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Nearly half of the US threatens to secede

Published time: November 12, 2012 19:55
Edited time: November 12, 2012 23:55
Reuters / Chris Keane

Reuters / Chris Keane

As the saying goes: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Some Americans upset with the results of Election Day don’t quite agree, and now residents from 20 states have filed petitions with the White House to secede from the country.

Louisiana became the first of the (as of now) 50 united states that managed to collect enough signatures to have their petition for secession added to the White House’s website last week, and so far they’ve had no problem finding company. A petition asking for the government to “Peacefully grant the State of Louisiana to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government” garnered more than 14,000 signatures since going live on November 7, and so far 19 other states have managed to attract similar success.

According to the terms of participation on WhiteHouse.gov, the website for the executive branch of the United States will make any petition searchable if it can collect 150 signatures within one months’ time, and collecting 25,000 signatures will necessitate an official response. So far Texas seems to be in the running to be the first state to receive a response from the commander-in-chief, with 21,777 signees asking for secession since their petition went live on November 9, barely 48 hours after US President Barack Obama claimed a victory in his bid for re-election.

In all, 20 states have so far broken the 150 signature threshold, mostly sticking closely to the script included in the first petition published by “Michael E” of Slidell, LA, who quotes the Declaration of Independence in his plea to once again separate the public from a power that, according to thousands of residents, doesn’t represent what is best for the people anymore.

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation,” Michael writes. "…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government…"

In the case of Florida, where 6,271 signees have added their names between November 10 and November 12, the creator called on a quip from founding father Benjamin Franklin to explain his motives, quoting him as saying, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

“Scott E” of Columbia Falls, MT also quoted Mr. Franklin in creating a petition that asks for the peaceful secession of Montana, adding that residents there “do see that in today's world the Federal Government has not led our citizens justly and with honor.” In just two days, that petition has been signed more than 4,000 times.

In the Lone Star State, only 3,000 or so Texans are needed to cross that 25,000 threshold. According to their petition started by Arlington, TX’s “Micah E,” “The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending.”

“Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and 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 which are no longer being reflected by the federal government,” he writes, adding that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have blatantly abused the civil rights of Texans and other Americans, and cessation could be the only solution.

Should the threats of secession materialize past a flash in the pan on the White House’s website, the United States is likely to have a new addition sooner or later anyway. On Nov. 6, voters in Puerto Rico elected to petition US Congress for statehood, putting them on track to perhaps becoming the fifty-first member of the union.

The states that have so far accumulated more than 150 signatures on WhiteHouse.gov include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas. Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina have all crossed the 150 mark on two separate petitions posted online.