I'd like to think most reasonable people can agree that casual discussion of secession is unsettling.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Monday that secession was a "deeply American principle," amid a growing number of people petitioning the White House to let their states secede from the U.S.
"Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those 'traitors' became our country's greatest patriots," the former presidential candidate wrote in a post on his House website. "There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents."
He continued: "If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it."
I suppose it's inevitable during times of intense ideological strife that, once an election season ends, those dissatisfied with the results will react with excessive rhetoric. It's not uncommon, for example, to hear isolated voices talk about moving to another country, rather than suffering through four years of elected leaders they disapprove of.
But casual talk about secession -- from elected officials, no less -- is more disconcerting. In Ron Paul's case, there's nothing especially "American" about breaking up America. It happened that one time, and if memory serves, the results were fairly devastating.
"If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it"? Actually, the recourse is called an election, and they happen in the United States with great frequency.
If voters disapprove of a governmental direction, they don't need to secede; they need to vote for candidates who'll approve a different direction. If those candidates come up short, there's another election on the horizon.