My Musings: Secession of Southern States From the Union?

With the increasing fascist overreach of the state government in Florida and similar moves with the authoring and enacting of discriminatory, civil rights restriction laws in other Southern states, I do wonder about eventual attempts at secession from the Union. Doing so would be unquestionably tumultuous and hurtful for assorted vulnerable groups, such as Black people, gays, trans folx, and others who reside in those states, not to mention generally economically cataclysmic. However, the aggressive direction of Florida becoming a more nationalistic, authoritarian run state is alarming. I don’t see other sections of the country, such as New England (and certainly not Massachusetts, where I reside) and California, going in that direction. How are these differently run states supposed to harmoniously operate cheek to jowl together under the same umbrella sovereignty? If the federal government becomes led by Trump or DeSantis, or someone else ideologically like them, will the more Blue, democratically-oriented states just go along? The cultural-governmental tensions are growing before our eyes. Either authoritarianism will need to be contained or the U.S.A. seems headed for some kind of deeper splitting along geographical-ideological lines.

The parallels of Eastern Europe, namely the Balkans and their historical divisions (most recently the former Yugoslavia becoming the handful of countries it now is), come to mind for me. From a far distance, without getting into the enormous details of differences between Eastern Europe and the U.S.A., what I see in both of these regions is a strain occurring along major cultural, ethnic differences.

The right wing extremist congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently spoke in the House of Representatives of secession. She was soon widely judged for speaking of this. However, as much as I do not like or respect Rep. Greene and wish she would be expelled from her post, I do wonder just how much she was speaking aloud the sentiments of many in her own constituency and beyond. I am not familiar with a recent, large survey of U.S. citizens and their thoughts on secession. But, it is remarkable how this topic keeps coming up in public discourse more often in recent years, even if it continues to get stridently dismissed. It concerns me how the idea continues to be brought up anyway.

Pragmatically speaking, does the U.S.A. need to become a smaller group of sovereign countries, governed in different ways according to their cultural majorities? Is this the direction things are going whether one agrees or not that there is such a “need?” I am all for unity while respecting diversity and even enjoying it, but a lot of people do not seem to be thinking and acting this way. I’m just not sure if many of those minds can be changed, even if doing so is a worthwhile, valiant effort. White supremacy needs to be quelled, and urgently, but how? I don’t think education alone will achieve this.

Will progressive activism, including efforts to enfranchise as many voters as possible to then vote, stabilize the country? I hold some cautious hope, for now. But, how long will that overall approach consistently work? Can we depend on a critical mass of Millennials and Gen Zs, perhaps especially the latter, to stabilize governments on both federal and state levels? Will economic shifts, such as those towards a fairer, less extreme distribution of wealth, happen soon enough as a major part of this stabilization process? (Corporate oligarchs are benefitting from these cultural divisions between and among us middle and lower income folks.)

As a child growing up in California, my very left leaning former step/foster mother told me on more than one occasion that she thought the U.S. was too big and would fare better being divided into at least a few countries. It was too large and unwieldy to govern. I’m sure she explained with more details, but I can’t remember exactly what those were. These days, I wonder if she was on to something.

These are not fully formed, particularly researched thoughts, but, for now, there they are. I am left feeling very concerned about the future of America.