GUEST COLUMN: Should California declare independence?
On Jan. 16 President Barack Obama lauded a referendum held in Southern Sudan on its independence as “an inspiration to the world.” Our President then went on to declare, that the peaceful polling process and the high turnout were “a tribute to the determination of the people and leaders of south Sudan to forge a better future.”
President Barack Obama is to be congratulated for his official endorsement of the right of a people to secede from their government, even if it is carefully couched in words like “referendum” and “forging a better future.” Hidden in those words is the reality that the South is seceding from the North and will soon form an independent country.
Until now, the chilling reminder of 600,000 Americans slaughtered in a savage Civil War has discouraged any serious discussion of a state such as California from seceding. However, the new Obama Doctrine on secession changes all that. Now, a U.S. president has gone on record, calling the Sudan vote to secede “a tribute to the determination of the people and leaders of south Sudan to forge a better future.”
Could California ever declare independence? There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits the right of a state like California from seeking a similar independence.
The right of a state to secede is specifically protected by the 9th and 10th amendments which requires that all powers not specifically enumerated in the Constitution for the Federal government are retained by the states and the people.
Thus, the federal government could not legally oppose the rights of Southern states to secede, peacefully, but when the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter, it became an armed rebellion. Once the South foolishly attacked, they gave the North the Constitutional authority to put down the rebellion and the rest is ugly history.
Some may argue that the Supreme Court settled the issue of secession in Texas v. White (1869). In that case, the central issue was repayment for some bonds issued by Texas, during the Civil War.
The Supreme Court decided to speculate on the issue of secession, noting that the U.S. was formed to create, “a more perfect union,” which the court interpreted as excluding the right to secede, because it was so “perfect.” Of course, any real analysis of such an absurd speculation would be forced to recognize that any union in which one party is forbidden to leave can only be described as slavery.
But no such serious analysis ever occurred because this was purely speculation, which had no actual bearing on the case before the Supreme Court.
The fact is that federal prosecutors specifically avoided charging anyone in the Civil War for any crime involving secession, because they were afraid they would lose.
To further support this view, we have the July 22, 2010, decision by the World Court in the Hague that Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law: “The court considers that general international law contains no applicable prohibition of declaration of independence. Accordingly it concludes that the declaration of independence of the 17th of February, 2008, did not violate general international law.”
California began as the California Republic back in June 15, 1846, when William B. Ide, president of the California Republic, wrote a proclamation that included these words:
“Government to be prosperous and happyfying in its tendency must originate with its people who are friendly to its existence … its Citizens are its Guardians, its officers are its Servants, and its Glory their reward.”
“Happyfying”? Yes, that was President Ide’s vision for the California Republic and it still rings true today.
But the new California Republic had no sooner won a happyfying independence from Mexico when it was invaded by the U.S. army and forced to submit to American occupation and sovereignty.
Any honest account of California history must recognize that the U.S. Army was only authorized by Congress to engage in a war against Mexico for control of California.
Once the citizens of California declared themselves a Republic, the Americans should have turned around or come to the assistance of the new Republic.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but the official flag of the California Republic still lives on and is officially recognized by every government in the world, including the USA.
Like it or not, the time has come for the people of California to take a careful look at what it hopes to achieve and what path gets us there with the least threat of violence and the greatest prospect for a happyfying new lease on life.
Yes, the state government here is bankrupt and despised, but the people are prosperous, industrious and still know how to have fun. The people of the California Republic could unleash a tsunami of prosperity, if freed from the shackles of the United States. That would benefit everyone, including what remains of the USA.
Anything less than independence for the California Republic ignores our history and robs us of our future as a prosperous and free people.
– Steve Kubby is a South Lake Tahoe resident who helped write
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Fueled in part by Tampa Bay’s surprise victory in the Super Bowl, Nevada sports books recorded their fourth-highest win of all time in January.