Buchanan on the Brazos The Daily Cartoonist

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CSotD: Buchanan on the Brazos

John Deering (Creators) offers a comparison of the Texas GOP’s bizarre party platform to the familiar final scene of Dr. Strangelovein which Slim Pickens’ gung-ho hyperpatriotic character joyfully rides the atomic bomb that is about to end the world.

It’s particularly well-chosen because, in the movie, the bombing is the product on an insane officer who believes fluoridation of water is a Soviet plot, and, if you find that absurd, you likely aren’t old enough to remember when fluoridation was as well-accepted a threat among the politically paranoid as their current fear of CRT.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pat Byrnes)

(Nick Anderson – Tribune)

Byrnes and Anderson offer two views of the controversy.

Byrnes concedes that the fading white patriarchy may have some grievances, but notes that their complaints are hardly on a scale with those of less fortunate members of society.

Anderson, by contrast, accuses them of simply being stupid, which may have some basis in truth and is compatible with Byrnes’ suggestion that they get over themselves, but doesn’t do much to advance the debate.

This, however, brings us back to Dr. Strangelove, where the issue was not how to reach a reasonable solution but, rather, how to blunt the power of a small group of people who were out of their minds.

Which, in turn, brings us back to the last time we had so many determined people to rebel against the American government, specifically because the Texas GOP’s platform Includes not simply a statement of its right to secede but calls for passing — not simply “holding” — a referendum to do so.

You are, of course, free to agree with Anderson that this is an indication of rank stupidity, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t pull it off. It’s a reminder of Tim Miller’s remark about how the current crop of insurgents may be clowns, but they’re clowns with flamethrowers.

And, to look on the bright side, the civil war which seems destined to break out, if it hasn’t already, is particularly dangerous for its being decentralized. It might be a good thing to let Texas secede simply to encourage the armed loonies currently scattered around the country to concentrate there.

After all, as Jeff Stahler (AMS) Points out, there is no level of hints, no amount of proof, that is going to persuade them to give up their beliefs in favor of logic and rationality.

They don’t simply believe the Big Lie without proof, but they are determined to believe it despite the fact that every alleged proof offered in its defense has crumbled into nonsense. It’s of little importance if people insist on believing that the Universe was created in six days, but, when they apply that same level of faith-based credulity to our system of government, there is a great deal of harm indeed.

But let’s also fill in a fact or two for the other side to ponder: We tend to think that the Civil War began when Lincoln became president in March, 1861, and, while it’s true if you assume the war began at Fort Sumter, it’s naive to think all was sunshine and lollipops up to that moment.

Before he was elected the previous November, people had been killed in Bloody Kansas and, however you feel about John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, it was an insurrection in which people died.

This clipping from the New York Times of February 5, 1861 indicates that, while secession was on the table once Lincoln was progressing, the split had been in for several decades, with the times and elements of the federal government that threat was not that the Southern states would force a North/South war, but that their goal was “the formation of a grand Slave Empire, to embrace the islands in the Gulf of Mexico and the territories facing it.”

And, whether their threat was to the North or to Cuba and Haiti, waiting for Lincoln’s inauguration before acting proved to be waiting far too long.

As noted in George Ticknor Curtis’s 1883 biography of Buchanan, Winfield Scott had warned the president a week before the elections about secessionist takeover of federal military bases.

Had Buchanan listened — and had he the support of Congress to fortify those bases — there might have been no war.

Mind you, slavery would have continued for decades to come, but we’d been kicking that could down the road for nearly a century, and the most progress we’ve made since is a reluctant concession that our freedom requires the repeated slaughter of small children in schoolrooms.

We ain’t so high and mighty.

So here’s my thought: Rather than sitting back and screwing around and watching the pillars fall as James Buchanan did, we should let Texas secede as a pressure-release, while assuring they not become a military threat.

That is, we should make plans to abandon our military facilities, not bugging out as we did in Afghanistan, but being prepared to defend them against insurgents while systematically removing personnel, ammunition, weapons, ships, planes and all other vehicles and equipment, plus giving LGBTQ+ people, pregnant women, families of school children and other targets of GOP hostility an opportunity to leave under military protection.

The remaining Texans, no longer finding their right of local self-government impinged upon, will no doubt happily give up the pennies and nickels this change will bring about.

After all, it was their idea.

Nor will they begrudge losing NASA’s Manned Space Centergiven that they’re already committed to “pass legislation that prohibits political subdivisions of Texas and state agencies from accepting federal funds that violate Texas law,” which suggests that the 17% of their state budget that comes from the feds won’t be missed, either.

One problem I do see is that, while letting anyone leave who wants to reduce the population, letting anyone in who’d rather live there might still result in a strain, even in a state that prides itself on its square mileage.

But there’s always Florida — 65,758 square miles, with some lovely beaches and swampland and only $96.6 billion in military economic impact.

Once they drop Medicare and Social Security for their retirees, things will even out, I’m sure.

All of which, however, relies on ratification of the 28th Amendment:

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