'United' but separate
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another ...”
So begins the Declaration of Independence of the 13 colonies from the king and country to which they had given allegiance since the settlers first came to Jamestown and Plymouth Rock.
The declaration was signed by 56 angry old white guys who had enough. In seceding from the mother country, these patriots put their lives, fortunes and honor on the line.
Four score and five years later, 11 states invoked the same right “to dissolve the political bands” of the Union and form a new nation. After 620,000 had perished, the issue of a state's right to secede was settled at Appomattox. If that right had existed, it no longer did.
What are we to make, then, of petitions from 25,000 citizens of each of seven southern states — 116,000 from Texas alone — to secede?
While no one takes this movement as seriously as men took secession in 1861, the sentiments behind it ought not to be minimized. For they bespeak a bristling hostility to the federal government and a dislike bordering on detestation of some Americans for other Americans.
One America believes our history is a catalog of crimes against people of color, that women have an inviolable right to abortions, that condoms should be handed out to sexually active teens in schools where Darwinism should be taught as revealed truth, while Bibles, prayers and religious symbols should be permanently expelled.
The other America sees all this as unpatriotic, godless and decadent.
Now that Christmas and Easter have been expunged from public schools, and the public square and the popular culture have been thoroughly de-Christianized, we Americans seem to have but one holy day of obligation that brings us all together: Super Bowl Sunday.
Could today's America come together to build an interstate highway system? Environmentalists would have killed Ike's highway system and the Hoover and Grand Coulee dams, as today they seek to stop fracking for oil and natural gas and block the Keystone XL pipeline.
As for states seceding, however, is that really a solution to national disintegration? Tens of millions with Blue State mindsets live in Red State America, and vice versa. While folks in Texas may talk of seceding from the Union, folks in Austin talk of seceding from Texas.
Yet we should take seriously what is behind this desire to separate and sever ties, for it mirrors what is happening across our civilization. The West is decomposing.
British Tories seek to cut ties to the European Union. Scots want to leave Britain. Northern Europeans are weary of carrying their profligate southern brethren and muse about cutting Greece adrift and letting it float out into the Mediterranean.
And Americans are already seceding from one another — ethnically, culturally, politically. Middle-class folks flee high-tax California, as Third World immigrants, legal and illegal, pour in to partake of the cornucopia of social welfare benefits the Golden Land dispenses.
Eighteen states have gone Democrat in six straight presidential elections. A similar number have gone Republican.
“Can we all just get along?” asked Rodney King during the Los Angeles riot of 1992. Well, if we can't, we can at least dwell apart.
After all, it's a big country.
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”