‘Tis a pity when civics goes so horribly wrong as it has for Derrick Belcher, 45, of Alabama.
Belcher started an Alabama secession petition over his anger at the “socialist” federal regulations that he thinks shut down his topless car wash and resulted in him being arrested for obscenity in 2001.
“I don’t want to live in Russia. I don’t believe in socialism. America is supposed to be free,” He told Al.com. “The government ripped my business away, and now they’re choking America to death with rules and regulations.”
Yes, but see, the law that got him arrested is not a federal law, it is a state law intended to make nude dancing illegal, but so broad that it criminalizes sex toys and renders even some mainstream films as a violation.
The law prohibits “any person to knowingly distribute, possess with intent to distribute, or offer or agree to distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for any thing of pecuniary value.” Fines go up to $50,000.00, jail time and felonies abound. Mr. Belcher’s topless car wash must have fallen under the prohibited marketing of an item meant to stimulate a human organ.
Belcher might wish to familiarize himself with the origins of his talking points about socialism and entitlement programs. The people who sold him those lines of bunk are the same people who want to institute laws about nudity and regulate people’s bodies across the nation. They are not typically Democrats. The morality police hail from the Republican Party of “family values”.
The law that got Belcher arrested and shut down his business was backed by a coalition of Conservative Christians led by Dan Ireland of the Alabama Citizens’ Action Program. The evil liberal ACLU has actually challenged the law Belcher hates, on constitutional (federal, again) grounds. In other words, Belcher is petitioning the federal government to allow him to get into bed with his captor with no chance of freedom via the federally protected freedoms of the constitution.
Belcher thinks that by seceding, the awesome freedom of the Bible Belt would enable them to stop the entitlements that got Obama re-elected. He told Al, “The people who want those handouts, it’ll force them to move to a different state. It will consolidate working people and that’s how we turn things around.”
I guess no one has told Belcher that Alabama relies on federal money to exist at a ratio of $1.71 for every $1.00 put in. Alabama is, in fact, one of the moocher states demanding handouts from the blue states. Ah, freedom.
Belcher seems to think secession would work just fine as red states produce all of the oil and food, in his mind. Of course, this isn’t accurate, but let’s say it was.
Belcher is obviously unaware of the federal subsidies to both the oil and farming industries, as well as the fact that we do not get to “keep” the oil we drill here. Oil drilled in Texas does not belong to Texas or the USA for that matter. It belongs to the global oil companies being subsidized by the federal government to drill here.
Were he to go it alone with the Morality Police of Alabama, the federal government would no longer “socialize” the oil companies or the farming industries with the “handouts” Belcher thinks are the root of the problem.
Belcher is a seemingly proud Libertarian. No problem there. It’s just too bad he has no idea that seceding from the U.S. government would only make his problems worse, not better. It was Alabama’s government that shut his business down, and if he had no federal protections for his freedoms, the Bible Belt wouldn’t stop at his topless car wash.
Mr. Belcher, who obviously drank too much Fox, has 29,230 signatures for “freedom” thus far.
While I’m tempted to suggest to Belcher and his misinformed buddies, “Please proceed,” perhaps civics lessons would be more productive in the long run. A little knowledge goes a long way.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.