“If we can’t do better than getting a communist sitting in the White House, let’s secede,” says Ron Harwell, treasurer of the Roane County tea party. “Let’s get the hell out of Dodge. Let’s find out what other options this country has.”
More than 22,000 Tennesseans seem to agree with Harwell, as they have signed a petition asking the Obama administration to “peacefully grant” Tennessee the right to withdraw from the Union and form its own government.
Similar petitions from 39 other states have appeared on the White House website since President Obama recently won a second term. A Texas petition has already received more than 80,000 signatures.
Brandon Puttbrese, a spokesman for the Tennessee Democratic Party, called the talk about secession “radical nonsense” that is symptomatic of the tea party’s “extremism and intolerance.”
There was once a minor fracas called the Civil War over the question of secession, with more than a million casualties, after which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled definitively in 1869 that states cannot secede from the Union. But on the unlikely chance that the temper tantrums of the lunatic fringe will result in new acts of secession, I have created a David Letterman-style list of the Top 10 repercussions of Tennessee becoming an independent nation, with the “inerrant” and “infallible” Bible as the immutable law of the land.
(10) Everyone will be forced to worship Yahweh/Jehovah, per the First Commandment. As in the days of theocratic rule in Europe, “heretics” who deny orthodox beliefs about the Judeo-Christian God will be tortured, then burned at the stake.
(9) As under the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, images of Buddha and figures from other religions will be forbidden, per the Second Commandment.
(8) Using the name of God in vain will be a crime, per the Third Commandment. Exclamations of “Jumpin’ Jehovah” and “Jesus Christ!” will be punished by public floggings, as in Geneva under the autocratic rule of John Calvin.
(7) Work and play on Sunday will be illegal, per the Fourth Commandment. Church attendance will be compulsory, as when the Puritans ruled Massachusetts.
(6) Slavery will be reinstituted. As Jefferson Davis once pointed out to Congress before the southern states seceded the first time, the Bible sanctions slavery and mentions it throughout.
(5) It will be a crime to suggest that evolution has occurred, that global warming is real, or that the earth is not flat and the center of the universe.
(4) Assault weapons will be allowed in bars, parks, schools and daycare centers.
(3) All forms of abortion and contraception will be banned, since God alone has the right to decide when babies will be conceived. Of course no one will be allowed to question God’s will when babies die of natural causes.
(2) Women who have sex outside traditional marriage will be stoned to death, per the Commandments of Moses. (Men who commit adultery will not be charged, on the assumption that they were enticed by women.)
(1) Reading the handwriting on the wall, women will secede from Tennessee.
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.