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700,000 Americans petition the White House to secede from the US

Published time: November 14, 2012 17:58
Edited time: November 14, 2012 21:58
The White House (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

The White House (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

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.

Just seven days after a citizen of Louisiana asked for the state’s peaceful secession from the rest of the country, hundreds of thousands of electronic signatures from around the United States have been submitted to WhiteHouse.gov for review as Americans from all corners of the country ask the president to grant them amicable separation from the union.

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 the morning 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.

In almost every case, signees say that the time has come to do something about the state of the union.

Using bureaucratic means to “bypass the will of the people” is a complaint that 1,758 people as of this writing say is reason enough to separate Virginia from the current rule of the US in one petition; elsewhere on the site, a separate petition also calling for that state’s secession has received more than triple the signatures, with residents agreeing with an interpretation of the Declaration of Independence that decries, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.”

Browsing the more than 100 petitions currently open on WhiteHouse.gov, it’s easy to see that those sentiments expressed by the country’s forefathers are evident with many Americans today: almost all of the petitions from each of the 50 states cite the Revolution War-era doctrine to detail the necessary of separation.

In Texas, over 97,000 signees agree that secession is necessary, especially given what’s described as a rampant mismanagement of the country’s operation by means of the “federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending.” Elsewhere in the explanation for their request to “withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government,” citizens of the Lone Star State say, “The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights,” specifically calling into question the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). Several states have already repealed on local levels the NDAA and its provision that gives the president the authority to indefinitely detain US citizens without charge or trial, and next year lawmakers in Texas are expected to weigh in on a proposal to ban that legislation and another that will outlaw the procedures regularly used by TSA agents. With more and more Texans demanding secession, though — and hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country demanding separation from the United States in other petitions — locally-binding legislation might not be enough to keep citizens from standing up and voicing their opposition off the Web.

In an editorial published this week in the Daily Caller, author Bob Smiley says that even if the demands of nearly 100,000 rebels from Texas aren’t being taken seriously in Washington, all that could very well change.

“No doubt Texas’s desire to break free is a source of amusement inside a White House that has mastered the art of belittling the opinions of its challengers, but there is one not-so-small problem here: Texas could pull it off,” Smiley writes. “Texas currently sits on one-quarter of the nation’s oil reserves and one-third of the nation’s natural gas reserves. Even more, fully 95 percent of the country receives its oil and gas courtesy of pipelines that originate within Texas. This is what one might call leverage,” he explains.

As if oil wasn’t enough reason for a civil war to start up, Smiley says there is more than just that though. He cites the Texas’ economy as building up faster than any other state’s, and writes that it is also the only one to have its own power grid. Also, of course, is the fact that historically speaking, Texas has followed through with its threats to secede twice before: once while under Mexican rule and again when it joined the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has already issued a statement through his press secretary rejecting the petition to separate from the US, but tens of thousands of new signees have added their names to the plea in only the two days since he was prompted to respond. By Tuesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was driven to issue a response after a petition aimed at “Helping the people of Tennessee” by seceding crossed the 25,000 threshold as well.

"I don’t think that’s a valid option for Tennessee," Gov. Haslam (R) said on Tuesday, the Tennessean reports. "I don’t think we’ll be seceding."

A spokesperson for the top official in Alabama issued a similar statement to AL.com on Tuesday, saying that “While there is frustration with the federal government, Governor Bentley believes that states can be great laboratories of change.”

As signatures pile up though, responses from state leaders and eventually the president might be the only answer that’ll address those grievances as they amount exponentially. By noontime on Wednesday,

703,326 Americans have signed their names to the petitions — a substantial figure but still less than one percent of the country’s population