Not long ago, Colorado voters used Article XXI of their state constitution to recall two Democratic state senators who voted in favor of a series of gun control laws that were among the strictest in the nation. The recall was the first time the constitutional provision had ever been utilized.
In other words, citizens signed recall petitions, got the matter on a state ballot, then voted to fire the two politicians, who, in their opinion, violated the United States Constitution's Second Amendment with their gun grabbing legislation. They gave them a pink slip and told them to hit the road. Well done, Colorado!
Now, some of the state's residents are taking the first step to exercise their right to abolish their form of government. Citizens in five Colorado counties voted last Tuesday in favor of pursuing the possibility of forming a 51st state. For the first time since the Civil War, voters in the United States have instructed their elected officials to begin the process of secession.
The issue was on the ballot in 11 counties, but at the end of the night Philips, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Yuma and Washington counties voted in favor. Weld, Logan, Elbert, Sedgwick, Lincoln and Moffat counties voted against the idea.
"This is an important moment for liberty," said Jeffrey Hare, founder of the 51st state initiative. "We have five counties in this state that have said they want to exercise their rights under the state constitution and secede."
Colorado has a strong statement in its constitution saying the people have the right to abolish the government anytime they believe it is necessary. Article II of the Colorado constitution says, "The people of this state have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign and independent state; and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, provided, such language be not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States."
While media reports have claimed residents were voting on secession, that is not completely accurate. Secession would need the approval of the state legislature or state electorate and then would need to get a green light in the U.S. Congress.
Still, the secession procession has begun. "Since this movement began a few months ago we went from zero to 43 percent approval even in the counties that voted against the issue," Hare said. "This is especially significant when you consider that unlike other ballot initiatives, there was no organized campaign in support of the measure."
The movement has inspired residents in other states to consider similar measures. In California, residents in some northern counties are attempting to secede from the state and form a new state called "Jefferson." Residents in other states have also contacted county officials asking about the possibility of starting their own secession movements.
Hare says the movement in Colorado is just beginning.
"We now need to focus on educating people in the counties that voted for the issue on the need to put pressure on the legislature to allow them to have an actual vote on the issue," he explained. "These counties are all right next to each other, (so) we have established a beachhead for secession in the state and we need to build on the ground we do have."
The spirit of independence is far from dead in the United States. Many people are beginning to vote with their feet.
They are separating from states and cities in which they have lived for most of their lives. The biggest recipient of these many thousands of freedom-minded people seems to be the Rocky Mountain States of America's northwest.
The mood of many Americans seems to be one of intense uncertainty and uneasiness. Much of the citizenry is waking up to the reality that Washington, D.C., is hopelessly broken, morally and financially. They believe it is only a matter of time before something catastrophic happens. They see America's major cities as becoming more and more tyrannical, crime-infested and corrupt.
In the major cities, many of the public schools resemble prisons. Local governments now make criminals out of honest gun owners. Christian values, once revered in this country, are now under the attack of local school boards and city councils.
Add any major disaster (natural or man-made) to these growing concerns and the prospect for a normal life in the big cities is practically zero.
People are yearning to be more self-reliant, more independent, more secure and more free. In fact, for millions of American citizens, the longing for liberty trumps the desire for wealth and pleasure. What used to attract people to certain states and some of the big cities now repulses them.
With that in mind, they are more than willing to downscale their incomes and living standards in order to live more simply and breathe more freely.
In reality, secession is not a future event. It has already started. People all over America are separating from their homes and families, from their jobs and livelihoods, from their cities and states, and from their very way of life in order to find even a semblance of what America used to be.
This modern independence movement reminds me of the speech John Adams gave to the Continental Congress as it contemplated the Declaration of Independence. It was one of the greatest oratories ever delivered and it ended with a bang.
"Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that, live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now and INDEPENDENCE FOREVER!"
Ed Baswell pastors The Clarion Church and is the host of Crossfire Radio, Monday through Friday, 7-9 am. The show is aired on the KTBS-TV 24-hour news channel and on The Promise, 90.7 FM. It is streamed live worldwide at ktbs.com and promisetalkradio.org. His column runs on Tuesday in the Minden Press-Herald.