Social media is bursting at the seams with talks of petitions for states to secede from the United States. That sentence alone reads like an oxymoron. We live in the United States, not the “Leave whenever the hell you want because things aren’t going your way” States. And that sentence reads like a lecture spouted at a rebellious teenager. Essentially, it is.
Yesterday, my uncle posted a link on his Facebook page encouraging Mainers to sign our petition to secede and stop paying “their bloated porkulous stimulus bills.” I responded, telling him I didn’t want to “start a big thing” – but how can I not? I suppose I understand his and others’ side of it – they’re pissed for various reasons about how our government is run and the fact that those they voted for this election didn’t win. Or perhaps they’re pissed that Maine passed Question One, which allows gay couples the right to legally marry. I can’t be completely sure of all their true reasons behind this stand. All I know is, the last time numerous states tried to secede, the Civil War followed.
Is this really the answer? As I told my uncle, “Seceding from our country is like throwing the dishes away because they’re dirty.” People are upset about who was elected into office earlier this month. Who ELECTED them? Sure, money was involved – into the billions, I’m sure. But I still have to believe that those votes cast by the citizens of this country played a significant part in who is now running it. I have no doubt that how our government spends our money is outrageously flawed and fueled by greed. I’m just wondering how this would’ve changed had Mitt Romney been elected… the same man who keeps billions of dollars of his own money in off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes… the same man who, when he realized he wouldn’t win the election, immediately cutoff his campaign workers before they had checked out of their hotels after working so hard for him for two years, sticking them with the bills.
Tell me this: are you really willing to turn your back on your own country? The same country that gives us the right to speak out freely against our government, that allows men and women the right to vote, that helps low-income families send their kids to college, that allows me to freely believe in God (or not, if I so choose.) I see other countries around the world that embrace the oppression of women and children, that persecute people because of their religious beliefs, that try to assassinate 15-year-old girls simply because they want to go to school, and all I can do is appreciate the fact that I don’t live in a country like that.
Here are some “fun facts” for you: We in Maine pay 5% sales tax, while many European countries pay over 20%. We pay around $4/gal to fuel our cars or heat our homes, while others pay well over $10. And yet we bitch.
Yes – the lower and middle class are overtaxed while the wealthy pay nothing. Too many government officials abuse their power and misuse taxpayer money. Too many Americans are still out of work or barely working enough to survive. Some are arguing that taxing the wealthy would slow or stop job creation. THIS IS CRAP! I work for a large American corporation – I am “the little guy.” The CEO of our company will more than likely get a holiday bonus check that totals in the millions, while most of my co-workers make less than a dime over minimum wage on top of only receiving 10 to 20 hours each week to receive such pitiful pay. And yet, they scold us to sell more, do more, and make them more money. Why? So the company can fly our store managers to some convention in Atlantic City to enjoy a dinner that costs $1200 a plate? (Do these guys know that 1 out of every 4 children in this country go hungry everyday?)
So you see, I have every right to sign a petition to secede from America, and just as many reasons. But I won’t. I refuse to turn my back on my country, one built on the backs of the working class and the graves of the service men and women who gave their lives for the sake of our livelihood. Of course our country and its government needs reform, but I’m still proud to call this country my home. I am proud to be an American. You should be too, damn it.
*Note: This post is strictly my opinion. You are entitled to yours – so share it in the comments below. All I ask is that you keep it clean and civil.