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.
- The president will never allow your state to leave the Union.
- Neither he nor Congress have the legal authority to sever your state from the rest of the nation
- The Supreme Court already ruled that states cannot secede from the United States
- The Declaration of Independence is a philosophical treatise, not a law
- 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.