Houston, we have a problem: more than 70,000 people have signed a petition on the website of the White House asking for Texas to secede from the United States.
Less than a day after RT first reported that a petition demanding the secession of The Lone Star State from the US was on track to cross the 25,000 signature threshold to warrant an official response, the tally of people requesting the speedy removal of Texas from the United States tripled, going from 21,777 signees to 72,861 in under 24 hours.
The Texas petition was published on the White House’s official website on November 9, but wasn’t the first to ask for secession. While the request from the oil-rich home of the Alamo was published just two days after Pres. Obama was declared victorious in his quest for re-election, Louisiana was the first state to ask for an exit from the union on WhiteHouse.gov, just hours after ballots were tallied on Nov. 6. By the end of that weekend, Texas and 18 other locales had created copycat petitions of their own, although the Lone Star State is by and large the first to cross the 25,000 signature threshold.
According to the rules on WhiteHous.gov, now either US President Barack Obama or a member of his administration or staff will be required to address the overwhelming number of votes to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”
The next step, according to a guide posted on the executive office’s website, will be a full review followed by a response.
“The White House will convene a regular meeting with representatives from all of the major policy offices (like the National Economic Council, Domestic Policy Council and others) that will review petitions that have crossed the signature threshold for a response. This group will help determine which policy office in the White House or federal agency should review and respond to petitions and ensure that petition responses are posted as quickly as possible.”
Commenting to the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday, a White House rep says “every petition that crosses the threshold receives a response,” but that the number of other petitions online will impact how long it will take to deliver an answer.
In the original secession request published last week out of Louisiana, the petition’s author, “Michael E” of Sidell, LA, quoted the opening line of the Declaration of Independence, the eighteenth-century proclamation that announced the liberation of the United States from Britain. Citing the sentiments of their forefathers, Michael wrote, "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.”
In the case of Texas, that petition’s author was a bit more specific about grievances that were unimaginable during 1700s. Micah H. of Arlington, TX writes in his state’s petition that “The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending,” adding that “The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights,” citing specifically the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as catalysts in the erosion of civil liberties. “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 it's [sic] 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.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a one-time contender in this year’s race to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, rejected the petition in a statement relayed by his staff Monday afternoon.
“Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it,” Catherine Frazier, a press secretary for the governor, told the Dallas Morning News. “But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government. Now more than ever our country needs strong leadership from states like Texas, that are making tough decisions to live within their means, keep taxes low and provide opportunities to job creators so their citizens can provide for their families and prosper. We cannot allow Washington’s tax and spend, one-size-fits-all mindset to jeopardize our children’s future, undermine our personal liberties and drive our nation down a dangerous path to greater dependence of government.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Florida is slated to be the next state to cross the 25,000 signature threshold, falling just shy of 3,000 votes needed to warrant a response. Since all petitions on WhiteHouse.gov have 30 days to cross that mark, though, the Sunshine State and more than a dozen others are likely to receive a reply from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the coming weeks.
Another petition asking President Obama to “Strip the Citizenship from Everyone who Signed a Petition to Secede and Exile Them” has so far received 1,754 signatures.