I want to tell you a story that you won’t read in the mainstream news. It is a positive story, about people from different backgrounds, who have different cultures, coming together to work for a shared dream. It is a story of people who know they are different from each other, but recognize they can still respect each other and work together. It is a story that could only happen because of the Southern tradition, the same Southern tradition almost always vilified in the corporate press by both leftwing and rightwing pundits.

In our highly politically polarized time, it is not a story the mainstream news will want you to hear. Yet, it is a true story, and it just happened.

As you probably know, according to mainstream news, “all conservatives are rabid racists who hate all minorities and immigrants,” and according to conservative news “all Californians are rabid progressives who hate all conservatives and can only scream their opinions.”

My name is Marcus Ruiz Evans, a minority and the grandson of an illegal immigrant, a.k.a. the California liberal in our story, and I’m working with Mike Martin, a Southern conservative. We met at the Abbeville Institute’s conference on “The Revival of Secession and State Nullification” at the Double Tree Dallas/Fort Worth Airport North in November 2018.

At the conference, I gave a speech saying that California was liberal and that I too was a proud liberal, but that I recognized states’ rights apply to all of America, and that conservatives are just as scared about Federal laws they don’t like being forced on them as Californians are scared that Trump will force laws they don’t agree with on California. I made an impassioned plea for conservatives to suspend their belief in what they see on Conservative news and be willing to work with liberal Californians.

One article on the event said: “Evans presented himself among Southerners who hold to the pure faith of secession as a legitimate means of dissolving the bands holding different political groups together under a single state.” In other words, I believe that the Southern tradition offers a peaceful solution to our modern contentious political and social climate.

Mike Martin was a conference member and took the bait, and we had a brief 10 minute conversation outside the speaking hall. Martin, being a native South Carolinian, was proud of his state’s history of being the first to secede and asked Ruiz Evans for help in starting a new South Carolina secessionist organization.

Our collaboration led to Martin gaining the will to start a group from the floor up, based on my constant encouragement that Martin had “the right voice” for a secessionist group. Martin formed the “Palmetto State Independence” organization and in May 2019, “Calexit” and “Palmetto State Independence publicly endorsed each other’s quest for state secession. This is a real “bipartisan” and peaceful accomplishment in the 21st century based on mutual respect and understanding, the bedrock the undergirds the “federalism” of the founding generation and the original Constitution.

Martin and I didn’t stop. Through constant media exposure in 2017, I learned how to get in the media and keep media attention, and although Martin and I do not agree on all issues, we believed in our movements and collaborated on ideas to grab attention. I passed on some of these tips, and it worked, because Martin made a sign at HIS VERY FIRST PROTEST for his new group, and it was covered by both ABC (where he was heard saying we should all come together to solve real problems) and NBC TV.

I immediately called Martin after the event and encouraged him to go farther and start directly reaching out to other media agencies promoting that he was a “good story.” Martin got on a major radio show well known in South Carolina within a day. Martin did excellent on this radio program, partly because he is a school teacher with years of experience in explaining difficult ideas to young minds, and party because we had previously discussed the issues in our states so thoroughly.

That is why I responded to this earlier Abbeville Institute article that theorized that maybe California liberals would be willing to recognize commonality with conservatives and work together. I am happy to report that the prophesy has come true for America. A South Carolina secessionist group is working publicly with the “Calexit” movement, and they are already gaining success.

In that same article, James Ronald Kennedy wrote that “Perhaps Calexit will provide ideologues of both left and right an occasion to stop to consider the possibility of the mutual benefits of nullification and secession—it is certainly better than the alternative of a new Civil War.” I am thankful that the Abbeville Institute provided a forum where this type of discussion was possible. The organization has been a valuable educational resource for those interested in the original Constitution and the Southern political tradition. For Americans everywhere that care about liberty and personal responsibility, the Abbeville Institute’s educational mission is helping build peaceful bridges and reconciliation. Isn’t that better than name calling and violence?

Marcus Ruiz Evans

Marcus Ruiz Evans is the founder of the CalExit movement in California.

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