Is Secession in the United States a Good Idea?

In a word…no. Of course, there’s a lot more to consider than just a gut instinct and I wouldn’t be much of a blogger if I just put something out there without at least putting forth some kind of logical context for the opinion. However, sometimes you have to lead with your answer rather than lead up to it when it’s something that you strongly believe because leading with an affirmative statement demonstrates the gravity with which you view the issue. So my definitive, unequivocal statement regarding states or regions breaking away from the existing country is that it is not a good idea.

There are several reasons for this, but perhaps the most important reason is that it’s incredibly lazy, and that’s just not the American way. When in our history have we ever found it acceptable to just walk away from a problem just because it was difficult? We didn’t land men on the moon by discovering that it was too hard and then just giving up on the whole idea. Vast resources were thrown at the problem and we kept at it until we figured it out. Americans might be many things, but at heart we aren’t cowards.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’re aware that I’m not a fan of the federal government. There has been massive overreach by a corrupt political system that is bent on folding the American public to their collective will. The system is absolutely broken and many times it feels like there is just no way to fix it. This mentality is exactly why the system continues to proliferate; no one believes they can do anything about it, so no one does. As the saying goes, darkness can only exist in the absence of light.

America is an idea. It is founded on the concept that freedom is something worth fighting for, and even if you’re not fighting for it for yourself, you’re fighting for it for someone else. One of the things that people don’t understand is that you can’t truly understand what light does for you if you’ve never experienced it. If you lived your whole life in a dark cave and have never seen a gorgeous sunset or beautiful flowers, then of course you have no reason to yearn for the outside. It isn’t until you are exposed to it that you have a chance to truly appreciate it.

The same is true of freedom. Much of the world still lives mired in authoritarian regimes that care more about control than about the well being of their citizens. There have always been people who either believe they know better than you do or just thrive on feeling in control of others. If you’ve never experienced the freedom that comes from living in a place where no one has the authority to tell you what to do, it’s difficult to even imagine it. America has fought wars in attempts to bring even the tiniest glimmer of freedom to the darkest parts of the world.

Forgive the tangent, but the idea of fighting for freedom is a critical component of why it is a terrible idea for the United States to begin breaking up into small factions. The reality is that those factions with more conservative ideals will continue to live in the best traditions of what our country has always been, while those who consider themselves more progressive will continue to implement policies and laws that oppress their citizens. The misery and human cost will continue to mount until something has to give.

If we truly believe in standing up for the innocent, there will come a time in the future where we will have no choice but to force these regions to free their people. This will lead to exactly the kind of war that nobody wants. Some of us might wish to have a “peaceful divorce” from the people we disagree with, but the reality is that one side or another will eventually grow strong enough to want to force their ideology on the other. Violence will be the inevitable result.

The better option is to continue fighting in our current system, as futile as that might seem. The true path to a return to American exceptionalism isn’t walling each other off or trying to force everyone to behave the way we wish they would. It is bringing people together by convincing them to follow a better way. It is by fighting oppression with any means necessary and teaching people to value others as much as they value themselves. You can’t do that when you build walls between us.

For America to remain the dominant nation in the world, we have to get over our petty bickering and start really talking to each other. To do this will require some hard choices, not the least of which is digging into the current system and purging the poisonous vipers from our midst. It is only when we decide we’re finally not going to take it anymore that we can “drain the swamp”, because the stagnant water will just keep rushing back in as long as we keep using buckets when we should be using industrial pumps.

So to answer the question again: no, there should not be any secession in the United States. It is only through working together that we can keep America as the shining jewel of liberty in a world that so desperately seems to want to return to the darkness. If we can’t stand up to our own problems, how can we demand it from the rest of the world? The path forward is not cowardice, but steadfast devotion to American ideology. We should never allow ourselves to stray from it.

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