I can understand the angst of many Americans after the last elections. There is the growing sensation that government is not responsive anymore to the needs and desires of countless citizens in the vast red-state heartland.
Many want out and see secession from the Union as a way to leave the problem behind. Others simply want to register their protest and as a knee jerk reaction signed one of the numerous petitions asking for secession. All this is understandable – although if one’s problem with the government has reached the point of asking for secession, the last place I would want my name is on a petition lodged on the databases of the White House’s computers.
While I can understand the frustration, I take issue with secession for several reasons. The first is because I do not think it will resolve the problem. I am only too willing to admit that the federal government inside the beltway leaves much to be desired. However, our federal legislators come from the states. The main problem lies with the insufficiency of our whole political class and it extends across state lines. The dearth of leadership we experience is universal. I do not see any guarantees that the problems that are the cause of so much frustration on the federal level will not repeat themselves on the state level. Exchanging one set of federal unresponsive leaders for a set of similar state leaders hardly seems a solution.
The second reason is the fact that our American states are not nations. Any declaration of secession would be artificial. A nation like ours is not a corporate conglomerate that can spin off companies at will. A nation is formed organically when a collection of social units coalesces into a clearly distinctive whole. It forms an ethnic, cultural, social, economic, and political unity unable to be included or federated into any other one. Our American states do not yet form such unities since they are so intertwined culturally, economically and politically as to render this division extremely difficult.
Moreover, the duties of a nation are to safeguard the common good, provide for the common defense and foster the general prosperity. While I admire the courage of the Pennsylvania National Guard in the state where I live, I do not confide in their limited abilities to safeguard me against nuclear attack, global threats… or more powerful neighboring states. There are a number of duties that belong to the nation alone that our states are unprepared to assume. Nor do I see state leaderships with the moral courage to form new nations and inspire virtuous life in common.
The final reason I am against secession is that I do not identify with a state as I do with the nation. As a native Kansan, I have deep roots in the Midwest. However, like so many Americans I have lived in numerous states yet have no special link with any of them. While I have a great esteem for my present state of residence and also my state of birth, it is not the same as that for my country. Try as I might, I cannot awaken in my soul the same patriotic sentiments for Pennsylvania that I feel for America.
Like it or not (and I like it), we are Americans and we identify with America because it is our native land with a common history and culture. I have always been proud to be an American. For me, the American flag means something. And I would be willing to sacrifice myself for this nation that I love, have always loved, and which God has so blessed.
I realize that there are those with an agenda that are destroying my country. But my reaction should not be to abandon my country in its time of need but to come to its aid. It should be an attitude of “love it, don’t leave it.”
The real solution is to identify and address the problems. What we need now are unifying principles that will bring us back together and help us weather the crisis that looms upon the horizon. We need a return to order that will allow us to find organic, not artificial, solutions to the very real problems that plague us. This is an important theme of my book, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society – Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go.
If we have problems, then let us, as in time past, solve these problems not by running from them but by facing them. Let each state contribute its part, but let us face this crisis together like proud Americans.