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"Not since the Civil War has the fault line between [America's] two halves been so glaringly clear, nor the chasm between its two cultures so starkly unbridgeable."
Simon Schama, Columbia University professor and noted art critic
The only boundaries are in your mind.
New California Republic
Fear has become the great motivator for many political ends. Vote for us or the gays are going to destroy your families. Vote for us or the terrorists are going to attack.
Many of those who have commented about California independence are also tossing out the fear card. If California tries to secede the troops will come marching in. There will be a bloodbath in the Sierras and the Mojave Desert.
Erection ring for men!
Still others suggest that if the current administration is so willing to send troops half a world away why wouldn’t they just as easily march on San Francisco, Sacramento or Los Angeles?
Let me just reiterate what I’ve stated elsewhere. This isn’t about starting a civil war. We are talking about peaceful secession and the creation of an independent California. Time will judge if a majority of Californians agree that independence is the best way. If and when that happens it is our desire that cooler heads prevail and a diplomatic, peaceful, political resolution comes about.
Who is to say what the map of North America will look like in the next century? We’ve already seen incredible transformation in Europe in just the past 20 years. Who would have imagined that the former Soviet satellite states and republics would break away without so much as a shot being fired? We might have expected an all out war in Eastern Europe, but it never happened. If former Soviet leaders—you know, the Evil Empire folks—were able to exercise restraint in the face of changing political times, shouldn’t we expect the same from North American leaders?
It’s interesting to note that China is about to pass an “anti-secession” law. Why? Most political analysts believe this new anti-secession law is going to be used as justification for the use of force if Taiwan declares its independence. The U.S. hasn’t said much about this anti-secession law. Isn’t it interesting how the voice for freedom—which has been invoked to justify our invasion of Iraq—has suddenly grown silent? Is it because the Bush administration knows that denouncing the anti-secession amendment might put the U.S. in the awkward position of supporting secession when it occurs elsewhere in the world, but fighting against it when it happens in his own backyard?
The fact is that U.S. foreign policy supported the secession in mass of the Baltic states, Eastern European countries and other former Soviet satellite republics. Why shouldn’t the same be true on the North American continent?
The movement toward California independence is growing simply because a lot of people in this state—perhaps not the majority now, but I predict it will increase in coming years—believe that our arrangement with the federal government isn’t working in this state’s best interests anymore. California, and this is true for a number of other states as well, is shouldering a disproportionate tax burden for the rest of the country. At the same time, many of these other states are pushing an agenda that is very different from the views of most Californians.
A case in point is stem cell research. This was something that should have been funded on a national level. When the flat earth policymakers in the Bush Administration and religious conservatives thwarted those efforts, California came to the rescue. The stem cell research initiative was dubbed by some as “scientific secessionism.”
One might conclude that this isn’t an argument for secession because Californians can take bold initiatives like this regardless of who’s in charge in Washington, D.C. But that may be a shortsighted conclusion. What if congressional leaders from other states proposed federal legislation that would ban all stem cell research? What if religious conservatives targeted California’s stem cell research initiative in the federal courts and it went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court with a couple of additional justices like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia? Believe me, that possibility isn’t farfetched by any means.
Freedom is the very issue at stake here. We may not see the full impact of the erosion of our freedoms in America right now. But if the United States continues down a path where our politics and policies are dominated by the religious conservative agenda, then where will be? If the people of California continue to see our economic lifeblood and taxes siphoned off to other states I believe the people in this state—red, blue, conservative, moderate, liberal—will take more warmly to the idea of California independence.
If the federal government continues to be unresponsive in the handling immigration reform, Californians are going to take matters into their own hands. If we continue to see the weakening of environmental laws and policies that are invasive to personal freedoms, Californians will stand up and declare their independence. It is, in fact, already happening.
It’s a new century and forward-thinking Californians have the right to imagine and work toward a better model for a good society. I’m not talking about a socialist agenda. We are the world’s fifth largest economy and we can work together to create a government that is closer to us and more responsive to our ideals and values. We are in fact pushing the envelope for more freedom—economically, socially, environmentally and politically.
A free California is nothing the rest of North America needs to fear. We won’t be invading Arizona or Nevada or Mexico. After all, is freedom something anyone should fear?