Preserving the Imperfect Union

Flag of the United States (upside down)

Flag of the United States (upside down) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every once in a while the idea comes out from a politician, or political group, usually in the south (though not always) that their state should secede from the union. Sometimes it is blatant, but not always. Sometimes they make these calls in coded messages, or subtle hints,though mostly they prefer to keep it obvious to play to the xenophobia of their base. The last few years I have noticed the xenophobia on the left sneaking out with their increasingly loud cries of “let them.” Here is why, besides the obvious bigotry of these so-called “liberals”, that is a bad idea.

None of these states is some monolithic society of privileged, straight, white, cis men. Texas in particular has become an increasingly diverse state. The same can be said of North Carolina. Even those states that have not seen the huge change in demographics those two have are still homes to large populations of the disenfranchised. If we let these states abandon the union we are abandoning those folks.

People of color in particular will suffer. These are states whose current batch of elected officials show complete disdain for the idea of a social safety net. Racial minorities, in particular Black Americans, are disproportionately poor. If we let Texas or any of these other “red” states leave millions of PoC will be left with no hope. They will have no recourse in federal courts when they are discriminated against. They will be jailed in ever greater numbers to create a new slave class, something that has been happening to begin with, but without the help of a strong, national movement and progressive politicians from around the country it is that much more likely that their plight will be ignored.

Of course you cannot forget what the theocrats that are so motivated in these regions will do to women and queer folk. Unless there are major shifts in those states’ politics (and if there were, we would not be having this conversation) women will be forced back into second class status, with their reproductive and marital rights rolled back by decades, if not centuries. The LGBT community will be forced back deep in the closet, or risk arrest. We will be killed with relative impunity in some of these places without the help of our national bonds.

I know what some of you will say next, because I have heard this poor counter argument spoken out loud. “If it’s so bad there, people can just move.” The statement is at best naive and in all reality shows the depths of your denial and privilege. So many of these folks do not have the option to leave. They are trapped, by economics, and by the bonds of their family.  So many of you refuse to acknowledge the weight of that fact, if you acknowledge the fact itself.

Too many “liberals” or “leftists” are too busy being impressed with themselves in their self-righteous glow of superiority to “those” rednecks in southern states. You refuse to appreciate the efforts of real progressives in those places who face battles far riskier and far more frustrating than your own. You refuse to see how living in a “blue” state has protected you from a sociopath neo-aristocracy and fear mongering psychotics. You believe that the benefits of your community come from your own goodness and not from national movements that corrected some of these same evils in your home state.

Well, I am here to tell you that you are dead wrong. Some of the best, truest, and most ardent progressives I have known come from southern states. They are saddened by what is going in their home but continue to fight the good fight. Abandoning these true social justice warriors now is cowardice masked in flippant self-satisfaction. If you want a truly just society, we need to make it everywhere, not just in our back yards. So many of you (rightfully) make this case when discussing the injustices in foreign lands, but fail to do so for your fellow Americans.

America is not a perfect union, but we are a union. We joined together all those years ago because we knew we were mightier, and therefore safer, together. If we let the union falter now we will be guaranteeing that none of us is safe. We will create new nations of desperate people. We will create suffering on a massive scale and not just in the immediately apparent ways. Maybe those of us in “safe” states won’t feel it (though Bubba, I wouldn’t bet on it) but even if that’s true, we will have abetted cruelty elsewhere. We will have turned a blind eye and that is just as bad. So wise up rather than just cracking yourself up. Your smug demeanor will be wiped away when you see the costs of it.

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6 thoughts on “Preserving the Imperfect Union

  1. Pingback: Lack of Empathy: It’s Not Just For Conservatives | Hand of Ananke

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