Malcontents Move to Secede from the U.S.
By Phillip Johnson
Special to the NNPA from the District Chronicles
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – On November 6, the people of the United States spoke. They want Barack Hussein Obama as their president for another four years. But that has not deterred conservatives from showing their utter contempt of electoral politics – unless, of course, it results in their liking.
Days following the national elections, discontented conservatives mounted secession from the United States petitions, right on the White House Web site, “We the People.” Residents in every states except Vermont have submitted online petitions to the web site.
All this has gotten Don Wolfenberger, scholar and former Congressional program director at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, pondering on this secession fever.
“I had a conversation my professor during my undergraduate years and I asked him can states secede from the Union?” Wolfenberger remembered. “No,” Wolfenberger’s professor retorted. “That was settled by the Civil War. They cannot.”
“So then I asked him a question, ‘Could the federal government kick a state out, if it wanted to? Could it expel a state?” Wolfenberger persisted. “’Well, I’ll have to get back to you’ and he never got back to me.”
The web site “We the People” sees itself as a vehicle for giving all Americans a way to engage their government on issues that matter to them, including whether to stay in the Union. The site encourages citizens to start any petitions they so desire.
But the petitions have a threshold of 25,000 signatures within 30 days to be considered for review. Across the South and in several battleground states petitions have more than exceeded that minimum. Texas holds the record with more than 100,000 signatures so far. President Obama’s administration has promised to review all petitions that have at least 25,000 signatures.
Anti-secession advocates started on November 12 with a tongue-in-cheek petition asking the president to deport everyone who signs a petition for their state to secede, if their petition is accepted. More than 25,000 people have signed.
Another anti-secession petition asks the president to strip secession petitioners of their citizenship. It reads:
“Mr. President, please sign an executive order such that each American citizen who signed a petition from any state to secede from the USA shall have their citizenship striped and be peacefully deported.”
A White House official has promised every petition that meets the signature threshold will be reviewed and given a response. But the most that experts say petitioners will receive is a polite email from the White House.
Secession sentiments are not new in American politics. The League of the South, formed 1994, is one of the major organizations behind the current effort. Jeffrey Murrah, president of the League of the South and head of its Texas chapter, said in a recent phone interview that the Texas chapter “wanted to advance the cultural, social and political wellbeing and independence of Southern people by all honorable means.”
Murrah said, “In terms of Texas, we’ve got some unique situations. One, it’s gonna be important to overcome a dependency mindset because many people have this mindset, in which they look to the federal government as the answer to all their problems.
“Two, we’ve got to find a workable arrangement to find some path to citizenship because, unlike a lot of the other states advocating for secession, here in Texas we do have to deal with a plurality of cultures and have to deal with the immigration problems. We’re here on the border and it’s a real concern. And although people talk about deportation, deportation is not always the answer. We’ve got to find something that’s workable.”
Murrah said recent secessions are not necessarily motivated by frustrations or anger with Obama’s reelection. Rather it’s about “disregard” for the will of the people in the Southern states, dating back to the Clinton and Bush presidencies.
Murrah sees no problem with Texas surviving as an independent state, noting that Texas pays the United States $2.738 trillion in taxes, but receives $2.348 trillion.
Still, Wolfenberger sees no chance of anything coming out of the petitions. He agrees with the governors of a vast majority of the states in which these petitions have been filed in saying, “It’s a side show.”