Pass the Thanksgiving stuffing, hold the secession puffing - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Voices

Pass the Thanksgiving stuffing, hold the secession puffing

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Mark J. Scarp is a contributing columnist for the Tribune. Reach him at

Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 10:45 am

Thanksgiving and national elections are held during the same month in this country, a coincidence that we should all especially take note of this year.

Every bit of the mature tradition that the fourth Thursday in November brings is going to be needed to cleanse us from all the craziness that has continued since Election Day.

Take the armchair online secessionists. Please. Their displeasure with the results of the presidential election has led them to commit the (ahem) brave act of pointing and clicking their desire to “petition the Obama administration to peacefully grant the state of Arizona to withdraw from the United States of America.”

The Tribune published a Cronkite News Service story that reported that, as of Tuesday, about 12,500 or so signatures had been electronically added to the petition (including some signers from out of state). There are likely more by now.

To believe that these folks even come close to representing what real Arizona voters believe (again, ahem), then you should expect a state whose popular vote that Mitt Romney won by 10 points to at least have enough voters who dislike President Barack Obama to have also passed Proposition 120. That ballot question called for the milder transfer of all federally controlled land within Arizona to state control, and it lost by a 2-1 margin, according to the Secretary of State’s Office’s website.

Now, before anyone starts painting me as some sort of leftist (I know I’m already too late for some folks), this disdain is in equal measure to that I felt eight years ago for several Hollywood celebrities who had pledged (perhaps with as much certainty – once again, ahem – as the above secessionists) to leave the country if George W. Bush were re-elected. As Joan Rivers – who as far as I know never pledged to leave America, although some TV viewers sometimes wish that she would – would say, “Oh, grow up!”

If you really want to take these folks seriously (it’s time for another “ahem,” but I know you’re getting sick of them) it would be difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of which is their request that the administration “peacefully grant” them leave.

Our history suggests that the federal government does not take secession lightly, and even if the Constitution gave the president the power to “grant” secession, the last president to deal with real, not online, secession, a Republican by the way, hardly acquiesced. (There’s a movie about him that opened this weekend.)

Like the Hollywood folks’ bombast of 2004, this is all post-election bluster. Locally we saw TV news reports about a guy on the west side of the Valley who, upset with Obama’s re-election flew his U.S. flag upside down (in the report I watched, he only identified himself to reporters by his first name and wouldn’t show his face on camera). I noted that he was flying it, not on his own pole, but on a street light, borrowing a piece of government property to show his contempt for government.

If only it was all just bluster, though. The Tribune reported last week that, according to police, a Gilbert woman, Holly Solomon, ran over her husband Daniel because he didn’t vote against Obama. An ABC15 story, saying it is quoting court documents, reported that Daniel Solomon “may be permanently disfigured” as the result of injuries to his pelvis and arteries.

Politics has never been the polite exercise of, say, a spirited game of bridge. To say that anger and violence is something new to the American political scene would be to deny history, which is full of riots and other aggressive, violent behaviors over election results.

In at least partial response to the election results of 1860, the South seceded from the Union, which led to this nation’s bloodiest conflict, leaving more than half a million dead.

Back to the meaning of November: We spend the first half of this month either jumping for joy or stomping with disgust over the results of our elections, and by month’s end we gather around tables to offer thanks for our many blessings, regardless of who won.

Part one should be over by now. It’s time to get to part two, which, thanks to the next holiday on the calendar, gets far too little time to inspire what Lincoln referred to in his First Inaugural Address in 1861 as the “better angels of our nature.”


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