By Sarah Eckrich
We all remember the Civil War from history class: Lincoln got elected and pissed off slave owning states who, in turn, formed a new government and seceded from the Union. That was December of 1860. Now, 152 years later, some citizens from every state have petitioned to secede again. This is allegedly based on the results of the recent presidential election, though the text of their petitions is far too vague to support that claim. There are also claims that President Obama believes at least some of these states are expendable, but these mostly come from the paranoid and fact-less.
The White House has a “We the People” program, available at its website, where any citizen can start a petition about anything. Petitions have one month to get 25,000 signatures, and if they do so the Obama administration will review them and issue a response. So yes, if you were starting to add this up in your head and you’re finding that this seems like nothing more than a hollow gesture by angsty states wishing to show dissatisfaction with the government, you’re right.
Likewise, some citizens have started petitions to exile signers of these petitions and strip them of citizenship. It is highly likely that none of these petitions are being taken too seriously. Realistically, various administrators in the government are probably giggling at them the same way a parent giggles at a six year old who wants to wear his/her Halloween costume to school in April.
To begin with, these petitions are just petitions, like those required to qualify to run for school government. Any bozo on the street with Internet access can file one, and they don’t amount to any real legal action. The 25,000 signature requirement also grossly misrepresents state populations. Texas has one of the most signed petitions, yet those numbers represent only about 0.2% of its population. Furthermore, their own governor has denounced the request to secede, but who cares what Rick Perry thinks anyway? Austin has even started its own petition to remain part of the US if their state secedes.
What’s going to happen is that the Obama administration is going to submit some kind of response and everyone will chat and the whole thing will blow over in no time. I won’t be convinced anyone is serious until I see these states writing their own declarations of independence. They’re all just complaining about a state of government that none of us is 100% satisfied with.
I say grow up. If you don’t like it here, move somewhere else. We’ve been doing this since 1776 and, all things considered, we aren’t doing such a bad job.
I’ve got my qualms, too, but I’m not starting a “make Sarah’s apartment its own nation” petition.
Sarah Eckrich is a sophomore majoring in English Writing and minoring in Environmental Studies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.