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When You Can’t Lead, Secede!

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For the record, if Americans really want to have reasoned, intelligible discourse on politics the words secession or secede should never reach the open air. The idea that a state can, by request or otherwise, separate itself from the rest of the country is the stuff of Civil War reenactments, those fictional scenarios where groups of people pretend for hours that the issue wasn’t decided nearly 150 years ago. You would think that after electing the first African American to a second term as president, the country would have grown up enough to leave the antebellum south to the history textbooks and Margaret Mitchell, but in our way we keep it real until it’s gone wrong. Not a full week after Barack Obama’s reelection to the presidency, petitions from California to New York have surfaced, asking his administration to allow their state to separate and form a new government of its own. The number of states with open petitions and the volume of petitioners sheds light on the depth of America’s political divide around its president, while proving that many Americans still aren’t mature enough for a seat at the adult table. 

So Who Wants To Leave?

According to WhiteHouse.gov’s list of open petitions, requests for separation to form their own government and/or country have come from: Oregon, California, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, Alaska and South Carolina. That’s thirty one states total. The map below shows how many signatures each petition has thus far:

Based on results from the recent presidential race, the states whose electoral votes went Republican are shown in red and electoral voters that went Democrat are shown in blue. It comes as no surprise that there’s an overwheliming number of red states with signers in the tens of thousands and counting. Texas, Louisiana and Georgia have more signers than every other Democratic state combined and if we count the total number of signers, Republican states come out with 279,073 versus 94,740 in Democratic states.

Both Oklahoma and Missouri actually have two petitions going at the same time! The petitions themselves read near-identically across the board asking the president to, “Peacefully grant the State of _____ to withdraw from The United States of America to form its own new government”. If you click to read the details of the petitions, all cite the same passages from the Declaration of Independence as if to say, “we don’t like this direction so instead of using the legally-based political tools at our disposal, we’ll just leave instead”. 

As Your Attorney I’d Advise…

If you just so happen to be a signer of a petition or are thinking about signing one, here’s a few things to keep in mind. 

  1. The president will never allow your state to leave the Union. 
  2. Neither he nor Congress have the legal authority to sever your state from the rest of the nation
  3. The Supreme Court already ruled that states cannot secede from the United States 
  4. The Declaration of Independence is a philosophical treatise, not a law 
  5. The Civil War is over, African Americans are people, can vote, use the same water fountains, and be elected president, especially with scores of good ideas for improving the country and a J.D. from Harvard Law. 

What’s most disturbing about this isn’t the number of people who signed or even the states petitions have come from, it’s the fact that nearly 375,000 Americans (and counting) think that the best choice for their future is leaving their country altogether. Forget about that nice, legal vehicle of political expression called voting or the fact that the current administration is on the last four year term it can ever serve. No let’s just leave the nation. After all that really worked out well for those eleven states 150 years ago who left the union and experienced four years of war, starvation, riots and hyper-inflation. 

Secession isn’t a political statement, it’s a temper tantrum. If you’re that disappointed or infuriated at the way the election panned out there are thousands of ways to get your views across. You can join a PAC or go work at Goldman Sachs and donate your egregious bonus to the candidate you think best represents your issues. What you shouldn’t do is complain to the president that because you don’t like him or his policies, you want his permission to leave the country he’s there to lead. Disagreement is perfectly fine, even legally protected, but to think that divorce from the union is an option, much less a good option, is just juvenile. Silly rabbits, secession is for kids, because real adults vote.  

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About Alexander J Smith III

  • Dr Dreadful

    I don’t know about Japan and sake, but if one drinks rum while riding a high speed train in Venezuela, is that fermented socialism?

  • Pablo, ’twas I that deleted remarks by both you and Alexander as the petulance of them was too much to tolerate, so blame me if you must blame anyone.

    Whilst it is true that Alexander could have contacted the Doc or me, he in fact didn’t and, even if he had, the action I would have taken or not taken would have been the same.

    Furthermore, anybody, including you, is free to contact me for clarification as to whether any particular comments should be allowed to stand or not, so if you ever feel the need, feel free.

    We don’t do things just because somebody asks us to and frequently annoy writers, editors and commenters by not doing what they ask of us. Such is the life of a comments editor – woe, woe and thrice woe!

  • Deano

    The bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto was nice…we formented socialism all the way down with cheap suntory whisky and sake!

  • pablo

    The fact of the matter is Dread that my comment was removed. I realize that Alexander does not have the capacity to remove a post, I am also aware that he could have brought it to your attention, and then you deleted it.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clearly George Will has never ridden on a high speed train in his life.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    A watercolor of a daisy is obviously a left-wing liberal attempt to turn our children gay! That’s every bit as obvious as the left-wing liberal attempt to foment socialism in America by pushing high-speed rail, as George Will so effectively pointed out:

    To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they – unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted – are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

    Time was, the progressive cry was “Workers of the world unite!” or “Power to the people!” Now it is less resonant: “All aboard!”

  • Alexander J Smith III

    Lol I could believe that!

  • Dr Dreadful

    Pablo, you know the comments policy. You also know that Blogcritics authors don’t have any say over what gets removed from their comments threads.

    Honestly, I reckon you could look at a watercolour of a daisy and see a conspiracy.

  • pablo

    Had me censored eh Alexander? Smooth move pal.

  • Alexander J Smith III

    Yeah, I must really love those banks I’m always saying we should regulate, and those corporations I’m always saying should have higher taxes and more regulations, and the military whose budget I’ve said we should cut lol.

  • pablo

    Another lame article by Alexander. Here is a great clip on the right to secede by Ron Paul.

    Ron Paul on secession

  • Ob Am, way to go on largely missing the point.

    Doc, I wouldn’t move to your adopted homeland anyway unless they roll back at least 10 or 20 years of bad law, but if I did I wouldn’t move to Chicago just because of the weather there.

  • Baronius

    “If conservatives are going to mock the disappointed who want to flee the country after an election loss, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing now?…Because we lost a couple of elections and gained an ObamaCare we’re going to grab our marbles and crybaby all the way home to Texahomastan?”

    Secession: A Confederacy of Dunces Play Into Media’s Hands by John Nolte

  • Dr Dreadful

    So, assuming both Doug’s and Glenn’s sources are accurate, it would appear that Texas is absolute shite at putting people through school but excels at educating the kids who actually do make it.

    Wonder what the disconnect is here?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Pointing out DC as “proof of failure” of liberalism is nothing more than cherry-picking. What I pointed out about Texas is NOT cherry-picking because the problems that beset Texas are only examples of the situation all through the South.

    What you’re doing is focusing on inner-city problems, but you’re not stepping back and looking at the BIG picture.

    Read that long post again, at what I said was the REAL root of the problem – poverty…and Texas has the sixth-highest level of poverty in the nation.

    You listed educational statistics, but you did NOT provide a link. That’s why I always provide links – I have to be able to back up what I say. You didn’t do that.

    So let’s look at the educational attainment stats again – you give the excuse that Texas is rock bottom because of illegal immigration. I’ll agree that that’s PART of the problem, but it’s not the biggest part. And here’s why:

    Here’s the bottom fifteen states by percentage of population with a high-school diploma or higher:

    36 North Carolina 84.3%
    37 Arizona 84.2%
    38 Georgia 83.9%
    39 Nevada 83.9%
    40 South Carolina 83.6%
    41 Tennessee 83.1%
    42 New Mexico 82.8%
    43 West Virginia 82.8%
    44 Arkansas 82.4%
    45 Louisiana 82.2%
    46 Alabama 82.1%
    47 Kentucky 81.7%
    48 California 80.6%
    49 Mississippi 80.4%
    50 Texas 79.9%

    Only two of those fifteen are traditionally blue states (and NM is not all that blue)…and as you point out, illegal immigration could explain their problem. But can you really blame the low educational attainment in the other thirteen states (all red) on illegal immigration? No, you cannot.

    It is because of poverty, Baronius. Generally speaking, the more urban an area, the more the local population can afford the level of taxes that will support good educational opportunities for their kids. There are exceptions to the rule – DC is one such – but those are only EXCEPTIONS to the rule. Or do you think it’s merely a coincidence that all the best universities are in and around major metropolitan areas?

  • Doug Hunter


    Nice link. Every one of the top 10 states by illegal immigrants is in the bottom half in educational attainment by Glenn’s measure. If you consider college degrees it changes around and Texas moves near the middle and many of those other states move nearer the top.

    Education is a vast and complex topic. It’d be fun to explore your opinions on what percentage of the population should be having degrees at all? What is the ideal age to enter the workforce? How academically rigorous they should be? etc. etc. but unfortunately there are other pressing matters. Good day.

  • Doug Hunter

    It might be interesting to note, if you’re worried about your children’s education that by national test scores broken down by race Texas exceeds in virtually every category, white students do better than average, black students do better than average, and hispanic students do better than average. Unfortunately, in a trend that effects the entire country, red and blue, black and hispanic students lag behind when when you lump them all together it brings the overall average down as Texas is more diverse. Here’s the details for you:

    2009 4th Grade Math

    White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
    Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
    Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)

    2009 8th Grade Math

    White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)
    Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)
    Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)

    2009 4th Grade Reading

    White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)
    Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)
    Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)

    2009 8th Grade Reading

    White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)
    Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)
    Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)

    2009 4th Grade Science

    White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)
    Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)
    Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)

    2009 8th Grade Science

    White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)
    Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)
    Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)

    Texas exceeds the national average in all 18 categories and beats blue Wisconsin in 17 of 18. Shout out to the Texas teachers working their butts off for everyone in a very diverse state.

  • Dr Dreadful

    New York and New Jersey are both in the top 10 states by population of illegal immigrants. (So, for some reason, is Illinois.) Read into that what you will, but it’s not like they’re unaffected.

  • Doug Hunter


    Educational attainment is an interesting stat. I know a huge percentage of hispanic immigrants here do not have much formal education and the dropout rate for their kids is high too. Stick one of your precious northeastern states on the border with Mexico and see how long their stats hold up.

    Actually, DC about doubles everyone else in teen pregrancy but they’re not technically a state so they don’t count. Funny thing DC. Tons of government spending, so many government jobs they spill out and employ half of Maryland and Virginia on the sides, $30,0000 per student education spending, pure urban living without the backwards suburban and rural kids, and it’s still a dump. Should be the very definition of a liberal success story, but instead it’s the only thing standing between that other junkpile, Mississippi, and the bottom of the heap in virtually every category. If Mississippi is evidence of the failure of red policies, DC is the poster child for liberal failure (at least mississippi has the excuse that they’re poor and underfunded).

  • Dr Dreadful

    I’m with Obnox on Chicago. It’s a grand city to visit, and seems to be doing all right for itself, but is pretty screwy in many ways.

    For example, the big downtown hotels don’t have doormen stationed outside the front doors: they have cops. Not rent-a-cops: actual, bona fide officers of the Chicago PD. Guarding hotels.

    There’s something queasily disturbing about that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug (and Clavos) –

    What good parent would want to raise their kids in the state that is at the very bottom of the list of states by educational attainment of its population? AND it’s second only to Mississippi in live births to girls age 15-19? And – as I mentioned above – the sixth-worst poverty in the nation?

    Doug, I’d love the weather in Texas – I’ve always liked hot weather. I’d love the food even more (I love Tex-Mex and I’d gain way too much weight). But it would be very irresponsible for me to move my family where the educational level is the worst in the nation.

    And you said:

    The problem with your pet theory is that it’s not red state versus blue state it’s blue city versus red suburbs and rural. Every rotten core of every major city with poverty and crime through the roof votes overwhelmingly democratic. Texas has two cities in the top four by lowest murder rate (two of those four actually went for Romney, bucking the trend of city voting). Obama wins all of the top murdering cities while polling 70%+ in most. Romney was competitive and even won in the cities with the lowest murder rates. Republicans must not be as keen on shooting each other as democrats.

    REALLY? Then why is it that the mostly non-urban South has the highest murder rates in the nation? Here’s the murder rate by region and by state…and even a casual glance shows you that while there are a few blue states that have high murder rates, the worst half of the nation has many more red states than blue.

    In fact, Doug, that last reference shows New York as having a lower murder rate than Texas every year since 1996…and Texas is a MUCH more rural state than New York! That’s not a fluke, either – look again at all the mostly-rural Southern states that populate the highest quarter of the list of states by murder rate.

    To give you your due, the inner cities – regardless of state – are the most dangerous…BUT don’t make the mistake of assuming the suburbs are red, because every single one of the big cities have suburbs, and the suburbs in blue states are generally quite blue. But it’s those big cities that are the big drivers of finance…and you can’t have suburbs (and major universities and top-of-the-line hospitals) without big cities somewhere within driving distance. Can’t have one without the other, Doug.

    If you’ll do some research, you’ll find that it’s NOT ‘red state’ or ‘blue state’ that has the biggest influence on the murder rate, and it’s not ‘big city’ or ‘suburbs’, either – it’s POVERTY…and the Southern red states are generally the poorest, and thus have the highest violent crime rates. If you’ll look at this compilation of several lists of safest cities to live, you might notice that they all have one thing in common – they’re wealthy, which means they can afford to have the law-and-order, the education, and the comprehensive social services that make these cities safe places to live…and if you’ll look, even the “we-really-don’t-like-Obama” magazine Forbes listed New York City as one of the safest places to live.

    And one more thing, Doug – generally speaking, the more rural an area, the more conservative that area is, and the more urban an area, the more liberal that area is. There are some exceptions to the rule, but this generally holds true all over the world. In other words, blue states aren’t blue because we’re populated by liberals – we’re blue because we’re generally more urbanized. Red states are red not because you’re populated by conservatives – you’re red because you’re generally more rural. Again, there are exceptions…but the rule generally holds true. And one more thing – the ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ of this paragraph are compared to local norms…meaning that the general resident of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is very conservative compared to most Americans, but would be fairly liberal compared to those who live in the rural areas of Saudi Arabia.

    Just something for you to think about.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Chris, Good point. For example, I’d never move to Chicago because of it’s political climate. Same for California.

  • That said, reasons NOT to move somewhere can often be political.

    I wouldn’t move to anywhere in the United States because I think the legal and political processes are really messed up.

    The “land of the free” has a really aggressive legal system, too many bad laws, too many security organizations, too many police, way too high an incarceration rate, harsh punishments, including the death penalty (which is about revenge, not justice) and way too many lawyers for my liking.

    That is really depressing because it is only 20 years ago that the USA was one of my top 3 dream destinations; now it isn’t even in the top 10, even though I have a lot of friends and family there.

    Hopefully the pendulum will swing back.

  • Doug,

    Is it possible the reasons people move to Texas have nothing at all to do with politics?

    I’ve moved several times in my life and never once has the political makeup of the place I was moving to been a consideration.

    Other factors such as the weather, the social and employment potential, where friends and family are or even just a sense of adventure are far more important, particularly when moving within a country.

    Trying to understand life choices through a political lenses is to completely misunderstand both life and politics.

  • Zingzing

    At your accountant’s, clavos, duh… Don’t tell me you haven’t been taking advantage, because that would be downright stupid and unAmerican of you. Nice try, clavos… You get entitlements, but they’re the ones you like, because they’re your entitlements.

  • Clavos

    The hell with secession, where do I sign up for entitlements?

  • Clavos

    So you can keep Texas, Doug. I really have no desire to live there.

    Lucky you, Doug!

  • Doug Hunter

    Wouldn’t try and sell you on the place, we got enough liberals moving in as is. People vote with their feet and they evidently like it better here than most places.

    What is your theory for the net migration away from blue states as you’ve made clear you believe them so far superior?

    The problem with your pet theory is that it’s not red state versus blue state it’s blue city versus red suburbs and rural. Every rotten core of every major city with poverty and crime through the roof votes overwhelmingly democratic. Texas has two cities in the top four by lowest murder rate (two of those four actually went for Romney, bucking the trend of city voting).

    Obama wins all of the top murdering cities while polling 70%+ in most. Romney was competitive and even won in the cities with the lowest murder rates. Republicans must not be as keen on shooting each other as democrats. We should take a poll in prison, see who inmates support, lol.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    There I agree with you. The talk itself is pointless but the implications of the talk underpin something much bigger. I don’t think that these sentiments are reflective of the GOP as a whole, it just so happens that a good number of the petitioners come from states whose electoral voters went the GOP’s way

  • The Obnoxious American

    Generally, I’d agree, secession talk is plainly idiotic. It is not without meaning, and indicative of the terrible job Obama has done as the president of not just red states, not just blue states… but I digress.

    This is a fringe movement, it’s not representative of the GOP as a whole, and I can probably find just as many left wing wackos that want a complete end to capitalism in favor of straight communism.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    Thanks for your comment!

    Notice that you left out the last part of that sentence which reveals what the issue is. It’s not the number, its the fact that people think that secession is a reasonable course of action.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Doug –

    Anyway, to the talk of getting rid of Texas. It is the second largest net contributor to the Feds, behind New York (9th per capita). Plus, judging by in country migration people love to come here. Wonder why they don’t love those liberal utopias they’re leaving? Anyways, if we left who would you blame for the massive poverty, sky high murder rates, and bottom feeding schools in your inner city vote farms… Detroit, Philadelphia, DC? You gotta keep us around as the scapegoat. If you want a red state go straight for the armpit of the country instead, cut out Mississippi.

    Your last sentence is the only correct one. There’s only a couple red states that paid more in federal taxes than they received – Texas and Florida – and neither one are near the top.

    Texas has the sixth-worst poverty in the nation.

    Texas is in the middle of the pack when it comes to the murder rate – New England states comprise most of the lowest

    41% of all Texas teachers have to have second jobs in order to make ends meet…and Texas is ROCK BOTTOM on the educational attainment list. I wonder if you see the obvious connection between the two.

    And Houston has a significantly higher violent crime rate and murder rate than New York City. So you can keep Texas, Doug. I really have no desire to live there.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    First, want to thank you for commenting.

    Second, you’re taking that bit of humor out of context, applying it to the sum of the piece. Civil War claims aside, the piece is about the idea that talk of secession isn’t a reasonable political position, something I repeat like 100 times lol. As I said before, I’m not saying people can’t feel contempt, but to talk about leaving the union is just blowing hot air and entirely useless conversation.

  • Baronius, secession talk is motivated by racism? Where do people get these ideas..?

    “Truth hurts don’t it you fucking n****** and n****** lovers.”

    “You’re missing the fantasy aspect of this, which is the idea that:
    1) the North voted for Obama because he’s half black
    2) the North loves N******.
    3) the North would accept a mass transfer of n******.”

    “Thirty-one states have filed for secession. Thirty-one! This N****** better clean up his act or else we’re going to be the Individual States of America.”

    “Elections have consequences, so does putting a n****** in office. I will admit, secession is a forlorn hope. However it would be great for the Red States to start a new nation.”

    I realize that the great majority of Republicans are not racist. Even so, we have seen rampant conservative race-baiting and pandering for the last 5 years, stirring fears and divisiveness to mobilize a base.

    Pretending that this never happened is just another reality check that will continue to hobble the GOP for years to come.

  • Ron Holland

    Secession petitions are good PR but bad politics. There is a way for states to legally and politically secede from the American union but it must be a state-by-state process established by constitutional secession conventions in each state.

  • Doug Hunter


    Romney didn’t win the election by any measure, that’s a silly statement. I think the secession talk is the frustration at the increasing polarization and unwieldy nature of a democracy of 300 million. The frustration is that 150.1 million can tell 149.9 million how to live, take their money, decide their values, and shape their future without their consent. You’d have the same problems with a democracy of 3 people though. You throw in geographical division and political polarization and you have a bitter electorate whomever loses (I feel for those who had to witness Bush win twice)

    It’s not even red state versus blue state, it’s blue inner city, purple burbs, and rural red almost everywhere you go. Unfortunately, we must all live under one almighty federal government with one set of rules no matter what our reality is.

  • Joan Smith

    The author of this article has no idea why there was a civil war. Nor do they understand the contempt people feel for the federal government.
    This is not a black/white thing. This is about the federal government over-spending, over-taxing, and over-stepping its authority. The states are granted rights in the constitution that the federal government and the bought and paid for supreme court are taking away little by little… when there is nothing left to take, we will all be slaves… and it won’t matter what color you are!!!!

  • Doug Hunter

    “What’s most disturbing about this isn’t the number of people… it’s the fact that nearly 375,000”


    Anyway, to the talk of getting rid of Texas. It is the second largest net contributor to the Feds, behind New York (9th per capita). Plus, judging by in country migration people love to come here. Wonder why they don’t love those liberal utopias they’re leaving? Anyways, if we left who would you blame for the massive poverty, sky high murder rates, and bottom feeding schools in your inner city vote farms… Detroit, Philadelphia, DC? You gotta keep us around as the scapegoat.

    If you want a red state go straight for the armpit of the country instead, cut out Mississippi.

  • Zingzing

    How’d he win the election, Cathy? Not by the rules we are governed by (the elctoral college, which you probably loved a dozen years ago), nor the popular vote… So how? Because you think he should have? Let’s all bow to cathy’s will, voting is for nancies.

  • cathy

    we are allowed to vote so we think this is a democracy. But our votes don’t matter, so why do we vote. Grow up people, our voting system is ignorant and unfair. Romney won the election. BO needs to leave.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Nothing secedes like Texas.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Y’know, since Puerto Rico just voted to become a state, if Texas leaves, we won’t even have to change the flag!

    And just think of how many conservatives would flock to Texas, and how many liberals would leave – I think it would be a fantastic way of allowing conservatives to demonstrate to themselves that governmental austerity simply doesn’t work in the modern world…

    …especially when the world is warming up and Texas is still trying to recover from an historic drought.

    So let them secede – please!

  • Baronius

    List of stupid things (incomplete):

    – racism
    – secession talk
    – the implication that any secession talk is motivated by racism

  • The racism of yesteryear has come full circle in our county. The entire world embraced our choice of a black President four years ago and most nations of the world still support him. The fringe elements of Republican sect have crept through into the mainstream once again with conservative mouthpieces planting the seeds of hate. The only doubt lies here at home rooting from bigotry. Watch the white hands paint Obama in Blackface.