A group of Californians think it would be better to be a separate country than to be part of a union where Donald Trump is president. On Monday, November 21, they made their separatist scheme official by filing a proposed ballot measure to the state’s attorney general.
The organization, called Yes California, claims they planned to petition for separation from the United States before the results of the recent presidential election were known, but Donald Trump’s victory accelerated the timeline.
“We’re doing it now because of all of the overwhelming attention,” Marcus Evans, Yes California’s co-founder and vice president, told the Los Angeles Times.
Calling their measure “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019,” an obvious reference to Great Britain’s recent withdrawal from the European Union, The letter by Yes California to the attorney general “respectfully requests” that he “prepare a circulating title and summary” of the proposal which explains that a vote in favor of the initiative would amend the state’s Elections Code.
Section 2 of the official request for ballot presence for the plebiscite sets forth the exact wording of the constitutional question that could face voters of the Golden State in 2019:
"Should California become a free, sovereign, and independent country?”
Further down in the document, Yes California explains that if 50 percent of registered voters participate in the election and if 50 percent of voters cast a ballot in favor of the measure, the plebiscite “shall constitute a Declaration of Independence from the United States of America.”
Should Californians vote to leave the United States of America, the new country will be called the Republic of California and the governor of the new nation is required to “carry and shepherd an application for the newly-independent Republic of California to join the United Nations.”
The political bent of the backers of the movement is pretty easily discerned by the fact that the Republic of California’s first act as a new country would be to voluntarily sacrifice recently secured sovereignty to a body of globalist bureaucrats.
Marcus Evans claims, according to the Los Angeles Times, that Yes California counts on the support of about 13,000 citizens of the state who have volunteered to collect signatures. The bar is set pretty high: 585,407 signatures will need to be collected from registered voters to secure a spot on the California ballot in 2019.
The L.A. Times article reports that this is not the first attempt by Californians to cut the cord tying them to the rest of the American union.
"Various groups have made noise about California forming its own country in the wake of Trump’s election this month," the paper reports, "most prominently Silicon Valley financier Shervin Pishevar. But similar proposals have dotted the state’s political landscape for years."
Although not mentioned in the story, California’s quest to “dissolve the political bands which have connected them” to the United States is hardly unique. There have been at least 17 such efforts throughout the country over the past few decades.
While the motives and plans of the Yes California group are hardly in line with those of the American Founders, and they certainly aren’t seeking independence in order to establish a country committed to a deeper devotion to constitutional liberty and republican self-government, there is something decidedly American about the concept of breaking away from a larger central government.
Ron Paul, liberty movement icon and former presidential candidate, commented on the special place secession plays in the story of the creation of the American union.
"Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession,” Paul said.
Regarding the preeminent place secession holds in the history of the United States, noted economist Thomas DiLorenzo wrote:
How else could one possibly interpret the following passage from the Declaration but a declaration of secession or separation from Great Britain?: "That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." [Emphasis in original.]
In his first inaugural address, Jefferson advocated attempts at persuasion, as opposed to a Lincolnian waging of total war of terrorism on American citizens who sought disunion: "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union ... let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.”
In a January 29, 1804 letter to a Dr. Joseph Priestly, who had inquired about the prospect of the New England Federalists seceding from the union, as they were plotting to do at the time, Jefferson said: "Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children and descendants as those of the eastern."
If there was a separation in the future, Jefferson continued, "I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power.”
The contemporary gluttony of power by successive presidential administrations and congresses pushed the states onto their current track toward nullifying several federal acts and, possibly, seceding from the union.
Although nullification and not secession is the “rightful remedy” proposed by Thomas Jefferson, the latter it is a legitimate weapon in the war against the growth of an all-powerful central government with states serving as nothing more than subordinate administrative outposts.
In the words of Jefferson himself: "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Even the most ardent advocate of a stronger central government, Alexander Hamilton, recognized the inherent right of revolt in the face of unfettered federal despotism.
"To coerce the States [to remain in the Union] is one of the maddest projects that was ever devised,” Hamilton declared, noting that "a government that can only exist by the sword," with "Congress marching the troops of one State into the bosom of another” will be a nation always at war.
One of the reasons Yes California wants to make its own way in the world, according to a statement made by Marcus Evans that was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, is that “national media and organizations routinely criticize Californians for being out of step with the rest of the U.S.” There’s no denying that. How often does one hear California referred to as the “Left Coast?”
Maybe Evans and his colleagues have a point. Perhaps California is just too radically different from the rest of the country and the majority of residents believe that the political climate under a Trump administration would not accommodate their Progressive platform.
It seems a bit of a knee-jerk reaction by a bloc of voters who lost a presidential election they counted on winning and winning big. That’s not to say they’re wrong about the right of a state to withdraw from the union. In fact, they are right. But the leftist statism they embrace is wrong — and it is up to freedom-loving Californians to counter the leftist juggernaut threatening their liberties regardless if the threat comes from Washington, D.C. or Sacramento, or if California remains in or withdraws from the union.
During the Virginia ratifying convention in 1788, Patrick Henry warned delegates debating the merits of the proposed constitution that he believed their “rights and privileges” would eventually be “endangered” by the strong central government created in the document they were debating.
The California attorney general reports that he will treat Yes California’s petition seriously, and should Calexit supporters be able to muster sufficient financial resources and public support to collect the necessary number of signatures, elecdtion day March 13, 2019 in California could be quite a historic date in the history of the United States of America.
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