A broader view on secession


As a Vermonter who lived out West for 10 years in my 20s, I have been a loyal High Country News subscriber since 1992, and was pleased to read Krista Langlois' fine article about secession ("Breaking up is hard to do," HCN, 11/11/13). I would like to offer a few additional observations.

1. Secession is every American's birthright. The concept drives Thomas Jefferson's 1776 Declaration of Independence and is woven into the fabric of U.S. constitutional history. Secessionists, moreover, come in all stripes – rural and urban, liberal and conservative, east, west, north and south.

2. New Englanders, not Southerners, were the first secessionists – witness Connecticut's 1814 Hartford Convention, in which New England state delegates seriously considered leaving the U.S. and forming a regional confederation.

3. As the only state in the U.S. to once exist as a self-created independent republic (1777-1791), Vermont is in a unique position to lead the national conversation on secession.

4. Given our 21st century challenges – peak oil, climate change, and a U.S. that has morphed from a democratic republic into a corrupt and militaristic global empire run by Wall Street bankers and the politicians they buy – secession, marked by economic re-localization and political decentralization, seems our best hope for the long term.

We've been exploring secession and independence in Vermont since 2005 through our news journal, our www.vtcommons.org website, and our new book, Most Likely to Secede. We invite dialogue about secession from all Americans of good will. Free Vermont, and long live the United States. 

Rob Williams
Mad River Valley, Vermont

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