Secession talk, progressives, and nutiness

Nutiness is often a lot of fun, particularly if the person exhibiting the nutty behavior realizes that they are behaving in a nutty fashion.  It’s fun, therapeutic, and is often a good way to blow off steam.  But it’s probably not a good thing for nutiness to become an operating principle in politics.

Since Obama’s re-election, there have been a number of petitions circulated calling for the secession of various parts of the country.  The most well known ones originated from the South (particularly Texas, where a segment of the population seems to shout about secession every time something happens that they don’t like)

Inevitably, when the secession talk starts, a few progressives respond with “go ahead and secede!!”, often accompanied by the customary depiction of southern whites as ignorant rednecks.

I can see how this could be fun for both the people circulating the secession petitions, and the progressives who are ridiculing them.  Two things should be made clear, though.

The first is that nobody here in the south who isn’t already hunched over their keyboard wearing a tinfoil hat takes the secession talk seriously.  The petitions were mostly part of the general outpouring of disappointment Republican southerners felt over Obama’s re-election.  Perhaps a few of them took the petitions seriously, but most were just engaged in an outpouring of grief.

The second is that we progressives aren’t going to convince white southerners that they would benefit from our policy proposals if our response is to stereotype them as ignorant bumpkins.

The south is an integral part of the United States, and is going to continue in that status, and southerners are happy with that.  Secession didn’t turn out very well for the south in the 1860s, and a solid majority of the population here, of all races and national backgrounds, is aware of that fact.

So let me address a paragraph each to the two groups I’ve talked about: the people circulating the secession petitions, and the progressives who are ridiculing them.

To conservative southerners who fantasize about secession, take a few deep breaths and go on with your life.  The world out there is the same world it was the day before the election. Your side lost the election, but losing an election is no reason to go publicly nuts.  If you want to discuss the finer points of constitutional law on this issue, fine, but realize that in a practical sense the issue was settled 150 years ago with over half a million Americans dead.

And as for progressives, you are supposed to be the segment of the political spectrum which most values inclusion and diversity.  Act like it.  I’m a white, southern, Georgia progressive Democrat.  If I didn’t believe that Democratic values, and progressive values, were universal, I’d find some other way to spend my time.  White southerners are not the uniformly racist neanderthals some of you seem to think we are.  If the progressive movement writes off any part of the population, and fails to try and convince them that our ideas and our values are the ones to move the nation forward, we might as well just retire to the forums on Poltico, or Wonkette, and be done with it.

So, that being said, everyone resume trading insults across the internet.  Or don’t.  It’s up to you.