With all this talk of seceding and such, I thought I'd approach things from a slightly different angle.
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Why secede when you can, quite legitimately, create a whole new country out of your vivid imagination?
They're called "micronations", and there are a great many of them already in existence inside the United States. I know of about 30 such micronations and have contributed to the history and furtherance of at least 3 of them.
The Society for Creative Anachronisms, Inc. is a nationwide micronation - perhaps the largest micronation in existence, and certainly one of the longest-lived nations. It has a Board of Directors, true, but it also has a collection of Kingdoms, each with a King and Queen, a royal court, perhaps a couple of Principalities, with a Prince and Princess, baronies with attendant Barons and Baronesses, and an entire collective of people contributing financially to support the micronation, to write its rules and myths and history. It hosts many events, and educates the general US population about historical matters.
Nova Roma is perhaps the second largest micronation inside the United States. Like the SCA, it has its own governance, citizenry, newspapers, and treasury. Unlike the SCA, it does have a religion, the Cultus Deorum Romanorum, but citizens aren't required to participate. Many choose to, though. Like the SCA, it hosts many events and educates the general US population about Roman and Nova Roman history.
Most micronations within the US are simulations, and obey the laws of the United States. There is no real desire to secede from the US, only to create a better world with like-minded people, to have fun, to belong, and to express deep-seated social needs that are otherwise un-adressed.
While some micronations lay claim to real land, most have virtual territories. Some, like the SCA and Nova Roma, overlay the US with their own versions of the territory (kingdoms, principalities, provinces, etc.), but they give sovereignty to US laws and place names, keeping their virtual places on paper or on the internet, and not on road signs.
Some micronations interact with other micronations, usually as a Live Action Role Playing system of some sort, or an internet MMPORG. I don't have a lot to do with the gaming-oriented micronations.
There are some serious micronations outside of the US, some established for political reasons, and some as a protest, and some because they found legal loopholes that allowed them to become established. Aracaunia and Patagonia in Chile and Argentina, Atlantium outside of Sydney, Australia, Elleore in Denmark, Forvik in the UK, Hay-on-Wye in Wales, Ladonia in Sweden, Baldonia in Canada, Sealand, off the coast of England and Germany, and Seborga, on the border between Italy and France.
Inside the Us, there are a few serious micronations, too. The Conch Republic, off the coast of Florida, for example, still operates tongue-in-cheek as a sovereign nation, but was originally serious in its attempt to be a nation unto itself. The Rose Empire in South Dakota, New Atlantis in Texas, Molossia and Minerva both based in Nevada, Dewaco in Missouri, and Bahoudii in Louisiana, all have purchased land and run their properties as if they were sovereign nations. Of course, all of the micronations adhere to US laws and pay US taxes and use US public services.
None of these US micronations are recognized by any US government entity.
That doesn't stop them from existing.
Nor does it stop them from producing their own artifacts, such as stamps (thanks to agencies such as zazzle which allow you to make your own stamps recognized and used by the US Post Office!), currency (only valid within their borders), passports (again, only recognized within their own borders), flags, medals, and so forth.
Micronations should not be confused with exile government groups such as the Qajar Dynasty (currently in Dallas, TX), the Belarusian People's Republic (currently in Toronto, Canada), the Royal Lao Government in Exile (currently in Paris), or with territoriless countries such as the State of Palestine (which is changing....), Terramer, or the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, or with self-determined nations such as the Native American tribes inside the US or the Aboriginal tribes in Australia or the independence movements in Asia and Africa. This is because those are countries that have been recognized by at least one other existing government. Most micronations are created for fun, as a statement, or as a financial endeavor and often go completely unrecognized by any other government. A few, like the SCA and Nova Roma and the Conch Republic, are incorporated as 501(c) organizations, and so are seen by the government as an organization and not a country, even if the members (citizens) treat it like a country unto itself.
That brings us to the micronations that are corporations.
On second thought, that's really all I want to say about corporate nations, since I'd like this diary to remain light-hearted to some degree, and I'll get mad if I talk about corporate nations.
So, moving on.
I said I was involved in the history of three micronations. Two of those were by choice: the SCA and Nova Roma.
In the SCA, I was responsible for the creation of the Baronies of Elfsea and Wiesenfeuer, and involved in the establishment of the Baronies of Bryn Gwlad, Namron, Eldern Hills, and the Barony of the Steppes. I founded an office that is now propagated throughout the SCA (Ministry of Children), as well as a number of newsletters that are still in publication. And I hosted (they call it autocrating) the first Coronation of the Kingdom of Ansteorra. I was a little involved.
In Nova Roma, my participation was much lower key - I'd learned in the SCA that it wasn't what you did but who you knew in getting recognition for your work, so I was more cautious about contributing. I contributed mostly on line, in papers and advice.
Over time, I left both of those micronations because I didn't have the time to devote to them.
The third micronation was thrust upon me, and I admit, I've let it languish for the most part. That nation is Terramer. Above, I equated it with the State of Palestine and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The only connection it has to those 2 nations is that it has no territory, but it is a real nation recognized by at least one other government - the United States of America. I hesitated to place Terramer in the same category as those other 2 nations because it doesn't have their history, their numbers of citizens, their desire to be a fully recognized country, or the desire to have a place in the UN. But, in the end, I decided it did belong there, however tenuously.
Terramer was created by an immigration attorney, and allowed to exist simply because it has no land and no power. It came into existence 23 years ago, when I divorced my spouse. For the first time in my life, my citizenship was questioned. I wasn't born in the US. I also wasn't born in any other country. I was born in international waters to 2 people whose citizenship wasn't yet determined - they'd renounced their original citizenship and weren't citizens of the US yet. I was born in limbo. And for some reason, I slipped between every crack there was. My siblings (older and younger) were all properly born on land and their citizenship was never in doubt, so it was assumed I also shared their citizenship.
Except that turned out to not be true.
Fortunately for me, the US granted me a passport and driver's license and SS card, and I'd kept them current, paid my taxes, and in all ways behaved as a decent citizen of the US, so it wasn't until my divorce that this discrepancy was discovered. Apparently, back then, they didn't research your citizenship for marriage. Or maybe it was simply because by the time I divorced, the country had become a much less kind place.
My immigration attorney was a genius. Instead of insisting I was a US citizen by right of the passport, driver's license and SS card, he argued that, since I was born in international waters, the latitude and longitude of my birth was my birth "country", and I was sovereign of that nation. He argued that since there was no land at that location, the US was obligated to do one of the following: create land at that location for me and support me and my citizenry (ha!) there until we were self-supporting, or cede to me land on which I and my citizens (again - ha!) could become self-supporting, or allow me the rights and privileges of a dual US/Terramer citizen until such time as I could find, establish, and populate territory of my own to claim as my country. The US chose the third option.
Well, of course they would - it was the cheapest option available to the US. The burden of finding territory no one else claimed that was viable and capable of being worked into a self-supporting nation was placed upon me, and not the US.
I felt all Heinlein-esque (a la Stranger in a Strange Land) as my immigration attorney and I worked through various things to make Terramer seem more real to the court - we created a government, a constitution, a flag, some essential laws including immigration laws, some traditions, an anthem, coinage, stamps, passport, driver's license, a couple of medals, a potential taxation system and exports, and even a national cuisine. Because I was already Numenist at that point, he wanted to make Numenism the national religion, but I pointed out the clause he put into the constitution where there would be no nationally recognized religion, so he ceded the point to me.
The whole process was surreal.
I've thought, off and on, as we go through various political crises, about taking Terramer and actually doing something with it, finding some territory upon which to establish a physical nation and use the ambiguous legal status we have to force the hand of the US to recognize us and take our tiny place in the world.
Then I remember just how much it would cost to do this and I promptly abandon the idea.
I don't owe the US anything financially since I've always paid my taxes in full and on time and donate to US charities and such, so should I ever be in a financial position to seek enough land that is unincorporated (there's a kicker for you!), I could do so without any debt hanging over me and my fledgling nation.
When things get really bad, I can reflect on my unique position and know that, technically if not realistically, I do have an out. I can put some distance between myself and the rage that lately seems to erupt in political discussions (still!), and I can then look at the debate with some degree of objectivity. I can say, "Well, in Terramer, we would never do that." My Terramer citizens (there are a few...) are better than much of the modern crop of US politicians.
For me, this makes it easier to select the causes I support, the politicians I support, the laws I work to preserve or change. I think, being the sovereign of my own country gives me a perspective on US politics that I might not otherwise have had.
You can create your own micronation, declare yourself the sovereign, and see how that affects your perception of US politics. It can give you a place to retreat to when things get heated so you can take solace and gain strength so you can re-enter the fray fresh.
If you don't want to create your own micronation (and it is a lot of work if you do it right, I'm so thankful I had an immigration attorney to help me set Terramer up), I invite you to petition to immigrate to Terramer. You would remain a citizen of the US until Terramer becomes a landed nation. Which will probably be never, in spite of the deeds I hold for property on Mars...purchased from NASA to fund the Mars probes. I'm not sure how legal those deeds would be should we ever colonize Mars, but I'm keeping them, just in case. My descendants might become Martian aristocrats, and Terramer would finally exist - as a Martian country.
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