If you've been to this blog before, you know I'm concerned about the demise of democracy in America. Every other week I host a blog carnival dedicated to this topic. But my point in hosting that carnival is not to just depress and spread the bad news, but to raise awareness and get people fired up enough about it to save democracy.
Yes, I still think it is possible to restore our democracy, but a lot of that will depend on the results of the Presidential election thirteen months from now. And, frankly, I'm looking at the field of candidates and starting wonder if we should be working on a "Plan B."
On the Republican side, it doesn't look like any of the candidates are anxious to roll back Bush's assault on our liberties, and some (Giuliani...) seem positively giddy about leading the country further down the path to total police state.
On the Democratic side, I'm saddened to see very little discussion of restoring habeas corpus or the Bill of Rights, repealing the Patriot Act, or ending the spying on American citizens. Of the front runners, I don't see Senator Clinton acting any quicker than any of the Republicans on returning stolen Presidential power to the people. While I have slightly more faith in Senators Obama and Edwards, neither of them list "democracy" under the "issues" sections of their web sites.
So where does that leave us?
With a small, but growing, group of fringe elements who are currently gathered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Second North American Secessionist Convention, co-sponsored by The Middlebury Institute and The League of the South.
In attendance are some of the "usual suspects" (white Southerners who believe they can still win the War Between the States) along with representatives from groups you might feel more at home with, from Vermont, to Alaska, to Hawaii, to California. You may be surprised to find them all over the map politically, as well, with only the common bond of feeling the Federal Government has over-stepped its Constitutional boundaries and that they can enjoy more freedom and democracy by stepping outside of its protections.
Take a look at some of who is in attendance:
(Video by Bradley Wogsland)
So, have I suddenly become a secessionist? No, I'm actually rather torn... On the one hand, I fully support the right to secede (and the right to revolution, each in Jeffersonian terms)... but the practicality of most of the states surviving as independent entities, or even a loose confederation, is highly doubtful. For all its faults, there is some benefit (economically as well as security-wise) to remaining a union.
My first priority is on restoring democracy to the U.S., secession is more of a last resort. But, depending on how things turn out thirteen months from now, that last resort might be looking more tempting.
For my part, and further research, I've just emailed Californians for Independence to find out more about their platform, and how they plan to liberate the Golden State from the Federal grip.
I'm steering clear of answering the question posed in the title to this post... for now... But I'll keep you informed of any new information.