I don’t know who thought of the scheme that allows citizens to petition the Federal government to allow their state to withdraw from the Union. But whoever it was sure came up with a dandy way to get a lot of good patriots spinning their wheels, wasting their time and pouring a bunch of money down the drain.
On the surface, the pitch sounds pretty appealing. Anyone who can get 150 signatures on a petition can put it on the White House website We the People. The website promises: “If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.” What qualifies as “enough support”? A minimum of 25,000 signatures.
Thus far, petitions to allow a state to secede from the union have come from all 50 States. Texas is leading the tally, with 118,430 signatures submitted as of December 3. But six other States have also passed the 25,000 test: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
As far as I can determine, the White House hasn’t issued an “official response” to any of them. As of this writing, there are 146 petitions on the website. Some 66 of them are requests for secession. (Yes, some lucky States have more than one.) And while the White House says it has responded to 82 petitions, none of the secession ones have made the list. It seems there’s a little avoidance going on.
It’s hard to quarrel with some of the assertions made in the various petitions. Consider this from the one from Texas:
“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.”
Of course, not everyone in Texas wants to be part of the secession movement. A group from El Paso, Texas, has submitted a petition that would allow the city to secede from the State. “El Paso is tired of being a second-class city within Texas,” the petition declares.
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Chip Wood (photo)