a few of the stupidest people who have computers :)

        None of the states, whatever their color, are seriously considering secession, and nor will they.

        The Blue States are happy with the Union, for the most part, and the Red States will never cut their own throats like that.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:43:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well (3+ / 0-)

          I think it's mostly irrelevant at this point, since the federal government is very strong.  It just isn't in the cards, as you say.  Empires do fall, sometimes a lot faster than seemed possible at the outset -- but sometimes very slowly indeed.  The current cry for secession is a political absurdity, and we can poke fun to our heart's content.

          But I'm not entirely of the "they're all asshats" school, either.  People do want a society which makes sense in terms of their values.  As of today, as a liberal socialist type, I've got one!  The ACA will extend the safety net, I can hope that the idea of a floor to society will gain traction, and things seem OK.  But in another four years, honestly, we do this all again for the most basic of stakes.   It is possible I am very stupid (likely, even, some days) but I feel like there are real issues here, however unrealistically and absurdly addressed.

          ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

          by jessical on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:50:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are indeed real issues (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jessical, kpardue, jayden

            They are mainly, in this instance, to do with racism, and the very real anguish some have about the fact that "America" did not agree with them.

            I do agree that there are differences that need to be lessened however, with many who simply don't understand the issues.

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            by twigg on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:57:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Racism, certainly (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              twigg, Zack from the SFV

              My sense is also there are issues around empire.  Even some on the right get it -- historically, they were isolationist until WW II, and might end up being so again.  How will we see the country when we decide endless war isn't affordable?  We could be so badly impoverished none of our hopes will make a difference.  We could see sensible domestic resource use which creates national infrastructure.  And we could see splintering along regional lines.  I do think the last is unlikely though, not only for the "face of it" reasons you note, but because the splintering is as much urban/rural as red/blue, and there's probably no solid geographic basis for it in the end -- here in Washington, it would mean a divorce between trade-dependent agriculture and traded-dependent technology, all going through the same ports, and the dissolution of state institutions which serve both red and blue.  There is a geographic basis for no longer paying federal taxes though.    How the endless war ends, in ten years or 100, I think will have a lot to do with what the map looks like after.

              ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

              by jessical on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:06:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'd accept the geographic basis (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jessical, jayden

                for not paying Federal taxes but for one thing ...

                We should help our neighbors, even when their ingratitude knows no bounds. I don't mind that the Blue states subsidise the Red, broadly.

                Maybe the argument is that the power of the states to govern themselves should be reduced, because so many appear to be incapable of acting in the interests of their citizens.

                I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                by twigg on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:16:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  heh (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  twigg, Kitsap River

                  as per my comment to DaveInBremerton, below...my commute to school each week last year was through a military base of 50 thousand people.  Hercules transports and apache wings thundering over the freeway.  Bremerton and Everett and Bangor have more military power than all but a handful of countries, all in our little state, enough to make a wasteland of the world.  That kind of power seldom goes away fast.  So unless or until that wanes -- seriously, not paying the troops wanes -- all this is just a discussion of the idea of where national centers should live and the social contracts they would create, I think.

                  I do think the idea of an America which includes the rich and poor regions is a great thing.  We've built the infrastructure and share the language.  We have still not settled the civil war, though.  I think we either chivvy the more authoritarian states along and all hang together in the format we have now -- which is too ossified to adapt, much -- or they win, and dismantle the social contract in places like Washington -- and/or the big scary federal show goes broke, and the national idea, the grand America of our lives, our parent's lives, and so on -- becomes unsustainable.  Right now we're not subsidizing our neighbors so much as paying for the machinery of armageddon, in preference to schools and health care and decent provision for the poor.  How will that unravel and how will each smaller political entity see the matter?  I think that's a cusp where stuff might change in ways which are hard to predict, at an impossible to forsee when.  But I do think it will happen.  

                  Sorry to go on.  Must go to bed.

                  ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

                  by jessical on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:27:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks Jessica (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    jessical

                    Good conversation :)

                    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                    by twigg on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:30:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Sorry I wasn't present for this discussion (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm intrigued by your references to empire. Despite your emphasis it's not at all clear to me how empire connects with the dissolution of the US as a social and political entity. You seem to equate the two and while you may have reasons for thinking so, assuming I'm correct in my understanding, they aren't apparent to me.

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:30:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  14 years ago, someone on the Vashon ferry told me (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    jessical

                    that if Kitsap County seceded from the union and took the military bases with it, that we'd be the world's third largest nuclear power in terms of weaponry. And it isn't going away any time soon. If the military left here, it would utterly ruin our economy for a very, very long time.

                    Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

                    Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

                    by Kitsap River on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:17:02 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  I Agree. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, DaveinBremerton, nchristine

        I don't know how many modern democratic countries have as diametrically opposed factions as the US. Perhaps its worse because we're limited to a two party system, but really... it feels like we're in a political civil war.

        I think your empire remark is not far from the truth. The U.S. is a large, diverse country and I think the current electoral system is nearing the breaking point. Unless changes are made to make the system more representative and fair, the problems are only going to get worse.

    •  And now our 21st century version (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      looks like this:

      http://www.google.com/...

      How the mighty have fallen :)

      Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

      by jan4insight on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:38:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with secession in the U.S... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, irishwitch, Kitsap River

    ...is that each side thinks it's the real 'Murrica.  We'd be fighting over who owns the family name like some divorcing couples fight over the dog.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:26:57 PM PST

    •  You're in... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveinBremerton, Kitsap River

      ...arguably one of the most federalized cities in the country, shy JBLM, certainly in the state.  I realized when I saw your tip, above, that your perspective might be both different and more sophisticated.  We'd be talking about ending small cities which install small nuclear reactors in ships like other places install light poles :}  Why it seems so ridiculous even to talk about this now, in many ways.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:11:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Probably one of the most federalized counties (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical

        as well. Kitsap County has a fairly small amount of land compared to some, and about 250,000 people, yet a lot of the county still retains that rural character and culture, from the second-generation (or is it third now) Japanese iris farmers to the guy down the road with a few head of Polled Herefords and a few head of horses, to the woman that sells fresh eggs from her house on Mile Hill. But there's all that federal money and all those federal jobs, be they enlisted or civilian.

        One of the best job training programs here is through the community college, where trade unions apprentices go to school to learn their trades for a couple of years and graduate into guaranteed shipyard jobs. There's got to be huge federal linkage there, and that's just one area. I think 40% of our local employment is civilian military workers on the shipyard and in Bangor.

        Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

        Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

        by Kitsap River on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:29:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm probably one of the most federalized citizens (0+ / 0-)

        Retired military, did a short stint as a civil servant before leaving government for the private sector.  Education paid for by Air Force tuition assistance and the G.I. Bill (thank you, 'Murricans).

        My perspective on government is twofold:

        (1) "We, the People" are the Guhv'mint.  I don't go hating on myself.
        (2) A strong federal government is the shiznit.  It's the glue binding together the republic

        I identify much more as an American than as a Washingtonian, and I've had my share of banana slug guts squished up between my toes.  I'm very much of this state, but I'm first and foremost an American.

        "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

        by DaveinBremerton on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 10:16:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Try LIVING in one of those red states (12+ / 0-)

    for more than a month or two--and you'll rapidly learn that Southern Hospitality is a myth, unless you are  the RIght Kind of Person--in other words, a fundamentalist conservative Christian. In my first three months living in one, I had someone key my car over a sticker that read "My other car is a broom" with the words keyed onto my trunk informing me that "Jesus Hates Witches".  I was followed through a store for the crime of wearing a pentacle. Family members caused us such problems that we no longer attend large family gatherings.

    That politeness and kindness is VERY superficial unless  you're one of them.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:36:55 PM PST

    •  I'm a white, logging town redneck... (6+ / 0-)

      ...and the South makes me nervous.  I lived in Cabot, Arkansas for several years.  It was not unheard-of to see snow klansmen on suburban lawns after a snowstorm.

      "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

      by DaveinBremerton on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:55:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Granted it's been nearly 30 years..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch, DaveinBremerton

        But, when I lived in Biloxi, MS it was not uncommon for the KKK to be in full costume asking for donations at the stop lights along US90.  Keesler AFB is located in Biloxi.  If Keesler were to ever pull up stakes, south Mississippi wouldn't be a cosmolotian as it currently is, which isn't saying a whole lot!!!

        I was definitely not overly welcomed the 8 years I lived there either.  When we got there, I was 10 years old and could get around enough in 3 or 4 languages (well, enough for a 10 year old in those countries)(english, italian, japanese, german).  That wasn't liked. At. All.  Then I was female taking college prep classes in high school (physics, second year latin, algebra III, etc).

  •  Nah, don't worry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Rogers, jayden

    After every election there are tons of people who say they'll leave the country.  Secession is just the option for those among them who are too lazy to get off the couch.

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:12:47 PM PST

  •  They probably don't mean it. (0+ / 0-)

    The statement is a careless exclamation, rather than indicative of a serious desire.  I doubt anyone is really that serious about secession.

  •  I think this is a bit of wishful thinking: (0+ / 0-)
    With the help of a charismatic leader,  they managed to convince large numbers people who didn't support independence to vote "yes" for sovereignty as a protest .  Many people thought of it as a non-binding way to voice their displeasure.
    Quebecois knew damn well that they were either voting for separation or against it.  Granted, know one knew exactly what a separate Quebec would look like - would there still be agreements and partnerships and certain shared jurisdictions etc...?  (Like the EU, for instance)

    But no one didn't know that the vote was to leave Canada or not.  The vagueness (and there certainly was vagueness) was about the process by which Quebec would leave, and on what terms.  Not on whether it would.

    We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

    by RageKage on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:09:13 PM PST

  •  No state is leaving the union. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nchristine, Berkeley Fred

    There would be a civil war within the state if the attempt was made. This isn't the 1860s anymore and too many of the "red states" are much too dependent of the federal government to ever consider leaving the union. Plus the United States would demand a refund from any state that tried to leave. Pay up or shut up.

    All this secession nonsense is just a bunch of sore losers using modern technology to voice their discontent at being on the losing side. I signed a counter-petition myself which is something that wasn't even a possibility just a short decade ago.

    The folks having fun at playing "secessionist" need a reminder that they're the ones dividing the country, not the POTUS. There is division in this country but it's between idiocy and sanity and wealth and stagnation. And sane Americans have finally begun pushing back against the batshits and the überwealthy. They aren't used to being challenged and it's freaking them out big time. I'd rather have them sign useless petitions than take to the streets.


    Did you remember to water the fuchsia?

    by jayden on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:49:37 PM PST

  •  This issue has suddenly come out of nowhere. (2+ / 0-)

    I don't take it seriously. The problem is that news is a little slow after the election and the MSM needs filler to surround their advertisements. This 15 minutes is about over.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:47:45 AM PST

  •  Dump Troublesome Redneckistan - the "taker" states (0+ / 0-)

    Pacifica, Redneckistan, and the New American Republic

    "Whenever something is wrong, something is too big." --- Leopold Kohr

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