Coyote: Why talk of secession is wrong |

Coyote: Why talk of secession is wrong

It was just plain wrong to arrest Dennis Steele in Vermont on April 1 at the state gubernatorial debate. Steele, the Secessionist Party Candidate for Governor of Vermont, was merely – though persistently – asking a question of the other candidates regarding the use of “state secession” as a way of dealing with Vermont’s $50 million share of the national deficit. And he was promptly arrested. This arrest, however, was unwise, primarily because it is not the way things are done in our free constitutional republic. Besides, the arrest was unnecessary: His non-violent question has a very short constitutional answer. Had there been another candidate or perhaps the moderator with a touch of constitutional savvy present, the situation would have been easily dealt with.

Quite simply, the answer is yes, it would work, but with a proviso of loss of constitutional protections. Besides, talk of secession is way too premature. Why? Because we have yet to use the power the Founders guaranteed in the Constitution to deal with all federal encroachments over constitutional state powers and individual rights. When federal power foists unconstitutional mandates upon the states and its people, that’s when we must reaffirm the Constitution, exerting the state’s 10th Amendment power to reject any and all unconstitutional federal encroachment. At the same time, the people must individually exert our 9th Amendment rights, in order to reinforce the state in this effort with resolve.

The process I just described is called “state sovereignty.” It is not secession and should never be confused with it. A state exerting 10th Amendment sovereignty uses what is provided in the Constitution to protect the Constitution. This, in effect, maintains the state’s lawful power under the Constitution, and helps preserve the Union of States. In so doing, it forces the federal government to stay within its constitutional parameters as well. State secession, on the other hand, starts the breaking up of the union when that state leaves the union. It therefore loses all constitutional protections, just like if you broke a contract: Any protections built into it are lost.

But Mr. Steele’s 9th Amendment – and other constitutional safeguards – were infringed when he was arrested. The Vermont police, especially the arresting officers, were in violation of their constitutional oath, and should be ashamed. As it turns out however, this arrest serves only to gain notoriety for the dangerous and unnecessary Secessionist movement. The country knows of this push now because of the press this event has recently received. Ironically, folks still have little if any knowledge of the 10th Amendment State Sovereignty movement that has been silently moving state to state – already passed in over 30 state legislatures as of this writing.

The 10th Amendment State Sovereignty movement is the utilization of the Constitution as the founders intended. Its purpose is to counter any usurpation by a stealthy invader – one such has slowly infiltrated our federal government incrementally for almost a century. A foreign foe that is changing our nation from a free republic to a debtor slave state – where individual rights are replaced by privileges and liberty with license.

How many of our Founders and past presidents have warned us that, if this country is ever to fall, it will be from within. With foreign bankers, corporate infiltration, subterfuge, political division, disregard for individual rights by government, popular political apathy, and, of course, secession, these are all a sure recipe for the self destruction of our constitutional republic, from within. We must all get involved soon, not on one side or the other of the divisive political paradigm, but squarely behind the Constitution.

JT Coyote lives and conducts his Internet antique firearms restoration business, from his home in Silverthorne. He also writes for the free speech blog He can be contacted at

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