Ed Vasicek

I have perused some fascinating articles in the Kokomo Tribune lately. The report about discovering Roundup herbicide chemicals in 93 percent of pregnant Indiana women is big news. I’m watching that one with interest. The opening of the Kokomo Downtown Farmers’ Market, the historical society’s quest for nominations for the Hall of Legends — great stuff to keep us in tune with what’s happening locally.

Of course, not everyone loves Kokomo. Wherever Marylu and I have lived, the Chicago suburbs, the city of Chicago itself, or here in Kokomo, we have never found a shortage of discontented people. Unhappy campers are everywhere. But I can report, here in Kokomo, the overwhelming majority of people we know seem glad to reside here. And we place ourselves among that number. It is no revelation we love life in Kokomo.

When it comes to the United States of America, voices in some states threaten to leave our union. I do not enjoy being around chronically discontented people, so my first instinct is to say, “Let them go.” After I ponder it some more, I still say, “Let them go.” Any state that wants to leave the Union should be free to do so — assuming it embraces doing so responsibly, negotiating the details.

Something like this almost happened in Canada (Quebec), and, more recently, the United Kingdom (with Scotland). According to CNBC: “California’s secession movement will get a second try as the state’s ‘war’ against the Trump administration rages on several fronts.

“On Monday, the California Secretary of State’s Office announced that a secession ballot proposal has been cleared to begin gathering needed signatures. It comes amid other efforts that seek to split up California.”

Many conservative Americans, I think, would be pleased to let California go. Many liberals would shed no tears if South Carolina seceded: “… [A] trio of state House Republicans on Thursday quietly introduced a bill that would allow lawmakers to debate seceding from the U.S. ‘if the federal government confiscates legally purchased firearms in this State,’” according to U.S. News and World Report.

Consider all the Hollywood boasters who vowed they would relocate to Canada if Trump won the presidency. Yeah, right, eh?

This repeated threat to “take my bat and ball and go home” has, in the past, been more serious than the childish threats we hear today. The Civil War is the ultimate case in point.

Much earlier in American history (early 1800s), however, a scheme was underway to create a new republic from land that was either American territory or would later become so. This is called the Burr Conspiracy.

Aaron Burr, who at the time was vice president of the United States (under Jefferson), shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel; duels were illegal. This tarnished Burr’s record and essentially ruined any future career he might have enjoyed in politics. In a sense, when he shot the revered Hamilton, he shot his future.

Although some details are tenuous, historyisnowmagazine.com informs us: “One of Burr’s suspected schemes was to organize a revolution in the West, obtain the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, and structure them into a separate republic. Another scheme was to establish a republic bordering the United States by seizing Spanish possessions in the Southwest or persuade secession of western states from the Union. Perhaps both were true. Burr viewed war with Spain as inevitable and conspired with General James Wilkinson to establish an independent ‘Empire of the West’ ... with New Orleans as the capital.

“To gain further support for his schemes, Burr contacted … Wilkinson … the governor of the Louisiana Territory … [He] had already established a history of shady scheming himself such as being involved in a plot to replace George Washington as Commander-in-Chief with General Horatio Gates.”

Even with leaders like Washington and Hamilton, many Americans were discontented and nasty. We Americans can be tough to please.

Secession — if the possibility is real and support from the masses is actually there — is something to consider. An idle threat by a few discontents to secede is an exercise in futility.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Kokomo’s Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@gmail.com

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