Should this raise some at least semi-serious questions?
700,000 Americans petition the White House to secede from the US
In the one week since US President Barack Obama won his bid for re-election, representatives from all 50 states have filed petitions with the White House asking to secede from the United States. …
According to the White House’s own rules on the ‘We the People’ portal of the Executive Branch’s official website, a staffer from within the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will respond in a timely manner to any petition that can garner more than 25,000 signatures. As of … Nov. 14, pleads out of Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee have all crossed that threshold, with petitions from the rest of the country quickly accumulating enough signatures to soon require a reply as well.
According to The Hill, a “timely manner” is within 30 days.
More than 100 petitions have appeared at “We the People,” with residents of several states producing more than one appeal. States from which greatest numbers have signed include Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Montana.
Here’s an interesting factoid about the states from which residents have reached the number at which a response is promised (signatures continue to be added), from ABC News:
All the states petitioning to secede from the United States that obtained enough signatures to elicit a response from the White House — with the exception of Alabama — were some of the largest recipients of federal funding in 2010. …
The seven states – Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina – took more than 23 percent of all federal revenue allotted to the states that year.
Missouri also received $11 million and has collected more than 29,500 signatures, but the electronic votes are divided between two identical petitions, disqualifying the state from receiving a White House response.
It would be interesting to see the percentage of voters in each state who sign such petitions. That would be more revealing about how widespread the support is. Obviously none are going to be a serious attempt at secession. But if they were, and reading what some supporters say, I wonder if a good many of them wouldn’t change their minds, once they realized the consequences.
A number of governors have spoken out in opposition to the petition signers in the particular State of the “United” they govern.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (issued) … a statement through his press secretary rejecting the petition to separate from the US … .
‘I don’t think that’s a valid option for Tennessee,’ (Tennessee) Gov. Haslam (R) said on Tuesday … .
A spokesperson for the top official in Alabama issued a similar statement …, saying that ‘While there is frustration with the federal government, Governor Bentley believes that states can be great laboratories of change.’
The secession efforts are getting some ironic opposition. For example, from some residents of Austin, Texas, identified by Independent Voter Network as a “liberal pocket”:
Their respective petition is to ‘Peacefully grant the city of Austin, Texas to withdraw from the state of Texas and remain part of the United States.’ Citing differences with legislation imposed from more conservative regions of the state, their petition reads:
‘Austin, Texas continues to suffer difficulties stemming from the lack of civil, religious, and political freedoms imposed upon the city by less liberally minded Texans. … It is important for Austin to remain in the union as to do so would protect its citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers.’
Some Atlanta residents had the same response to the Georgia residents signing on to secede. No doubt Austin and Atlanta aren’t alone.
So, are there serious questions to ask about several thousand people in all 50 states signing secession petitions? I’d bet that not all who sign are particularly serious about it, but what does it say about the people who are serious, and what they’re thinking? What does it say about people who take those ‘secessionists’ opinions as accurately descriptive of an entire state’s population? What’s the relationship between support of secession, and those who proclaim before presidential elections: If the Other Guy wins, I’m moving to Canada? Or apparently this year, Australia was a favorite. But if all the people, Left and Right, who say they’ll move to Canada if Our Guy fails to win actually did, they might have enough numbers to petition their new national government for a little Province or Territory of their own, which they could subdivide into Red and Blue sections, and maybe avoid future notions to secede.
I do think the IVN article has this right:
Though the petitions may seem trivialized, these signatures magnify the division in American politics today.