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A white Ford F-250 pick-up rumbled through town, a Confederate rebel flag on a pole behind the cab; on the rear bumper were a pro-life and three Anti-Obama stickers, two of which could not be revealed in a family newspaper.

It wasn’t a lone wolf protest; several cars, trucks, and homes in the area sport similar flags and messages. During the summer, when a 4-wheel Jamboree and a Monster Truck rally are held at the local fairgrounds, attracting thousands from a multi-state area, many trucks fly rebel flags, insignia, and political statements. During the annual eight-day fair at the end of September, vendors sell all kinds of items with the Confederate battle flag, most of them made overseas.

The rebels say they are fierce independents. But, being a “rebel” doesn’t mean you can complain about paying taxes, while also denying climate change and evolution. Nevertheless, those flying rebel flags, although they may be disenchanted and alienated from the mainstream, are still part of traditional mainstream America.

They may claim they oppose “Government” (also known as “gummint”) intruding upon their lives, but think it’s perfectly acceptable for government to make rules about the people’s sexual practices and to invade women’s bodies.

They also believe government has the duty to create laws to require national identification for every citizen and establish restrictive measures that weaken the rights of all people to vote, especially those who aren’t White establishment Republicans. When the U.S. invaded Iraq for reasons that were questionable at best, chest-thumping jingoistic “rebels” were the strongest supporters of military action. But, they remained largely silent when liberals and social activists spoke out about soldiers not being given adequate body armor, and military hospitals not giving the wounded adequate treatment. They have also remained largely silent about the one-fourth of America’s homeless who were combat veterans.

These pretend-rebels gave standing ovations to the PATRIOT Act that established numerous ways the government could violate citizen rights granted by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments. When the federal courts ruled parts of the Act to be unconstitutional, the “patriotic rebels” complained about activist judges.

They listen to conservative talk radio and Fox News, all of which bash the mainstream media, but don’t recognize that the very sources they turn to for information are also mainstream media, owned by establishment multi-millionaires.

They willingly agree with Mitt Romney, even in defeat, that 47 percent of Americans are takers who “want stuff,” but don’t recognize that one of the biggest takers who wanted more “stuff” was Romney himself, who ran a venture capital company that existed to take over other companies. Even fellow Republicans during the primaries called Romney not a venture capitalist but a vulture capitalist.

In a local newspaper, which daily opens a full page, sometimes two full pages, to dozens of one or two paragraphs of grammatically-scurrilous rants from local citizens, are variations of President Obama being a Kenyan-born Muslim who is leading America into Communism and self-destruction, their thoughts mimicking the screed of conservative talk show hosts, pundits, and bloviators.

But the rebel who drove the white F-250 doesn’t live in the Deep South; this is in the rural red center of blue-state Pennsylvania, home of the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg, the turning point of the Civil War.

The Civil War—known as the War Between the States among Confederate sympathizers—is still being fought. Almost 25,000 Pennsylvanians have now signed petitions to have the Keystone State secede from the union.

More than 700,000 citizens upset about the re-election of President Obama in the past two weeks have signed petitions calling for their states to secede. The states with most of the signatures are Red States, paralleling the former Confederacy, which receive far more in federal dollars than their citizens pay. They are also the states where numerous polls reveal at least one-fourth of all citizens don’t believe in the separation of church and state. Maybe the U.S. can convince Iran and Saudi Arabia, theocratic dictatorships, to annex those states.

However, Texas, with more than 120,000 signatures, leads all lists of petitions. It would be tempting to send the Lone Star State back to Mexico. They get Texas, and the U.S. gets Acapulco, Cancun, and Mazatlan. In 2009, running for re-election, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, trying to burnish his ultra-conservative credentials, had even suggested that not only did he align himself with right-wing extremists but that Texas could become so mad at the federal government they might consider seceding. But now, he says he disagrees with the citizens who ignorantly claim the 10th Amendment gives them right to secede.

Perhaps it’s because Gov. Perry realizes that the only way a state can secede from the union, according to the Constitution, is not by having a majority of citizens petition the White House or even having an election, but only by an armed insurrection, something that didn’t work in 1861—and won’t work today.

Nevertheless, there is one possibility for those who so willingly signed secession petitions, mouthing off before they understood the penalties for treason.

For more than four decades, these conservative pretend-rebels told everyone who disagreed with them and protested American policy that they were un-American and unChristian. Not knowing even the basics of the Constitution or political philosophy, the conservative “rebels” called protestors for social justice pinkos, Commies, and traitors. They drilled into the public discourse the mantra of “America—love it or leave it.” By their own actions the past two weeks, it may now be time for a few hundred thousand to pack their bags and take their own advice.

[Walter Brasch proudly calls himself a social activist who, although he often disagrees with government actions, believes in the right of the state to exist and to protect its citizens from all forms of terrorism and stupidity, both foreign and domestic. His current book, which looks at the American Revolution and the Revolution of the 1960s, is Before the First Snow, available at and]

Originally posted to brasch on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 07:26 AM PST.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let them blow the hot air... (5+ / 0-)

    Where are they going to go? Every other civilized country is more progressive than we are.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 07:50:01 AM PST

    •  Where they go is not our department, (4+ / 0-)

      but, I would think they could fit right in in Somalia.
      The Love it or Leave it thing they've pushed since VietNam cuts both ways. They didn't usually say where to go.
      When they were pressed, it usually was "Russia", as if we wanted more authoritarian, more militarist control, right?
      Or to H3ll.
      So trot on, folks, you want to leave? You go out the way your forebearers came in, with what you could carry.
      Or is it that you want US to leave?
      That's not secession, that's ethnic cleansing.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:29:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I grew up on the border of Penna and Alabama (5+ / 0-)

    Washington County Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh and Philly make up Pennsylvania, surrounded by Alabama. 4 wheel trucks with lift kits, chromed tow chain and differential covers, and a confederate flag, with the stereo blasting the news that "The Souths gonna do it agin."

    Faux confererates did not like my question about that statement. I wanted to know "What is the South going to do again? Start another war a then lose it?"

    Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

    by Mentatmark on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:11:00 AM PST

  •  Most of the folks sporting Confederate flags (10+ / 0-)

    and paraphernalia are working class or poor whites or white posers.  Most of the stupid rhetoric about secession comes from economically disenfranchised whites.  This is their response to the real and perceived loss of privilege.  This is the "we want America back" mob.  I get it.  

    As a gay asian american pinko (born in Obama's Hawai'i), I have been on the personal receiving end of physical and verbal assaults by folks like these, but I don't consider them my enemy.  While they sometimes present an immediate physical threat to me, they are not my enemy.  What they want, the America that they believe provided them with the avenue to economic plenty, didn't necessarily exist for them in the past.  They have been sold and have bought a convenient bill of goods.

    White poverty has existed as long as this country has existed.  Our founding fathers didn't provide poor whites a right to vote.  Most poor people in this country are white.  

    I don't wish to minimize the stupidity of these fruitless secessionists, but I don't want to lose the greater threat to our country -  those wealthy and powerful who own "the means of production" and who will exploit that power to institutionalize greater disparities in wealth, educational opportunities, housing, to the benefit of those very few (who are not those white folks in a ford pickup with a confederate flag on the bumper), and only those very few.

    Enjoyed your well-written diary.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:11:44 AM PST

    •  Well said, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uncle Moji, TheDuckManCometh

      Though I must add, there are some of these people who ARE the enemy, the ringleaders of this kind of thinking. And I would not be at all surprised to find rather cynical backing behind some of them.
      Keeping people divided, over anything, can be exploited, must be exploited, if you are 0.1% intent on ruling it all. Not only split these "Rebels" off from poor people of color, but also split them from other poor whites who don't share their worldview (and there are plenty of them).
      They play a game I call "Let's you and him fight."

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:39:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I lived in Chicago, a group of young poor (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheDuckManCometh, kayak58, IndyReader

        uneducated unemployed white boys got bamboozled by a white guy in a nice convertible who came into the neighborhood and told them that the root of ALL of their troubles were all the "other" people who lived in the neighborhood.  This was a ward that was white, black, latino, asian, native, immigrant, gay, straight, rich, poor, doctors, coal miners from Appalachia with black lung, educated, poorly educated, powerful (the Gov had a townhouse near the lake), impoverished, with mansions and tenements...this guy came with a handful of cash, keys to an old car, a handgun, a confederate flag, and a virulent ideology of hate and separation.  

        The boys began terrorizing the neighborhood.  One of them, with good honest parents from Appalachia, broke with the group, and was shot dead by them.   A good decent family lost their son, who was set up ambushed and murdered by his "friends".  The guy with the car disappeared and never came back.  So much for White Power.

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:06:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The old guy probably went back to IN. [nt] (0+ / 0-)

          Bowers v. DeVito "...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered."
          Director of Merchandising - the Liberal Gun Club
          Interim Chairman - Democratic Gun Owners' Caucus of Missouri

          by ErikO on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 11:31:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I doubt that even most of the signatures (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, Uncle Moji

    on that secession petition were actually people from Pennsylvania.

    When I looked at the one from Oregon, they guy who started it actually was from Oregon, but I was over 700 signatures in before I counted 100 who were Oregonians (embarrassingly enough, one was from my hometown).

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:29:04 AM PST

  •  There's no way a breakaway reactionary state (0+ / 0-)

    would stay small-d democratic, not and obtain the openly desired objectives reaction: rule by a much whiter, older, richer and male-r cabal than currently calls the shots.

    For starters, most of the louder secessionist cries come from states with LARGE minority populations.

    Or did someone think that Texas would sudden because wholly non-Hispanic, or Mississippi AA-free overnight?

    Oh, no. If that sort of thing is what these secessionist chuckleheads are after, things will look a lot less like the Confederacy and a lot more like Bosnia and Kosovo in a big fat hurry.

    And the rest of us, the people who like being American, would have to get involved.

    Helping the freakshows pack, alas, would not be the easy out.

  •  brasch - signing a petition isn't treason (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CwV, Utahrd, debedb

    Please look up the definition of treason, it's in the Constitution. You will see that signing a petition meets none of the elements required.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:06:16 AM PST

    •  See, for example "None Dare Call it Treason", or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the even worse crap by Ann Coulter. So, yeah, you're 100% correct, but I'm afraid that your whole point has become much smaller than you and I both think it should be.

      Maybe we need to have a mini-subset of "Treason" called treason just for conversational purposes.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:57:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  response (0+ / 0-)

      1st A gives right to free speech. BUT, the treason part is the INTENJT tomoverthrow a legally-constituted country. You can petition for redress of grievances, but you can't take up arms.

  •  On the one hand, we have to watch BYU football (0+ / 0-)

    on the other hand, Confederates thought that Mormons were Apostates.

    So there are just a handful of Loser Cross bumper stickers on pickup trucks here.  

    You see more "Live Simply so that others may simply live" stickers on Lincoln Navigators, but that's a diary for a different time.

  •  They can always "self-deport" n/m (0+ / 0-)

    "Its always better to be shot from a cannon than squeezed from a tube" Hunter S. Thompson

    by hooktool on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:33:33 PM PST

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