Ah, the beauty of America, a country where the Obama White House created an online process to petition the government for changes—and where residents of at least 31 states have started petition drives to secede from the United States after President Obama’s reelection triumph.
This is truly democracy at work: Giving the citizenry the power to entertain any idea it wishes—no matter how ridiculous or irrational.
It is noteworthy to assess the difference between how Democrats and Republicans deal with crushing defeat. In 2000, even though Al Gore had more popular votes, George W. Bush won the presidency only after the Supreme Court handed it to him, allowing Florida’s highest court to order the state of Florida to stop counting ballots. Yet Democrats accepted their fate, however bitterly, and resolved to work harder to beat him the next time—though they narrowly lost again with John Kerry in 2004.
Republicans have lost twice in a row, both times quite handily, yet we are getting talk of secession all over the union. It is instructive to consider how Republicans might have responded had either the 2008 or 2012 election been ultimately decided by a Supreme Court decision—there likely would have been widespread calls to abolish the court system, or burn Washington to the ground.
Since the White House “We the People” program gives any citizen the power to start a petition drive, any disgruntled Republican in any state has the ability to embarrass his or her state with impractical calls to secede from the U.S. As might be expected, the state of Texas leads the pack on the White House site. As of 8:45 this morning, the site had 62,630 signatures. This is far more than the 25,000 signatures needed to elicit an official response from the U.S. government. The signatures on the Texas petition mean that some unfortunate White House official will now have to craft a response from the Obama administration, as explained in the following statement:
“The right to petition your government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. We the People provides a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. We created We the People because we want to hear from you. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.”
Texas has a rich history of secession talk—though, to be fair, all the states of the South, also formerly known as the Confederacy, have much to be proud of in this regard, since they actually acted on their secession threats. Texas officially voted to secede from the Union in 1861. One expects the results will be different this time.
This is how the Texas petition describes its reasoning behind secession:
“The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.”
Louisiana also passed the 25,000 threshold with 27,028 signatures. Behind Texas and Louisiana, the other leading secession threats are:
South Carolina, 13,888
Tennessee, 17, 356
North Carolina, 16,794
In addition to Georgia’s 17,807 signatures, there is another petition for the state of “georgia” to secede that has 9,000 signatures. Unfortunately the creator of this petition apparently didn’t realize the state is spelled with a capital letter—though we have gotten word that the Georgia school system next week will be introducing alphabetic capitalization to the curriculum to correct these problems in the future. No word from the White House on whether it will add the Georgia and georgia petitions together, which would give the Peach State enough for its own White House response.
By the way, one should not think that only red states won by Romney have gotten significant signatures on their petitions. For instance, the state of New York might be proud to know it has a combined 14,000 or so signatures on two separate petitions—it would be just like New York to be too impatient to scroll down to the bottom of the list to see that there was already a New York petition drive before starting a second one.