Copyright© 2020 by Ernest Bywater
Selling the Changes
For the Constitutional Amendment and the associated National Voter Registration Bill to be passed through both Houses of Congress it needs to be supported by both major parties in both Houses. However, due to the way the parties in the Houses of Congress operate this means both of the Bills have to be promoted to four different political groups where each has their own agenda. Yes, the group from the same party in each House have related agendas, but there are differences due to operational differences in each House and the length of the elected terms. Those with elections due very soon view things differently to those with an election that’s some years away.
Thus, instead of having a two or four meetings with the significant power brokers within each major party dozens of meetings with small groups of Members of Congress are arranged so Ernest can speak to them to explain why they should support the Bills. He is also asked to visit and speak to a number of people elected to various state and county bodies. Arrangements are made for Ernest to talk with the leaders of a number of special interest groups as well.
While Ernest was paid for his work on the Bills that pay ended when the Bills were presented to Congress. However, the accommodation and meals are continued during the discussion period, and those he is asked to go to talk with meet all of his travel expenses.
In the many talks Ernest has with the Members of Congress the six Key Political Points are the main topics of discussion about the Bills. It seems no one is very interested in the details of how it will all be done. While the way the talks go is slanted with a slight difference for each of the major parties and there are variations based on when the Members are due for re-election, a great deal of the discussion is common to all of the meetings. Thus it’s only necessary to cover the general direction the talks vary for the two major parties. This is also true for the talks with state, county, and special interest group discussions Ernest is involved in.
For some reason the number of people in each group for Ernest to talk with is between five to fifteen people. Due to the small numbers he’s glad he doesn’t have to talk to every Member of Congress or the other groups he’s asked to talk with. Those he talks with will be talking to the others who are in their inner circles and will pass the information along.
A typical discussion with members of one party starts with one of the politicians, Joe, asking, “Why shouldn’t we push for changes in the Bills that goes more along the lines of what we would prefer?”
Ernest smiles at Joe as he replies, “At the moment the party leaders all agree with the current wording of the Bills which include most aspects of what each wants and is a good compromise. If you try to make changes now the other party will want to make changes, and eventually it’ll get to the stage where one of the parties will be disgusted and vote it down. At the moment you have the opportunity to get most of what you want, so you don’t want to throw that away in the hopes of a little decoration.”
Joe says, “A sixty-five percent of all eligible voters is ridiculous.”
“Not really. That shows it’s a clear majority of the citizens want the secession to happen. Also, it only applies to the final vote while the first vote of fifty-one percent will give you good idea of what support there is in each area. With that in mind you can ask those favoring secession to move from areas of non-secession to those where the vote looks like it may be close. Thus you will then win the vote in those areas.”
Another politician asks, “So it’ll be kind of like what happened in Kansas back in the eighteen fifties, but no shootings?”
Ernest responds, “Yes. You want a clear majority so you don’t have a repeat of what happened in Virginia or any of the other split states back in the eighteen sixties. Also, once those against the secession see most of their neighbors are in favor of secession they’re likely to look at moving away if they can sell up. By encouraging people in favor to move into the area you’re enabling those against secession to move out of the area.”
Joe asks, “What about the restrictions on rejoining the Union?”
“Not relevant to the areas that leave and stay separate, so there’s no need to worry about them. Also, the wording is such if there are any who change their minds they know they’ll have to go through some hoops to rejoin the Union, so they’ll think real hard before doing so.”
“And the bit about secession supporters not being able to go for public office in the future. Why have that?”
“First, it only comes into effect in areas that go for secession and don’t get the approval votes to leave. Thus it has no effect on the areas that do leave. Also, if someone in public office misjudged their electorate to that extent then they need to leave public office. That Section of the Bill has the effect of making sure everyone puts their money where their mouth is. Also, we all know those in public office who don’t support a secession vote in an area that secedes will not be part of the political structure in the new government after the secession.”
The discussion goes into some of the details for a short while before Ernest says, “One thing to keep in mind is the results of some of the work on support for secession my staff did shows twenty or more of the state legislatures are likely petition for secession. That’s a much larger portion of the country than supported it in the eighteen sixties, and you won’t have to fight a war over it!” They all like that statement.
In the end all of those present agree to support both of the Bills as they’re currently worded.
The discussion with members of the other party focuses on most of the same issues, but from a different perspective. So Ernest gives them different answers and reasons to support the Bills as they are.
One of the party members, Jim, asks, “Why should we support Bills to allow states to leave the Union?”
Ernest grins as he replies, “The first main reason is you provide a long term answer to the issue. By providing a controlled mechanism to let this happen you effectively end aggressive pushes to have it happen under less controlled ways. The second reason is it effectively destroys those people who want secession by either allowing them and their supporters to leave the Union or by blocking them from future public office.” They all smile at the second reason.
Jim says, “The research suggests twenty state legislatures will petition for secession, that’ll cut the country in half. So why allow it?”
“The state legislatures will ask, but the voting and approval is done on the county level. Name one state where you think every county will have sixty-five percent of the citizens support secession. I doubt you can. Yes, some may have most of the voters in a county support the secession, but most will be split in their voting. The departing counties need to have an International border, so many won’t be eligible for secession. Take California as an example. Half of the state’s counties supports your party and the other half supports the other party, so it will be effectively split in two and the other party’s supporters will leave the union to give you control of the state. A similar effect will occur in both Houses of Congress.” They all smile at that point being made.
In the end all of those present agree to support both of the Bills as they’re currently worded.
State and County Discussions
While the discussion with the various state and county officials also cover many of the same points raised by the Members of Congress the focus is more on the mechanical aspects than the political aspects, so the talks aren’t as politically contentious. However, there are two aspects that frequently come up in the state discussions.
One is an especially contentious issue in the Southern States where someone will end up saying, “If my ancestor and the other state leaders of the day knew they couldn’t leave the Union when they wanted to they would never have agreed to join the Union.”
Ernest invariably makes some of the people in the meetings angry when he says, “I can’t believe how stupid and ignorant some people can be whenever they trot out that piece of garbage.” He pauses for them to quiet down again before continuing, “Following the Revolutionary War the Continental Congress spent sixteen months discussing and ironing out the wording of an agreement between the thirteen original states. The document preserved the independence and sovereignty of the states and took over three years to be ratified by the states. It was titled the ‘Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.’ Please note the two words Perpetual Union in the title. It came into force in March seventeen eighty-one and it created a government so ineffectual there was civil unrest and a rebellion it was unable to deal with. So they sought to make changes to give the new government some power and teeth. In May seventeen eighty-seven a meeting which became known as the Constitutional Convention worked on writing a document they could agree on to create a government for their new country that was effective. The result was the Constitution of the United States which was presented to Congress and the various state legislatures for ratification, which took several months to be approved. It’s clear the Continental Congress intended the Union to be a perpetual one, and that is reinforced in the Preamble to the Constitution. However, the major thing the Constitution did was to change the creation of the new federal government from being an agreement empowered by the state legislature and limited by them, to being an agreement between the people of the United States and empowered by the people directly. Those who voted for the Constitution knew it was meant to be perpetual.”
The people present are stunned with the vehemence with which the information is provided by Ernest, and it takes a moment for the content to sink in as they realize he’s correct in what he says, and the often repeated ‘old saw’ about wanting to leave is not true at all.
The second common aspect in the state discussions is asked in many ways, but the answer Ernest gives is basically the same in each case. He says, “The important thing for the state legislature to keep in mind is it becomes the final power for the state after the state secedes, until such time as they agree to be part of a new country or confederation. That means the state legislature can have a say in how the new confederation will be structured before they join it, or they can stay separate. Also, the various federal laws and constitutional rights have no application until after the state legislature passes laws to enact what they want from them or joins a new confederation.” The state legislators love that aspect of the extra power they’ll have.
With the county commissioners Ernest’s messages are still much the same, but after pointing out the states will no longer have to submit to the federal laws etc. he also states, “Of course, since the decision on the secession is really at the county level you have the option to separate from the state if you wish to. That’s as long as you meet the other criteria for being a separate political entity or merge with another county that does meet the terms and you’re both seceding. This means you can join a neighboring county in the next state if you wish to when you secede. Of course, if you don’t wish to secede and aren’t an enclave it means you can split from the state. Then you’ll be in a position to be involved with a new state legislature.”
In every case Ernest slants the message in a way to garner the support and desired action by the body being addressed in the way his research has indicated they’re most likely to go. That way he gets their support for the current Bills and the hoped for actions after they pass.
Special Interest Group Talks
While visiting federal, state, and county officials Ernest wasn’t at all surprised to see some people he wasn’t introduced to, so he thought they weren’t public officials but assisting staff or reporters or political spies. He was surprised to see two of them also attending his meetings with the Special Interest Groups, and, on thinking back, he remembers seeing the two of them at every meetings he’s had since the Bills were presented to the Congress for consideration. Thus he wonders who they are and why the two of them are at every meeting he goes to.
When Ernest arrives at the first Special Interest Group meeting which is in San Diego County, California, he’s there early due to being at a hotel just a few doors from the meeting venue. The first person he sees is his host for the night, Mr Juan Sanchez, and the next two people in the door are the two people Ernest has seen at every meeting. He decides to find out what’s going on by introducing himself and saying, “I’ve noticed you two at every meeting, just what is your interest in them?”
The two look at each other, then both shrug their shoulders before one points at the other to answer Ernest. The man says, “I’m Rob and she’s Alison. We’re both freelance reporters and we’re trying to get a good story out of what’s going on. We were invited to the first meetings by two politicians and have since then been funded by a businessman to get the full story on what you’re up to. We’re not the only people to notice how you present the reasoning for supporting the Bills varies with who you talk to. That’s expected as everyone leans the reasoning to what they expect the hearer to want to support it. However, what you’re saying does vary a lot more than we’d expect it to, so we’re trying to get the full story and what’s in this for you.”
Ernest grins as he says, “Hang around then. Once we’ve finished the lecture tour I’ll want to read your stories, then I’d like to spend some time talking with you about some new stories I expect to see. However, I don’t want any of what I expect to be mentioned in the first stories as prior talk may have adverse effects on the expected events.” They both look a bit surprised at his statement, but both soon nod their agreement.
Juan Sanchez organized a large group of the community leaders of the Hispanic Communities in the Imperial, Orange, San Diego, and Riverside counties of California. They have a few concerns. While the counties had all voted for the party that now controls the state legislature they aren’t happy with some of the decisions and laws coming from the legislature and wonder how the state secession will affect them and what they can do about it. Their main concerns are the many illegal non-citizens in their counties who are part of troublesome criminal gangs and the way the state authorities aren’t doing anything to deal with them.
Once having read over the list of concerns Juan handed to him Ernest asks for a whiteboard and markers. They’re soon provided, so he writes the five major concerns on the board while naming them, then he adds more notes on the board before talking about the matters at length.
Protect members of churches and churches from anti-church groups.
Allow people to be able to defend themselves against criminals.
Deal with illegal residents who are violent criminals without harming the non-violent hard working residents regardless of resident status.
Protect the border from illegal crossings.
Provide a better and faster legal migration system for workers.
On the right half of the board Ernest writes:
Federal government, US Constitution, Federal laws and regulations.
State government, state laws, and regulations.
County laws and regulations.
Turning to face the group of about twenty people there to listen to him Ernest says, while pointing at the first list, “These are the five major problems you’ve listed. I think the other problems can be dealt with by the actions you take to resolve these issues. Anyone disagree with me?”
He waits while making eye contact with everyone present. No one disagrees with him. Ernest continues, “Good. The problems arise partly from the federal laws and regulations while the rest arise from the state laws and regulations. There is a way for you to resolve all of the issues. However, before I get to that I wish to very strongly emphasize I will not encourage anyone to break the law nor countenance any law breaking. Is that clear to you all?” Again he makes eye contact and they all nod to show they understand what he’s saying.
Ernest takes a sip of water before saying, “I also expect everyone to serious consider the full ramifications of the outcomes of a vote to secede or not to secede. However, to do that you need to know what secession will mean to you as an individual, a county, and as a state. Should your county vote to secede then the federal constitution, laws, and regulations no longer have any power within this county once the date of secession is reached following the due process as laid out in the Bills. At that point the elected county officials will need to decide if they will join the new country being established by the state government or create their own new country. Should they decide to create their own country then the state laws and regulations do not apply, only the existing county laws and regulations. Is that clear?” They all nod in response, many with big grins as they see the full implications of what he says. “This is because the Bills establishes the county as the only political entity that can secede, and each county will decide that for themselves. There are limitations in that the counties that don’t have an International border will need to unite with a county that does, but they may choose any county they are in contact with or decide not to secede at all. For those counties that don’t have a direct International border I suggest they talk with the people in the neighboring counties about the issue as soon as they can. For those who don’t like the way their elected county officials act at this time you’ll have a couple of election cycles to elect people you feel will be better for your communities before the secession process is over.”
One person asks, “If our county goes out on its own, does that mean there are no laws in it?”