Thom Stark on States Rights   1 comment

Thom and I are having fun with our back-and-forth discussion. I said this on special interests and this on states rights last week and this is his reply this week. Lela

Thom StarkI’m sorry, but you’re WAY off base on the American Civil War.

First of all, there is NO provision in the Constitution for secession from the Union – so there was NO legal basis for the Confederate states’ withdrawal. Period, end of discussion.

Secondly – and this is crucial – South Carolina began its secession attempt with a 34-hour bombardment of Fort Sumter. That could not, under any circumstances, be considered anything other than an act of war, and the Union responded accordingly.

Had the Confederate states simply announced their secession from the Union without attacking the Union fort, a diplomatic solution might have been possible. But South Carolina chose to underline its withdrawal with an unprovoked attack on a Union military base. NO country could – or can – afford to let such an action simply pass without military response. It was South Carolina’s act of war that forced the Union into the bloodiest domestic conflict in American history, not the Union’s inflexibility on the issue of slavery. Or secession, for that matter.

As for the issue of “us” vs “them” – Lela, I went to considerable pains to frame that locution in terms of individual (rather than government) choice and perception. By “us”, in the framework of this discussion, I meant “whatever group you, as a person, consider yourself to be affiliated with to the exclusion of those outside the group”. Which is to say “them.”

The whole point of civil rights legislation is to codify the notion that, in the USA, there is no legal basis for discriminating between “us” and “them”. We are all at least theoretically equal under the law – and it seems to me that we solidly agree on that precept.

In my mind, elected officials have a Constitutional duty to uphold that principle, by passing civil rights legislation where necessary, and by NOT proposing or voting in favor of discriminatory legislation under any circumstances. The whole Palinesque “real Americans” vs (presumably) false Americans dichotomy is purposefully divisive gnatpuckey, deserving only of general contempt.

That you are of Indian ancestry is something I didn’t know prior to this discussion. I think it’s kind of cool. It adds another layer of identity to the Lela Markham I’m coming to know: woman, Alaskan, Christian, author, free-thinker, and now Indian.

Lela Markham Davidson Ditch CorrectedAs for discrimination against whites on the reservation, ever since John Marshall’s majority opinion on Cherokee Nation vs Georgia in 1831, the status of Indian reservations as sovereign nations has been enshrined in U.S. law – and repeatedly upheld since then. Therefore, as nation-states, formally-recognized Indian tribes naturally have the legal authority to make any kind of damn-fool laws they desire. If that includes sanctioning racial discrimination on their reservations … well, it’s deplorable, but completely legal, because, in the eyes of the law, Indian reservations are NOT U.S. soil. They’re their own countries, and they can do as they please, so long as they do not make war on the USA.

I will note that, given the long, sad history of discrimination against Indians by American whites, it’s not especially surprising to hear that Indians on your tribe’s reservation relish the opportunity to return the favor. Revenge, after all, is a dish best served with a small side salad and a nice Chianti.

One response to “Thom Stark on States Rights

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  1. Pingback: Lela on Indian Nations and States Rights | aurorawatcherak

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