You say you want a revolution in Texas?
The governor of Texas says his state is being “invaded” and that under the Constitution he has the right to defend his border.
On the first point, millions of people are indeed unlawfully crossing the border into Texas. Joe Biden refuses to do anything about it. In fact, he seems to be encouraging it. He stopped construction of Donald Trump’s border wall, reversed the “stay in Mexico” policy which required immigrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico pending a decision by American authorities, and, to the extent he accidentally catches illegal immigrants, he usually lets them go with a polite request that they appear at a hearing scheduled years in the future.
Most don’t appear. It’s like catch-and-release fishing. They’re usually smart enough not to get caught twice.
The border policy is so asinine that you have to wonder if someone has the goods on Joe.
The second issue – the Texas governor’s Constitutional right to take reasonable action that Biden won’t or can’t – is more complicated. That particular provision of the Constitution has never been tested. Is it an actionable “invasion” if the people coming into the state are not armed? Is it an “invasion” when the Commander in Chief all but invites them in and offers them food, shelter, free medical care and gender-affirming mutilation?
The nine justices of the Supreme Court must wish that these were not such interesting times. We’ve seen cases on abortion, affirmative action, the power to impose income tax on wealth that has not been realized as income, whether courts should defer to the expertise – and political leanings – of administrative agencies, and, now, whether states can defend themselves against a (mostly) peaceful invasion.
In the span of a few years, the Court has been and will be deciding a generation’s worth of landmark cases. Whether you like them or not, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell deserve thanks for the conservative majority there.
A federal judge I used to appear before once quipped that in view of his crowded docket of complex cases, he longed for a good old fashioned rape case. This was long before MeToo, but even back then most people were unamused.
Similarly, some of my tribe who are watching events in Texas are fervently hoping for a rape case, or at least its political equivalent. This Texas turmoil, they say, is the trigger to start the civil war they’ve craved. This, they say, will finally pit flyover country against fly-to country in a physical sort of way. The woke, they say, will be vanquished. Some are even harkening to the Civil War – it will be glorious, they say.
Ah, but the Civil War was not glorious. At Gettysburg alone, 7,000 men died and tens of thousands were maimed in a few square miles in three days. It was a grotesque slaughter. A failed Confederate charge of 12,500 men orchestrated and ordered by General Robert E. Lee and led by General George E. Pickett against a fortified Union position produced 50% Confederate casualties. It showed that General Lee was not invincible, and it marked a turning point in the war.
Altogether in the war, over 600,000 Americans died out of a population of only 30-some million. It would be as if six million died today. The death toll was greater than all other American wars combined.
That doesn’t include the dismemberment of thousands, the grieving widows and fatherless children, the scarring of the American landscape, the dislocation of millions, and the generations of bitterness between North and South, between brother and brother.
You can make an argument that the South was in the right, legally speaking. The Constitution said – and still says – nothing prohibiting a state from seceding. In fact, if such a provision had been included in the Constitution – if everyone knew that joining the emerging Union was a one-way street – it almost certainly would not have been ratified, and the United States of America would not have come into existence.
That’s the legal argument. There’s a contrary moral argument.
The moral argument is that the Civil War was to put an end in America to the odious, age-old practice of slavery. America would join nearly all other civilized nations in prohibiting men from owning other men in the manner that they own mules and crops.
America would finally make good on the unfulfilled promise of the Declaration of Independence written by the first great American philosopher and echoed four score and seven years later by the second: All men are created equal.
Was that worth the sacrifice of 600,000 Americans and infinite misery for millions more?
Maybe, and maybe not. But I’ll say this. It was a worthwhile goal. A lofty goal. An inspired goal. A Godly goal. A goal we’ve nearly achieved now, a century and a half later.
It’s a goal more worthwhile, lofty, inspired and Godly than the goal of disgruntled conservative tribalists – their goal of pissing on the wokesters. (Not that they don’t deserve to be pissed on; they do.)
As for Texas, Biden has already signaled he is backing down. Even he is smart enough to know that putting a spotlight on his border fiasco is not wise in an election year.
Sometimes, the political system works.
So. Fight the silly cafeteria food fights of plagiarism, trannies in the bathrooms, and electric cars. And let’s not forget to bash the hoity toity of Davos. I’ll join you in all that amusement, as I’m a conservative too – who voted twice for Trump.
But please, don’t defile the bloodied grounds of Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Shiloh that are forever consecrated with men who gave their last full measure of devotion. They deserve more than civil war whoops and last charges from melodramatic keyboard warriors. They deserve more than ranting old men with rusty guns shooting blanks.
They deserve our hard work. Lest this grand experiment perish from the earth, we have a nation to run, an election to win, and a memory to honor.