It’s been almost eight weeks since the shooting in Parkland, Florida took place, and the gun control debate still rages on in its wake across the country. With the more recent shooting at YouTube’s HQ already being brushed under the rug, the media has become transparent about its intentions regarding gun control. Moreover, politicians have also begun to reveal their intentions too, as a town in Illinois passed an ordinance requiring citizens to turn in their semi-automatic weapons. Rather than argue the pro’s and con’s of either side’s hackneyed solutions, I’d like to point out the obvious moderate compromise that is often disregarded as extreme: secession.
With both sides finally showing their true objectives, you would think we can come to the realization that some differences, when deeply ensconced and left untreated, can become an impasse within relationships. And when that occurs, the extreme solution isn’t choosing diplomacy in recognition of this revelation, but rather it is to blindly press on, ignorant of the problems so clearly facing you. Not surprisingly, most Americans have once again chosen the latter. Whether through media manipulation or sheer ignorance of reality, secession has become a buzzword for extremist, which we can see in many people’s reaction to South Carolina’s recent consideration of secession over gun rights.
What if we didn’t have that kneejerk reaction to secession though? Or the historical inaccuracies claiming secession inevitably causes war and is only for unspoken defenders of slavery?
What if, instead, we asked: “Is there a non-violent solution to our dilemma?” What we’d be left with is the realization that secession is the answer.
In a society where consent is valued, it is impossible to argue that the solutions put forth by government thus far and imposed involuntarily on its citizens are non-violent. But, if we allow all parties to peacefully disassociate as they see fit for themselves, rather than argue over whose silly solutions ought to be imposed on the other, everyone wins.
Unfortunately, both democrats and republicans are engrained with false notions of secession; that states wouldn’t trade with one another unless under a single flag; that we’d be invaded by an imaginary foe waiting offshore to conquer us; or something as simple as the inability to let go of tradition and the idea of a “United States.”
This ultimately begs the question: “How far would you go to maintain peace?” I’m not talking about giving up your rights. It isn’t necessary and, quite frankly, isn’t effective at anything more than accomplishing a faux peace of mind. But would you give up that idea of a “United States” if it meant sidestepping a civil war? Would you allow those who no longer wish to associate with you, regardless of reason or political affiliation, to trump your emotional attachments to tradition?
If your answer is no, then I’d argue the radical is you. For you’d disregard the morality of consent and choose violence towards others in order to organize society as you deem right and proper; ironically being carried out in most cases under the guise of avoiding a violent and immoral society in the first place. Or perhaps you’d risk the lives of those around you to preserve the arbitrary lines of the U.S. before you’d recognize the ability of people to exercise their property rights, a concept the founders built this country on; if so, then you’ve chosen the radical path of violence over peace.
Peace should never be seen as an extreme stance, and it’s precisely because secession has been painted as such that has pushed us into the emotional and divisive plight we currently find ourselves in as a nation. We see people on both sides dehumanizing their political opponents more than ever in an attempt to ensure their political solution dominates the entire country, even so far as to brazenly call for needing, and in some cases, wanting, another civil war. As the radical progressive, Peter Leyden, said here, casually claiming that compromise could no longer be considered, but rather one side needed to triumph completely over the other. And this obviously violent rhetoric has not been taken as radical or extreme but celebrated by those sharing his ideal solutions.
They say that hindsight is 20/20, and very often we point to obvious signs of radicalization in someone following a violent attack. But if we don’t recognize our own radicalization and actively seek out and embrace peaceful resolutions, simply because the idea is difficult or uncomfortable, then we will never rid our culture of the epidemic of violence we all claim to detest today. A culture blind to peace cannot help but embrace violence.