In talking with some folks about the relevancy of the Pledge of Allegience, someone suggested that it is because our country is under God’s protection that it is, in fact, indivisible. Apparently when this is not the case, when we have in some way offended God, then there is the likelihood of national dissolution.
Which got me to thinking about this whole indivisible thing. The United States of America is a pretty unique country, and not just because of its long term republican form of government. Over 230 years ago we voluntarily formed out of what were, essentially, 13 seperate countries, former colonies, all of them states. Initially a loose confederation, it became a much stronger federation in 1789. But not so strong that there wasn’t always the threat of some states seceding over any number of disagreements, most famously the problem of slavery. This hotly contested idea, that a state could leave the federation of its own accord, eventually resulted in the great American Civil War of the mid-19th century.
I think that today most of us would find it inconceivable that any of the current 50 states would choose to leave, either alone or in concert with others. But we can see that the demographics of America are changing rapidly. The population of the states along our southern border are becoming more and more identifiable with those countries which lie to the south of us. It is conceivable that some day these states could find that they have less in common with those states to the north (again) than they do with each other. (Remember, not too very long ago the citizens of Quebec, because of contentions over language, voted on independence.)
If one of these United States decided, either today or in the distant future, to secede from the union, what should our national response be? 150 years ago it was a military response, and after 5 years of nearly total war well over 600,000 Americans lay dead. Would such a military response be proper or moral in this day and age? And if not, was it the right thing to do in 1860?