I was having a strange dream the other night. It had to be a dream because it was so bizarre that I knew it could not actually be happening.
It went like this: Thousands of sane Louisiana residents were rallying to put forward the idea of seceding from the United States. You know, like the Pelican State did back in the day.
I was walking around in the dream eager to ask secession leaders questions (I once was a reporter you know) about this NEW, grand notion of Louisiana becoming a sovereign nation.
The leadership seemed to be a respectable group of political allies apparently overwhelmed by the outcome in the 2012 presidential election. They complained about federal taxes being too high and that kind of stuff.
(Even though I was in a dream, I remembered that Louisiana makes out like a bandit from the federal government. It gets $1.78 back in federal dollars for every dollar taxed. New Jersey gets 61 cents on the dollar. The state with the second-lowest federal tax payments is Louisiana with $4,565 per capita. To put that in perspective, Connecticut’s federal tax payments are $11,522 per capita.)
My first question to the group was why didn’t they consider seceding about four years prior when the banking industry, the auto industry and the U.S. economy were on the brink of collapse. I got a quizzical look from the leadership as if they didn’t remember it had ever happened.
I then asked whether the Louisiana education system coule survive without the millions of dollars in research grants and other federal funding the colleges receive annually. And, what about the thousands of college students who depend on federal student loans to attend college? The leadership said they would address that later.
Still dreaming, I asked who would defend this New Louisiana from foreign attack. Seems, a little Louisiana would be easy pickings for let’s say, Colombian drug lords or Brazil. The power of the U.S. military would be gone. Just how many times could that loveable alligator-hunter Troy Landry yell “Choot ’em” before things got really bad. Blank stare.
And I asked what about the millions of dollars Louisiana would have to kick in every year to maintain and build highways and the billions of dollars that might be needed if Louisiana is struck by a hurricane or disaster?
I pressed on. I asked, what kind of currency would the new Louisiana use? I got nothing.
In recent days I have talked to people about this horrendous dream. I was stunned by comments from folks who claimed that some Louisiana folks are really considering seceding. Naw, that can’t be true.
But sure enough it’s in the newspaper so it has to be true — or mostly true. I know it’s just a bad joke and a worse dream. Tomorrow I hope those people will say “poof” we were just kidding and we will all have a laugh.
Or, they will stick with this farce and the rest of world will be laughing at us.
Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org