At least, there seem to be no pithy ones available as a quick retort to the outright ignant ignorance being displayed with the pitiful request of hundreds of thousands of United States residents that have either (a) been threatening to expatriate after the re-election of President Obama last week (b) signed (part of) their name to one of the more than 50 petitions posted at We the People asking for permission for their state of residence to peaceably secede from the United States.
(I pause before calling any of these people "citizens", in keeping with the philosophy of the late great Robert Heinlein who, in Starship Troopers noted that "citizenship an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part... and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.")
The first thing that came to mind when I realized this was not just one night's sore loser whinging, but something else, was my mother's favorite: "Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you". It's a handy phrase; I myself have used it at the end of several intimate relationships and friendships over the years. Yet it's a bit too long for what would be hundreds of thousands of potential conversations. You sort of have to work your way up to it by engaging in a battle royale of some type before spitting it out. Besides, a lot of people don't believe in the Good Lord anyway and I wanted a quick retort of universal application. So, I reached out into the etherware (with the help of one of my kids) and discovered that there was a short, snappy way to say at least part of what I wanted to say: kthxbai.
There is more than one definition of kthxbai at the Urban Dictionary, but this one is my personal favorite:
9. KthxbaiUnfortunately, kthxbai is just a little too pithy. It doesn't fully convey that I am not just politely dismissing the petitioners and the threateners and moving on because I think they are idiots. No, I am pretty darned close to requesting that they all either drop dead or at a minimum STFU and let the rest of us be Americans in peace and tranquility. (Yes, I know, asking fellow Americans to drop dead or STFU may itself be rather un-American.) So I kept digging for another word, one that conveyed the full reach of my anger at, and disgust over, those Americans who so believe that the re-election of our president was the functional equivalent of being cast into all nine circles of hell in Dante's Inferno that they are saying they refuse to be part of the country he's going to be in charge of (again.)
Okay, thanks, goodbye for people you really don't like. Used as a derogatory term for idiots.
Thanks to my millennial children who let me know that part of my problem was that I was looking for correctly spelled words, I found another term that had real potential: BuhBye.
BuhBye means, according to the Urban Dictionary, "Get the fuck out of my face."
This was much better; the impatient anger I was increasingly feeling as the numbers of "I'm leaving!" cries and secession "petitions" kept going up publicly is definitely well summed up by this phrase. However, I was raised right, and know that it's not really fair to angrily tell someone to piss off without at least explaining to them why. Thus, as tempting as it was to just choose "Buhbye", I realized that too wasn't enough.
Ultimately, I decided to combine the concepts of "Kthxbai" and "BuhBye" to create a sum greater than its parts:
Kthxbuhbai (roughly translated as "Get the fuck out of my face you blithering idiot") pretty much sums up how I feel right now about my fellow right-wing Americans who took what had to have been nanoseconds out of their miserable lives to log onto the internet and create or sign a secession-ask petition at We the People over the past 10 days. These folks do not deserve the dignity of a response written using words spelled correctly and used in a full sentence (something that my kindergarden teacher, a fine Black woman who teared up during the singing of America the Beautiful almost as often as when we were practicing Lift Every Voice and Sing, taught us was important in this life.) They just don't.
As most here know, by Thursday November 15 nearly 800,000 signatures appeared on various secession petitions at We the People. 800,000 of my fellow Americans (at least as it first appeared; but see below), were throwing hard-core middle-finger shade at the duly re-elected President of the United States. Disrespecting him not just by refusing to accept that their candidate, their side, had lost the election even through they tried every damned suppression tactic they could to win, but by then taking the public position that it was better that the United States fall apart than to move forward. I have written before about the disrespect shown to this President and how I feel about it. No matter what one thinks of some of the President's policies, the man himself deserves and is entitled to respect far, far beyond that which he has gotten this past 4 years.
That he doesn't get it pisses me the hell off. To the highest level of pisstivity: the kthxbuhbye level.
In other words, it is quite likely that a majority of the signatures on one state's petition belong to folks in other states who couldn't be satisfied just making their own state look fucking ignorant; they instead had to take the states of their neighbors down the respect for classiness scale with them, too.
Which is why I say to all these mofos who tried to fake and front that nearly a million Americans hated President Obama's election so much that they wanted to secede from the country, and I say this with much love (not even), kthxbuhbai.
But setting aside the posers, we're still stuck with the rest of the nearly 300,000 folks who really did sign.
And that's the next reason I'm angry, at the kthxbuhbai level of angry. Most of these folks (just like most of the folks who let their racism freak flag fly on Twitter once the President's re-election was confirmed by the media) hail from the region of the country that suffered the most devastation from the Civil War: the South. (But not all, and that's important to remember.) Forget for a moment that the majority of Black folks live in South and how dare these secession-minded hue-challenged dweebs and dweebettes presume to try and deny most of US the right to honor and salute our Black president going forward the next four years by seceding. I'm also angry because (a) it is clear that most of these Southern signers haven't bothered to read a single book about the Civil War that wasn't written by Nathan Bedford Forrest or his (many) backwards cultural descendents and (b) I'm a (mediocre, admittedly) student of history and therefore know that the the South got its ass handed to it during the Civil War. The South got spanked over this question of running away from America just because white folks there couldn't stand the idea that they had no right to diss (read: own, enslave, murder, rape and exploit) Black people. Hell, as it is almost all of the southern states with the most secession petition signers are still figurative welfare recipients when it comes to taking money from the federal fisc.
Given this undeniable truth, you'd think that any American living in the South could not even utter the word "secede" in response to........well, ANYTHING........without tongue-choking difficulty. And certainly not without deep reflection and prayer about what happened the last time a bunch of politically-whining white folk (surely you don't think there are any Black folk signing these petitions at We the People?) decided they didn't want to play ball as part of the United States any more just because they can't stand the idea that a Black person is again (yay!) going to be the boss of them. Reflection and prayer about the horrific human cost (not to mention financial cost) that was paid the last time: 625,000 lives lost, 420,000 wounded in battle, in just 4 years, 3 weeks and six days of war.
Yet in the blink of a keypad stroke, almost 300,000 Americans said they'd be willing to potentially pay that horrific national price again, or at least engage in Virtual Civil War, just because they would otherwise have to live with the fact that our nation's next leader is a Black man and thus will again control, indirectly of course, over their lives for the next four years.
I'm not even sure that kthxbuhbye is good enough to say what I really want to say to these folks, given that.
Some might say to just shrug it off. But I can't. Because another large part of my refusal to suffer these secession-happy fools gladly is that I believe the question of whether states can unilaterally or otherwise secede from the Union is a settled legal question as far as most historians and lawyers (the ones that didn't graduate from Liberty Law School, anyway) are concerned.
As it was always intended:
Article XIII. Every State shall abide by the determination of the united States in congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the united States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.Given this, anyone who signed a secession petition needs to be told exactly how ignant (Black folk short-hand for "ignorant") they are, and definitely any resident of the states of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia that signed one of these We the People petitions needs to be severely beaten about the head with a rolled-up newspaper. 250 years ago, our forefathers entered into the ultimate political marriage; one for which there is no divorce. Not ever. It seems to be a significant failing of American public education that none of these hundreds of thousands of individuals appears to have ever heard of this. Or they were in fact taught about this in school, and they signed anyway.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States (1777, Ratified 1781)
If that is true there is really on one response: Kthxbuhbai.
Some might contend that reasonable minds can differ about whether, upon the Articles of Confederation's ultimate replacement by the United States Constitution, questions were created about this issue. They might even ask how and why the Articles even matter on the question of the permanency of the union and secession today. My personal answer is that despite all the massive changes that the powers-that-be-decided to make in the Constitution from the original Articles, nowhere was there any stated intent to change the perpetuity of the union that was originally agreed to.
But my opinion doesn't matter because, fortunately for us all, the Supreme Court made sure to clarify the issue in a decision that has been good law for nearly 150 years. To wit, the Supreme Court in Texas v. White, (1869) 74 US 700, in response to the question of whether the State of Texas still hand standing post-Revolutionary War in federal court to litigate a controversy:
Did Texas, in consequence of these acts, cease to be a State? Or, if not, did the State cease to be a member of the Union?Since SCOTUS has set forth, clearly, the ONLY two methods by which a state may leave the United States (revolution or the consent of the States; and I believe that the Constitution read in light of its predecessor the Articles of Confederation requires the unanimous consent of all the other states given the clear intent of the framers that the marriage between a single state and the United States of America is the ultimate in "until death do you part"), you have to ask yourself: Why? Why would so many people sign? Had any of them even Googled the concept of secession before doing so they'd have run into Texas v. White. Read with eyes not blurry from crying in ther beer, they'd have almost certainly realized that even if you read Texas v. White most generously in their favor (i.e. leaving open the question of what "the consent of the states" really meant after the Constitution was adopted in place of the Articles of Confederation), signing onto a person-by-person online petition asking the federal government for permission to secede is not the same thing as either (a) asking your own state government to vote to secede or (b) your state automatically petitioning the United States Congress (as opposed to the Executive) for its permission to secede.
It is needless to discuss, at length, the question whether the right of a State to withdraw from the Union for any cause, regarded by herself as sufficient, is consistent with the Constitution of the United States.
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form, and character, and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these the Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained "to form a more perfect Union." It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
But the perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union, by no means implies the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the right of self-government by the States. Under the Articles of Confederation each State retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right not expressly delegated to the United States. Under the Constitution, though the powers of the States were much restricted, still, all powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. And we have already had occasion to remark at this term, that "the people of each State compose a State, having its own government, and endowed with all the functions essential to separate and independent existence," and that "without the States in union, there could be no such political body as the United States." Not only, therefore, can there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the States, through their union under the Constitution, but it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.
Considered therefore as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law. The obligations of the State, as a member of the Union, and of every citizen of the State, as a citizen of the United States, remained perfect and unimpaired. It certainly follows that the State did not cease to be a State, nor her citizens to be citizens of the Union. If this were otherwise, the State must have become foreign, and her citizens foreigners. The war must have ceased to be a war for the suppression of rebellion, and must have become a war for conquest and subjugation.
Texas v. White, 74 US 700, at 724-726.
Both of which would be an exercise in futility, anyway.
So, between our founding vision and the Supreme Court's confirmation that yes, the framers meant what they said about that "perpetual union" thing, I have little patience for those who would raise the question yet again. And definitely no patience for anyone who does it not even bothering to look at the rule book first to pick the right method, choosing instead to just virtually sign an absolutely worthless and STUPID secession petition directed at the President.
[Yes, I KNOW that this was an invited stupid: as one newspaper put it " Established by - and supply however much irony you care to here - the Obama administration, the site promises that "every petition that crosses the 25,000-signature threshold is reviewed and receives a response." But this is when I harken back to that age-old question when it comes to the signers: if your best friend jumps off a cliff are you going to jump right along with him?"]
That ignorance of law that underlies petitioning the President for something that only the states collectively try and do has really burned my biscuits, especially since it also evinces an extreme failure of the basic rules of logic. After all, if one rejects the executive duly elected to lead the country, petitioning that executive (which is the guy whose office is represented by wethepeople.gov; you haven't seen any portraits of John Boehner over there, have you?) to do anything is a bit…Stupid.
And, since I have nowhere near the patience for Stupid with a capital S that I had when I was myself young and stupid......kthxbuhbai.
As if I did not have enough to push me over the edge already, what finally sent me into the ultimate hissy fit of kthxbuhbai was this realization. It was not enough for these secession boneheads to be looking downright foolish to their own fellow Americans for asking the very person they say they can't live with for permission to do something -- a permission he clearly can't give. Oh no. Instead, this is all happening at the same time we've been subjected to worldwide dissemination of that type of American ignorance, through social media threats to move to other countries. That is what has finally done me in: all this petition signing is happening at the same time as the entire world is seeing exactly how parochial, uneducated, and ignant many Americans are through those white Americans' tweeting and facebooking all over creation about how they are leaving, because they simply can't go on in the face of four more years of a Black president. Moving to other countries that embody everything they say they are running from the possibility of.
Like Canada. Or, my beloved second home (by marriage) of Australia.
Although its been diaried before, there is just so much fail in this tweet that it to me epitomizes the outright IGNANT that underlies the entire online secession story:
Folks like this might be funny if they were not so, so sad. And we should be sad, as Americans, that this 10-day old virtual rush to the US exit portal has put on full display the outright ignorance of far too many of our citizens when it comes to their own understanding of our nation's inglorious history and the valiant successful effort to preserve the Union, what it means for a state to be part of the United States of America legally, and especially the utter ignorance about the rest of the countries occupying the globe with us. Just because the Boogeyman aka the Honorable Barack Hussein Obama (yay!) was re-elected by the majority of his fellow citizens.
All this post-election secessioning requesting and threatening to take one's marbles to some other country merely confirms that on the internet countless forms of Fuckin' Ignant are guaranteed to spring up at will and suck up your time and energy just when you finally decide its time to log off and clean out your rain gutters or reline your kitchen pantry drawers. Especially since, perhaps in furtherance of the idea that it is better to laugh than to cry with rage, this last week has also seen a groundswell of dueling petitions on We the People.
For example, 2,115 North Carolinians wanted to be absolutely, positively, reassured by the White House that it is not going to listen to the more than 25,000 other North Carolinians that asked to be able to "peaceably secede" from the union. It is clear that these North Carolinians' trust levels (in the basic principles of our government, their fellow Americans, their own state governments OR the President) are low because they made a point of quoting Pledge of Allegiance in their petition just to make sure that the White House knew they really, really, really mean it when they say they want to stay part of the United States. Similarly in response to the Texas petition asking for the right to go buhbye, we now have a petition signed by 1,138 (as of when this diary was written) residents of the Lone Star State asking politely that the US government "disregard attempts to withdraw Texas from the Union.".
Just to hedge against the possibility that a state's majority really had lost its fuckin' mind and would get the White House's agreement, we also have another set of petitions making equally not-even-legal requests for secession: secession at the municipal level. For example, more than 5,000 folks from Austin, Texas have asked that Austin remain part of the United States if the rest of the state is kicked to the curb (except for Dublin, Lockhart and Shiner, which Austin would like to annex for undisclosed reasons) on the grounds that their city "continues to suffer difficulties stemming from the lack of civil, religious, and political freedoms imposed upon the city by less liberally minded Texans." Meanwhile, more than 1,000 citizens of El Paso, Texas have also asked for an out on the grounds that the state treats El Paso like "a second class citizen". (Just to sweeten the ask, the El Paso petitioners note that the city's "demographics are more similar to New Mexico" anyway.) And, in response to the 25,000-plus signature-strong petition asking for permission for the State of Georgia to secede we have a counter petition asking that the government "Peacefully grant the City of Atlanta leave to withdraw from the State of Georgia and remain part of the United States." There are 1,333 signatures on this petition, which notes that the City of Atlanta "continues to suffer deprivations of economic, civil, religious, and political freedoms imposed upon it by Georgians (who are hostile to Atlanta)." Evincing the visceral emotional response that some Atlantans might feel about the prospect of being stuck outside the US with no respite from neighborhoods like the whitest parts of Forsyth County, the petition makes clear that this request is a cultural survival move as much as anything else:
We would also like to annex Athens, Georgia, Decatur, Georgia and the parts of Macon, Georgia made famous by the Allman Brothers.And, finally, just when you thought it couldn't get any more surreal, a petition was posted at We the People asking the President to do the Hokey Pokey in a display of national unity (right foot first, to show how generous and forgiving a man he is; glad they didn't ask me or I would need the President's anger translator.)
Self-deportation: It's not just for brown people anymore.