TJ Larson

Even before the president has taken the official oath of office, a new issue is brewing in the US. There is a movement among citizens in several states to petition the federal government to allow their respective states to break away from the Union.

There are now petitions from people in more than a dozen states asking for relief by secession from US government. At this point it appears that Texas residents are leading the charge. The Texas petition has already garnered more than 70,000 signatures since Nov. 9.

Although Obama won both the electoral vote and the popular vote, there appears to be an apparently vocal minority out there that would rather break away than live another four years under Obama. While some Americans see this new development as serious, others dismiss the movement out of hand. Is this just the ranting of a few disillusioned people or could it be the beginning of something far more serious?

Let us take a critical look at the situation.

The mechanics of revolt are pretty straightforward. First you need discontent among the people. Obviously this will always exist in some form no matter what. However, when discontent begins to grow and spread, this is when the first seeds are planted. Then we need dissent. Once again, this is another element that always exists among citizens. Dissent is constantly in a state of flux. It waxes and wanes but if carefully observed, it can be kept in check simply by governmental policy modifications.

If the dissent phase is allowed to go unchecked, more people will join the cause, and then dissent escalates to disobedience. Disobedience can come in the form of strikes, sit-ins, boycotts and other forms of relatively nonviolent actions. In cases of unjust laws, many people may openly refuse to obey them. At this stage, most governments will begin to take steps to deal with the issue. This is also a very crucial point in the situation and it depends almost solely on what the government response is to the grievance.

If the problem is not addressed satisfactorily, a new phase of dissent and disobedience begins. This round is usually more confrontational with clashes between citizens and authorities. This is the point of critical mass. The next step to revolt would be the catalyst. A catalyst is something that causes or accelerates a reaction. Once the catalyst is reached, this is usually the point of no return.

Finally we have open rebellion and insurrection. This is when a nation's worst fears are realized. Brother against brother, sister against sister; all engaged in the deadly embrace of violent conflict and inevitable bloodshed. It is the deadliest dance of them all. It is the people against the government but in reality the government is also the people. It is our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives; our friends and families; all pitted against one another and divided by the premise of some ethereal ideology.

And as always, there are the innocents who will be caught in the middle. Those whose only desire is to live and die in peace. These are the ones who will suffer greatly. They will be branded as outcasts and "lukewarm" by one side or the other. Therefore, many will be used as pawns in an ever-widening and all-encompassing conflict, consumed by a fury they are apart from, yet a part of.

Conversely, we must also realize that at times revolution may be necessary to clean the slate and reset the clock. Regardless of where we stand in the scheme of it all, there are a few things we should all consider before we plunge headlong into a cause. First and foremost, we should truly know what it is that we fight for. Often the seeds of revolution are planted in seemingly fertile ground. It is only much later that we realize that the fertile ground was only a veneer covering the desolation that lay just beneath its surface.

And just as importantly, remember that today's friend may quickly turn into tomorrow's enemy after the balance of power has switched hands. Finally, let us not forget that the sword of revolt is the sharpest double-edged blade there is. It will slash both friend and foe, even as it is used to vanquish the common enemy. It is an instrument of necessity at times but no hand that touches it will emerge free and unscathed. For there is a terrible price to be exacted for the freedom it apparently bestows. It is a price remitted with the blood of our own people and a dreadful legacy left to be handed down to our posterity.

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