Try­ing again with se­ces­sion

Cal­i­for­nia, still in a pout over Trump, for­gets that break­ing up is hard to do

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Imes­sagef at first you don’t suc­ceed, se­cede. That’s the lat­est

from Cal­i­for­nia, where the idea of break­ing up with the United States is the cur­rent rage. With Don­ald Trump in the White House at­tempt­ing to “make Amer­ica great again,” the idea of re­turn­ing to an era of free­dom, faith and fam­ily is as an­ti­thet­i­cal to the cool crowd as a blue light spe­cial at KMart. The far­ther the Left Coast trav­els down the road to­ward “Calexit,” the harder the climb back into the good graces of Amer­i­cans for whom Cal­i­for­nia is not as cool as it once was.

State At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra has blessed the at­tempt by left-wing se­ces­sion­ists to open a pe­ti­tion drive seek­ing the 585,000 sig­na­tures re­quired to place a se­ces­sion mea­sure on the 2018 Cal­i­for­nia bal­lot. An ear­lier pe­ti­tion in April failed, the new one calls for a more “mea­sured” ap­proach, in­clud­ing the for­ma­tion of a com­mis­sion to plot Cal­i­for­nia’s drive for in­de­pen­dence and a re­write of the state’s con­sti­tu­tion to leave out the po­etic part about be­ing in­sep­a­ra­ble from the union.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Demo­crat, bol­stered the cause of se­ces­sion, in­ten­tion­ally or not, by cham­pi­oning poli­cies on in­ter­na­tional is­sues that clash with those of the United States. When Pres­i­dent Trump an­nounced in June that the United States would leave the Paris Cli­mate ac­cord, Mr. Brown hur­ried to the G20 con­fer­ence in Ger­many to ad­ver­tise his own cli­mate sum­mit next year in San Fran­cisco: “We in Cal­i­for­nia and in states all across Amer­ica be­lieve it’s time to act,” he said. “It’s time to join to­gether, and that’s why at this Cli­mate Ac­tion Sum­mit we’re go­ing to get it done.”

Calexit, a word coined to mimic Bri­tain’s suc­cess­ful “Brexit” vote to leave the Euro­pean Union a year ago, is mostly a re­ac­tion to the ap­peal else­where of Don­ald Trump. But rather than sim­ply re­sist, the se­ces­sion­ists want to col­lect their toys — and their state — and go home. Or stay at home, or what­ever. Amer­i­cans shouldn’t be sur­prised. Cal­i­for­nia is, af­ter all, the place where fan­tasy flour­ishes.

The path to di­vorce is fraught with un­sus­pected dan­ger, how­ever. Though there’s no Abra­ham Lin­coln stand­ing by to keep the union un­dam­aged, it may be use­ful for Cal­i­for­nia to re­mem­ber, if Cal­i­for­ni­ans have heard about it, that the na­tion fought a very un­civil war a cen­tury and a half ago over se­ces­sion. As the his­tor­i­cally ig­no­rant pull down statues of the Con­fed­er­ate he­roes of the South they de­spise, some Cal­i­for­ni­ans want to try again.

Cal­i­for­ni­ans are not the first modern Amer­i­cans to tempt the wrath of Wash­ing­ton with loose talk of tak­ing a hike. Texas, which might ac­tu­ally have a con­sti­tu­tional case for se­ces­sion, dab­bled with the idea of se­ces­sion dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, and a pe­ti­tion pulling in 125,000 sig­na­tures said the de­par­ture of Texas would “pro­tect the orig­i­nal ideas and be­liefs of our found­ing fa­thers which are no longer be­ing re­flected by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.” A poll as late as last year found 26 per­cent of Tex­ans ea­ger to go it alone.

Some Cal­i­for­ni­ans might come to re­gret their im­petu­ous ini­tia­tive. Don­ald Trump won’t be pres­i­dent be­yond Jan­uary 2025, if that long. While the hot-heads strain to break with the United States, Cal­i­for­nia’s new Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris is clearly an­gling to suc­ceed him. A suc­cess­ful Calexit could elim­i­nate her chance to make over the en­tire na­tion in an im­age that Barack Obama might envy. South­ern­ers have cried for more than a hun­dred years that “the South rise again.” Who would have guessed the se­ces­sion­ists would at­tempt it in Cal­i­for­nia?

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