The silly 'Cal-exit' talk
Sunday, February 12, 2017 2:10 PM
“Calexit” or the idea that California will secede from the United States is being put forth by people who have not thought this through.
The last time a group of states attempted to secede, a president claimed by both current parties as the gold standard, waged war on them until they capitulated and rejoined the Union.
President Lincoln was elected in the fall of 1860 and his ascendency to the office was reviled by the South with a venom not seen in any quarter until the election of President Trump this past November.
In those days, South Carolina started the secession movement with a vote on Dec. 20, 1860 (upon the news, pundits said South Carolina was too small to be a country and too large to be an insane asylum).
By the time Lincoln was inaugurated in March, the Confederacy was assembled.
Lincoln wisely waited until the South fired the first shot at Fort Sumter, but from that moment until a week before his own assassination, he fiercely waged war on the Confederacy until they capitulated, with a loss of life from both sides of the conflict exceeding the tally for any other war in which the U.S. has been engaged before or since.
Don’t think an attempt at secession by California will lead to war? Consider several points.
First, the federal government cannot let a state secede, for that sets a dangerous precedent for other states to secede. If California secession is allowed to stand, in 50 years we will be 50 weak little countries.
Then consider the assets. The U.S. military is not going to give up the home port of the Pacific Fleet – the San Diego Naval Base. Nor is it going to give up Camp Pendleton, Vandenberg Air Force Base and many other assets. There are over 20, perhaps 30 U.S. military bases in California. But the San Diego Naval Base makes Fort Sumter look like a dot of land in Chesapeake Bay.
Then there are the economic assets, particularly the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Some might think Silicon Valley would be a loss, but I’ll beg to differ on that one. Except they will be able to wage cyber war on a grand scale, a scale large enough to collapse the economies of the entire world.
There is the little problem of the Colorado River and electricity. A little over 27 percent of Hoover Dam’s electricity production goes to Southern California. If not cut off, this would have to at least be renegotiated.
There is also the Colorado River Aqueduct Project which sends water to Southern California at the rate of 1,600 cubic feet per second. Perhaps Mexico and the new great country of California would like to get in a bidding war for this water?
Then there is this other crazy idea – make the entire state a sanctuary state and resist the federal government by withholding federal tax payments en masse. Whoever thought this up does not know how the IRS operates. It is the only organization in the country that can seize your bank account first, then make you prove why you should get your money back.
Have a few Hollywood types fail to pay their quarterly tax payments and the IRS, after they suck them dry of cash, has high-profile examples to encourage others to continue to pay their taxes.
Like most progressive liberal ideas, this one has clearly been born half-baked. Especially the war part.
“War is impossible until it is inevitable.”
Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.