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Secession talk offensive nonsense

Suppose you woke up one bright morning and you were no longer an American. You were a documented Georgian or Southerner, but no longer a citizen of the United States.

Suppose the Legislature had cut a deal with the federal government to allow, say, Georgia, Alabama and Texas to declare their sovereignty and carve themselves outside the nation's borders. The new maps would show the new United States, with a few rogue jurisdictions hanging to its soft underbelly.

If that sounds far-fetched, it is. Nobody but a wacko would waste time on such an idea. However, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has mentioned it in public speeches in the Lone Star State. Georgia's insurance commissioner John Oxendine has a team of researchers working on schemes to declare our independence and bid adios to old D.C.

Did I hear you say Oxendine and Perry must be nuts? Maybe they are, but they've got plenty of company.

A Democratic blog, the DailyKos, polled Georgians and discovered that nearly a third of our residents are ready to forsake their precious U.S. citizenship. In the Republic of Texas, 38 percent were prepared to say bye to America, according to the polls.

Except for a couple of really authoritative blogs, I usually shrug off the missives from cyberspace. The DailyKos is not on my daily reading list. Bogus poll organizations have popped up all over the country. One can hardly tell a genuine survey from moon dust these days. Still, we've got these anti-Union numbers, and we should deal with them.

The secession idea is crazy. Gov. Perry is trying to run a hard right-wing re-election primary to garner the huge Texas nut vote. He looks like he's got them. What could be more popular than an en masse divorce from the Democratic Obama administration?

Georgia's man, Oxendine, is sharing a pallet with Perry. Oxendine's brain-trust thinks John could win the GOP gubernatorial primary easily, if he can get far enough to the political right. All his gab about Georgia's sovereignty is a giant step in that direction.

The governor and the wannabe had better be careful. If some steely-eyed marshal decided Perry and Oxendine are serious and not just a couple of nitwit troublemakers, they might find themselves buried in a federal pen for a long, long time on a treason conviction. Or maybe traded to the Arabs for a couple of our guys who have remained loyal to Old Glory.

If I recall, the American South tried to leave the Union around 1861, causing a disaster the likes of which we have not seen since. We lost more than 600,000 soldiers. Private property was destroyed. The whole thing came to naught, except that the slaves were freed (no small deal) and most of Dixie was ruined economically for about a century (no small problem).

We know that Republicans need some issues that appeal to people who proclaim themselves as the real conservatives. How about trotting out the same-sex marriage issue again? Conservatives rant and rave about that topic, as do the would-be gay brides and grooms. Plenty of heat to go around on that score. However, this issue is not as serious as abandoning the Union.

Or Johnny O. and Rick could take aim at illegal Mexicans again. Only problem there is that the issue is resolving itself. The United States has lost so many jobs that many Mexicans are headed back south to look for work.

In any event, leave the secession talk aside. Some folks will think you're serious. Besides, I love being an American. Many of my buds and I gave up years of our lives a while back to keep America's place in the world. Some of us never came back. The United States has problems now, but we'll roll again. You can count on it. Don't talk down your country, even if you didn't serve it.

As soon as I finish this column, I think I'll look up a federal judge to advise me on how to round up these America haters. We ought to send most of them back where they or their forebears came from, but Ireland and Scotland probably don't want them either.

Syndicated columnist Bill Shipp writes on Georgia politics. E-mail him at shipp1@bellsouth.net.