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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain's Mate, an Alaskan Secesh

The Republican party is unreservedly offering up as Vice-President, and, quite possibly, as President, a woman who is clearly in sympathy with those who devoutly desire that Alaska secede from the Union and become an independent country, and I would think that this would severely disqualify her even from being the Alaska governor, much less the V.P. of the whole U.S.

Her husband was a longtime member of the A.I.P., the Alaska Independence Party, which exists for the very purpose shown in its name. Its members like to sneer that "the people in the Lower 48 think they own Alaska. Not so!" But if the rest of the U.S. doesn't, who does? Unless, that is, the members of the A.I.P. themselves are all direct descendants of Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, W. Seward, the man directly responsible for "buying" Alaska from the Russians. Or unless these members are descendants of the Russians, which I doubt. Or unless the A.I.P. consists principally of Inuits, which I also doubt, because presumably neither Palin would associate with people that she has been heard to refer to disparagingly as "Arctic Arabs," and in the far right world of the G.O.P. Arabs, despite their stewardship of all that oil, have clearly become undesirables of the first water, judging by the snarls of the Palin/McCain rallies.

But maybe I am too heavily under the influence of a book called "The Coming Fury," which by chance I've been reading every night. It is the first in a trilogy by Bruce Catton, about the Civil War, and it deals heavily with the whole question of the Southern Secession of 1861 that was only quelled by the U.S.'s deadliest war. Yet, as if that nightmare never happened, the Republicans of this era have as their No. 2 candidate a woman who wished the A.I.P. well and asked God to bless them, in the form of something called a "shout-out" that she sent on the occasion of one of their recent convocations.

I guess out of their own ignorance, or their assumption of the ignorance of the American public, they think that their VP hopeful's flirtation with Alaskan secession hopes is all just a joke, when we don't have to look far overseas to see that in several places such an idea is still no sort of occasion for humor.

In the queer reversal of terms that has happened since Seward's time, the people who now are Democrats would've belonged to the just formed Republican Party of 1861, while today's Republicans would have belonged to the Democratic Party, the home of the Southern Secessionists of that time. So it's no accident that today S. Palin, like this more maintstream party that she is embracing now, having been unexpectedly jerked out of the Alaskan steelhead salmon run by J. McCain, finds her most enthusiastic supporters among the descendants, whether by birth or by philosophy, of the same region that once upon a time tore the whole country into two bleeding sections, that to this day have still not completely been sewn back together.

I would bet that the reason why secession is looked upon with such distaste by the unit being seceded from is not at all the loss of some population. If it was only that, then the general feeling would be, "Good riddance to bad rubbish." The big catch is the geography that goes with them.

In 1861 there were actually two Secessions, the first involving the departure of seven states, headlined by South Carolina. That was almost bearable. But with the second, when four border slave states, notably Virginia, joined them, the United States shrank considerably in territory, and with that real seriousness suddenly set in. If the Palins are the best that Alaska has to offer, citizen-wise, that principle would go many times over in the case of that state.


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