I suppose everyone has noticed that some radical group has declared about six blocks of downtown Seattle an independent state within the state of Washington within the United States. They have put up barriers and have some sort of armed guards carrying AK-47s, protecting their borders.
I’m not prepared to discuss the issues behind the action taken by those who believe their can create their own nation within a state within this nation. Their cause may be reasonable, admirable, or even noble. But seceding from the rest of the city, state, and nation probably isn’t the best way to have one’s grievances heard! The Southern states tried that nearly 160 years ago. The result was a bloody civil war that lasted for four years and the South lost, and despite protestations to the contrary, history has shown that the South still lost a century and-a-half later.
No matter how deeply felt the cause or how fundamentally justified it may be, occupying part of a major city and declaring it an independent nation is going to end up as a futile gesture that won’t even be a footnote in the history books. But there’s a more fundamental issue at stake here.
Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort…”
Way back in 1861, the beginning of the Civil War, here’s what the New York Times had to say on the subject: “That the President and Congress have the whole of the political, national and inter-state power of the Union, a perpetual Government making the people of the United States one nation, with the States municipal bodies with mere local sovereignty, and having no power to make compacts or agreements of any kind without the consent of Congress.”
That would seem to suggest that the good people of whatever they’re calling themselves, really have no right to form a new nation within the United States, although I suppose I could be wrong. Jefferson Davis, the one and only president of the Confederacy, probably would have thought so. (He’s lucky he wasn’t tried for treason.)
The Times goes on to say, “That no State or confederacy has a right to organize an army or navy, or to make war, or to invade any other State by military power, or to seek to device and disrupt the Union of our thirty-four  States, or to change our Government, except by an amendment of the National Constitution in the mode pointed out by it. Any such act is rebellion — it is treason.”
Furthermore, “That all attempts to defeat, by force or menace, the execution of any act of Congress in any of our thirty-four  States, or to seize, for the use of any State, or the southern confederacy, any fort, Custom house, mint, or vessel of the Union, or to collect duties, except for the national treasury, and in pursuance of any act of Congress, and all efforts to break up the Union by menace or force, all those acts are, by our law, treason, whether done by private persons, or armed men, or officers of a southern confederacy, State Legislatures or State conventions.”
If it was true for a state back in 1861, I would submit to you that it’s still true today.
In addition, recent news stories allege that the rival gangs competing for control of those six or seven blocks are demanding money from the shop and store owners within their territory for “protection.” I’m not sure for protection from whom – maybe from those demanding the money!
With regard to the question of secession, The Times wrote, “That secession is treason, and that all who uphold it by menace or force, or by giving aid in any degree, or in any manner, are traitors, and legally subject to capital punishment.”
Finally, the Times wrote, “The above abstract of the principles of our law, and their application to existing facts, are furnished to guard men against treason, and capital punishment, its legal penalty. There are men in our midst who have already incurred the penalties of treason, and are now enjoying a temporary immunity by the forbearance of the Government.”
On a much smaller scale, it seems to me, that’s exactly what’s going on within the city of Seattle. Do you suppose those who have initiated this takeover really think they can succeed? Do they really think they could prevail against state or federal authorities or even federal troops, assuming the liberal mayor and liberal mayor of Seattle and Governor of Washington aren’t prepared to do anything about it? One or the other, the mayor or the governor, said that all that was going on was a “summer of love.” Pardon me? Armed insurrection against the United States comes perilously close, if not actually being, treason! The longer the president lets this nonsense go on, the more likely it will happen in other cities with liberal mayors and city councils – like Portland, Oregon.
Frankly, I don’t expect the city or the state of Washington to do much about this insurrection, but there is only one category of citizenship owed by the people of the United States and that is loyalty to the nation. To attempt to establish a separate state within a state or nation cannot stand, no matter how well-meaning or even righteous the cause. Or, for that matter, how unworthy or unjustified the cause. We are a nation of laws and there are other ways to redress real or perceived grievances besides attempting to set up new nation within a city, however liberal, it may be. To do otherwise comes very close to being treason!
That’s – 30 – for this week.