OPINION / VIEWPOINT
Ted Cruz secession whistle shows fracturing US harmony
Published: Nov 10, 2021 08:48 PM
US Republican Senator Ted Cruz Photo: IC

US Republican Senator Ted Cruz Photo: IC

US politics are becoming a big "circus," where clownish politicians will do anything to win an applause. For example, Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently insinuated the state of Texas should secede if Democrats "fundamentally" destroy the US and if there comes "a point where it's hopeless." 

Although Cruz didn't directly use words like secede while speaking at the event at Texas A&M University, his remarks are clear enough to  show his endorsement of secession. It is really shocking to see a member of the US Congress say the words like that. 

The US has a federal system, and states became part of the country through admission into the union under agreement. "United we stand, divided we fall." This demonstrates the importance of unity to the US. However, what Cruz said is to some extent shaking the foundation of the US. 

Cruz himself is a very extreme politician. But he is not a lone wolf. He is supported by quite a handful people. In recent years in some US states, a growing number of people have begun to believe that unity under the union hasn't brought them profits but piled up burden on them. 

A poll released by University of Virginia Center for Politics in partnership with Project Home Fire at the end of September, a new initiative dedicated to finding common ground in American politics, found that roughly 41 percent of Biden and 52 percent of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that it's time to split the country, favoring blue/red states seceding from the union. 

This poll showed not only the increasing antagonism within the US society, but also the deepening of disputes between different US states. Some states with better natural endowments, which are better off themselves, think it is unfair to pay a large amount of tax money to the federal government to subsidize the places that lag behind them.  

Under this mentality, groups of secessionist movements have emerged in states including Texas, Florida and California. They promote secession in an organized way. Although their moves haven't created any waves, these forces are bound to grow in the midst of current domestic problems and divisions in the US. What will such movements be like in 10 to 20 years?

The US Constitution does not directly mention secession. However, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out that there is no legal basis in the US for secession. "The answer is clear," Scalia said. "If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, 'one Nation, indivisible.')" In this regard, Cruz's speech was undoubtedly politically problematic.

Cruz has chosen to act boldly because he is aware of subtle shifts in public opinion in his state. As more and more people lean toward secession, rhetoric echoing such sentiment is likely to appeal to more voters. After all, it is voters from his state who can ultimately vote Cruz into the Senate. 

Comments from politicians like Cruz are carefully designed. The teams behind them do all kinds of polling to help them get a sense of what stances the public might like. But they don't care if their voices are criticized in other parts of the country, as long as they can score points in their own states. However, such statements will inevitably stimulate the rest of the country and lead to wider negative and complicated influence.

Driven by such political interests, the US' political landscape has become increasingly absurd and unpredictable. Some politicians who are active in public opinion seek to utterly shock people with greater frequency. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, for example, reportedly said at the National Conservatism Conference on October 31 that liberal attacks on masculinity create "idle men" who watch pornography and play video games.

In order to cater to the electorate, many American politicians are becoming more and more clownish, turning US politics into a large "circus." They are adding more instability to the future of the US. Is the US now walking the Soviet Union's path?

When the country prospers with everyone living a good life, the US appears confident. But once the various contradictions accumulated within the country are deepened and intensified, the disputes between states will become the most significant contradictions in the US. Texas was originally part of Mexico, and its sense of identity with the US is steeped in its own sense of pride. As the American people continue to suffer from the pandemic, it is hard to predict whether their grievances will eventually burst out in the form of secession.

The author is a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
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