Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sandy Levison at Balkinization has an interesting post on secession and the double standard of the right:
Imagine that Bill Richardson (who, by the way, has far more executive experience than all of the rest of the candidates put together, should we really believe that such experience is the most important single attribute in choosing a President) gave a cordial greeting to a gathering of La Raza Unida, which, altogether plausibly, claims that the United States basically stole what is now New Mexico from Mexico by precipitating a totally indefensible "war of choice" in order to expand American territory, and has called in the past, I believe, for either independence or returning the land to the "mother country." Or imagine that his wife was actually a member of La Raza Unida. I literally cannot imagine that the bloviators in the right wing would refrain from trying to drum the good Governor out of "respectable" politics.
This post is interesting, not only because it points out that the Right is all-too-ready to pull the "anti-American" card and will not tolerate it being brought against their own side, but also because, further down, it argues that secessionist politics are not a bad thing:
The Constitution is stunningly silent about the possibility of secession, and if one buys the "state compact" theory of the Constitution articulated by Madison and Jefferson in '98, then I (unlike Madison) don't think it's much of a stretch to go down the Calhounian route. At the very least, I think that the Confederate arguments for secession were certainly plausible; the defense of Lincoln's actions in refusing to let them go peacefully depend on one's views of slavery rather than Lincoln's "Union mysticism." And, of course, I have suggested, only half kiddingly, that there is no real reason for California (or the other Pacific rim states) to remain in the United States given a Constitution that systematically works against their interests--led by the Senate and the perverse importance of "battleground" states in the way we elect our presidents.
While I agree with the poster who disagrees with secession but clarifies that "a negotiated departure with the consent of everyone is a different story," I think the argument is one that we should take into consideration. In any case, I have little doubt that, as the election wears on, we will see the question put to to Sarah Palin more than once: "Do you believe in a unified country?"

No comments: