Baugh: A Nation Without A Country, Part IV - A Civilized Secession
In this series thus far, we have discussed the framework of secession via a hypothetical example of how simple events can easily spin out of control and lead to a populist demand for a national clampdown. We also saw how our situation today differs significantly from that faced by the quintessential example of government oppression, the Jews in Germany prior to the Holocaust. Hitler wishes he had had our technology at his disposal.
As mentioned earlier in the series, secessionists are probably one of the most pro-liberty movements afoot. In this installment, we examine the fallout from even a civilized secession, and how even the most well-meaning intentions will be twisted in the public eye to destroy those involved. And, so, we return to our italicized narrative, this time in the mythical State of Wytana.
The Governor of Wytana, who had run on a secessionist platform and won a resounding majority in the recent election, watched the unfolding national events in horror, and knew that his time had come. More than half the legislature had also expressed secessionist leanings, and was even now voting on the proposal to formally secede. When the secession bill arrived on his desk shortly after midnight, he was not surprised. Also not surprisingly, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a challenge in the State Supreme Court before his ink was even dry, but by noon the next day the Court had heard, and dismissed, the case. The secession was on. The Governor held a press conference to announce to the world that the Republic of Wytana was henceforth an independent nation. To avoid confusion, his title of Governor would remain.
In this article, we are going to assume a best case, in which the state legislative, executive and judicial branches, as well as the populace at large, are all overwhelmingly in favor of secession. Without these preconditions, a secessionist movement will have an even worse time than depicted here.
The same bill, which had authorized secession, also granted the Governor several specific executive powers. One of these was the establishment of a Republican Guard, with the Governor its supreme commander. He was further authorized to take any action necessary to protect the rights of the citizens against any actions of newly foreign national agents within the boundaries of the Republic, and to negotiate any mutual defense pacts with other Republics who might spring into being. By the time the Court had dismissed the SPLC case, the Governor had completed a teleconference with all counties and cities within the Republic, and explicitly authorized the responsible officials there to deputize all non-felons as they saw fit.
Individuals who had previously been convicted of federal crimes, including non-violent weapons possession, tax evasion, or drug possession, were henceforth pardoned and no longer considered felons in the Republic for the purpose of deputization. By sundown, the Republic could draw on the volunteer services of over a million armed adults, most of them military veterans.
Per the Governor’s instructions earlier that morning, the local sheriffs had begun submitting lists of the militia members with significant prior military experience who were willing to take positions in the Republican Guard. A military commissions board began assigning the Republican Guard’s officers and senior enlisted billets by noon the next day.
The Governor also authorized the detaining of any foreign national agents within the boundaries of the Republic, and the seizure and receipting for any assets of the formerly United States. Within hours, most of the foreign national overseers which had been posted in the local sheriff and police offices had been disarmed, and their equipment and credentials taken from them. Some of these overseers fled at the announcement of secession. Some of these were apprehended at the state border. Many fled to the national building in the capital, but the influx of refugees from various national agencies, and their families, were flooding the grounds, and many were turned away.
Other nationals fled to various national military reservations, but due to the jumpiness of the military police there, were shot by accident. Each base within the boundary of the Republic went into lockdown, and had to contend with a stream of off-base residents trying to gain access. The harried base commanders did their best to take in military dependent refugees, but some, particularly those families of active duty Wytanans sympathetic to the secession, refused to enter and preferred to stay outside. Those that did come were quartered in base gymnasiums, auditoriums, maintenance hangars, and anywhere else that cots and family partitions could be erected. Essentially, these bases were under quarantine.
Some nationals, particularly those staffing the DEA, BATFE, IRS and FBI, simply disappeared and were never seen again. A few shot it out with the locals, but were eventually subdued. Every single TSA agent at the Republic’s three airports left on available outgoing flights the first day.
As noted in our story above, a successful secession will immediately have to deal with inheriting the remnants of United States property and personnel within their borders. This becomes a problem in-being, rather than something which can be carefully negotiated first. And, to even attempt to address this issue or make policy beforehand will, in some eyes, be considered seditious, which is of course ludicrous unless free speech has already been suspended.
Fortunately, we’re just considering these issues academically here.
By noon on the second day, refugees at the federal building had exhausted all the available food. The administrator of the building agreed to accept the Governor’s offer of a writ of safe passage out of the Republic in exchange for surrendering of the building and grounds. The Governor, a man of his word, had the State -- ahem -- Republic police ensure an orderly loading of the refugees onto school buses and escort those buses to neighboring states. The nationals would be allowed to return on visas later to collect their personal belongings and make arrangements for the sale of their homes. A few decided to stay, move back into their homes and become Wytana citizens.
As a precaution, the Governor ordered the seizure of other non-military federal reservations, such as national forests. These, the legislature restored to the counties and localities within whose jurisdictions they lay. Several counties decided to offer these lands to refugees on a homestead basis.
The military bases were a tougher nut to crack. Stocked with better food, weapons, and the firm belief that national orders supercede the demands of the treasonous Wytanans, these base commanders saw their allegiance elsewhere. None agreed to surrender.
Events would soon prove their judgment right.
Wytanans weren’t the only player here, of course. Within hours of the secession, the national media sprang into action and began filming human interest stories. Interviews with Wytanan senior citizens, welfare recipients, government contractors, CPAs, etc., all revolved around the same theme “where am I going to get my check?” One particularly tear-stained single welfare mother of five became the poster child of news reports backed by stirring refrains of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. These competed with news segment titles such as “First Secession, Is Slavery Next?” which filled the flat panel screens in homes across the nation. Lines into Washington were jammed with calls as worried citizens demanded action to save their family members in Wytana against slavery and mistreatment. President Obama’s staff revived his campaign Lincoln comparisons with his speeches about “Saving the Union” and “The New Gettysburg” and “Emancipation In Our Time”. His ratings were never higher, and the incipient events of the previous spring had been entirely forgotten in the public consciousness.
Foreign powers got in on the act almost immediately. Wytana, as it turns out, was the home of several dozen nuclear missile silos. Housed in bases stretching for hundreds of square miles, they were thinly guarded out there in the heartland. That fact made China in particular nervous, since many Wytanans found themselves out of jobs after several mills shut down and sent their work there in the past decade. China immediately offered President Obama their assistance in routing out the rebels, and hinted that if strong action wasn’t taken, and fast, China would be forced to take “defensive” measures on their own.
Briefed on this information, and flicking their political abacuses, Congress declared war for the first time since the age of FDR against the breakaway republic, and suspended Posse Comitatus. Wytanans living within the remainder of the United States, including families of military members, were rounded up by military units “for their own protection”, and Wytanans serving on active duty within the military were “reassigned” to administrative positions. These Wytanan dissidents, or worse, were joined by military members from other states which had strong secessionist movements, and who had voiced their opinions prior to the crisis. Oathkeepers, in particular, joined the Wytanans in being shuttled off to positions of no particular importance. The remainder of the military prepared for a blockade and attack on Wytana, as horror stories, most of them complete yellow media fabrications, filtered out from the state capital.
When the attack began, much of the assault on Wytana was conducted by Chinese special operations forces, while Americans provided security and logistics support, including transportation and attack drones. Chinese snipers were inserted by American helicopters at night to attack county and state leaders. The Governor’s Mansion was singled out for a dramatic “shock and awe” attack by a two-thousand pound GPS-guided bomb, as was the state capitol while the Legislature was in session. Within hours, the leadership of the secession had been effectively decapitated. Soon, the Lieutenant Governor capitulated as watchful drones hummed unseen high above his quarters.
Atrocities committed during the attack were chalked up to the Chinese forces. As a mock atonement, the Chinese responded with public execution of thousands of emaciated dissidents in poorly-fitting military uniforms. No one seemed to notice the incongruity, or was willing to point it out. The trials of the Wytanan survivors spanned decades, and secessionists were shunned from the public discussion for another century and a half. Gun elimination, not control, became a matter of public policy. Further, all law enforcement was reserved for a national civilian security force, in which no member is assigned duty in his home state, or any adjoining state.
But likely to happen pretty much that way. Remember, this was the best case scenario in which the Wytanans themselves were overwhelmingly in favor of secession.
How much harder will secession be in any circumstances short of that?
In his last moments as the blocks of the mansion came tumbling down upon him, the Governor of Wytana realized what Sheriff McGee knows, which is that the precipitating crisis just wasn’t big enough.
In the next installment, Crisis Secession, we discover how secessionists might plan for an alternate ending.
Tom Baugh is the author of Starving the Monkeys, Fight Back Smarter. He is also a former Marine, patented inventor, entrepreneur and professional irritant.