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Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 in 2012 Elections, Featured, Politics | 27 comments

Secession Craziness (Really)

secedeUpdated: petitions from citizens in 49 states: 11:45 pm Pacific, 14 November

It’s the meme of week on Facebook: let’s secede from the union!

The Washington Times has reported that citizens have filed petitions on a White House website requesting that 23 states be allowed to secede. But the number is short. Almost every state has a petitioner.

And news media: the states are not petitioning the federal government to secede!

These petitions are from disgruntled citizens — and not necessarily disgruntled citizens of the state they vote to exit the union stage. These petitions have no legal legitimacy. But they could give the White House a black eye, depending on its response.

And respond, it must. At least for some of them.

When a petition reaches 25,000 signatures, the White House pledges a review and response. Given the boilerplate language, a boilerplate response could be appropriate. Most of the petitions are based on the language of the Louisiana petition, the first filed on Nov 9.

Peacefully grant the State of to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.

For the folks in Louisiana who kicked off this entertainment, secession isn’t an option is also a petition.

A Texan told the San Antonio Express-News

“It’s a tantrum. It has no value. No legitimacy,” Mac McDowell, 55, a San Antonio tea party member, said of the online petition.

“Secession worked out very poorly for everyone in the South the last time it was tried,” said McDowell, who emphasized he was speaking for himself, not the party.

Don’t let yourself fall into stereotypes. The states on this list are both “blue” and “red” (although I’ll give you three guesses – and the first two don’t count – as to which have passed 25K signatures) — which reflects the fact that no state is composed 100% of either party.

And then there are citizens of Austin who want to withdraw from Texas!

Petitions as a form of political protest – who’d a thunk?

Commentary, 2 pm Wednesday : folks, this is silly behavior that illustrates the worst synthesis of digital communication and mass media. Southern Beale says this best.

  1. Alabama (Nov 09, 2012 – passed 25K).
    The original petitioner is a 45-year-old man who once owned a topless car wash (yes, that means the women worked on the cars au naturale from the waist up).
  2. Alaska (Nov 10, 2012 – Matthew G) : Alaska (Nov 11, 2012 – Paul M)
  3. Arkansas (Nov 10, 2012)
  4. Arizona (Nov 10, 2012 – passed 25K)
  5. California (Nov 11, 2012)
  6. Colorado (Nov 10, 2012)
  7. Connecticut (Nov 12, 2012)
  8. Delaware (Nov 10, 2012)
  9. Florida (Nov 10, 2012 – passed 25K)
  10. Georgia (Nov 10, 2012 – Marbury M) : Georgia (Nov 10, 2012 – kyle. r) : Georgia (Nov 11, 2012 – Dan D)
  11. Hawaii (Nov 12, 2012)
  12. Idaho (Nov 11, 2012)
  13. Illinois (Nov 11, 2012 – Illinois R) : Illinois (Nov 11, 2012 – Chris H)
  14. Indiana (Nov 10, 2012)
  15. Iowa (Nov 11, 2012)
  16. Kansas (Nov 11, 2012)
  17. Kentucky (Nov 10, 2012)
  18. Louisiana (First to file: Nov 07, 2012 – passed 25K)
  19. Maine (Nov 12, 2012)
  20. Maryland (Nov 12, 2012)
  21. Massachusetts (Nov 12, 2012)
  22. Michigan (Nov 10, 2012)
  23. Minnesota (Nov 12, 2012)
  24. Mississippi (Nov 09, 2012)
  25. Missouri (Nov 10, 2012)
  26. Montana (Nov 10, 2012)
  27. Nebraska (Nov 12, 2012)
  28. Nevada (Nov 10, 2012)
  29. New Hampshire (Nov 11, 2012)
  30. New Jersey (Nov 10, 2012)
  31. New Mexico (Nov 11, 2012)
  32. New York (Nov 10, 2012)
  33. North Carolina – affirming statehood (Nov 13, 2012)
  34. North Dakota (Nov 10, 2012)
  35. Ohio (Nov 10, 2012 – Brian R) : Ohio (Nov 12, 2012 – Jeremy P)
  36. Oklahoma (Nov 10, 2012 – Matthew M) : Oklahoma (Nov 11, 2012 – david t)
  37. Oregon (Nov 10, 2012)
  38. Pennsylvania (Nov 11, 2012 – Karen G) : Pennsylvania (Nov 11, 2012 – Kathleen B)
  39. Rhode Island (Nov 10, 2012)
  40. South Carolina (Nov 10, 2012)
  41. South Dakota (Nov 11, 2012)
  42. Tennessee (Nov 10, 2012)
  43. Texas (Nov 09, 2012 – passed 25K)
  44. Utah (Nov 11, 2012)
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia (Nov 11, 2012 – Rick b) : Virginia (Nov 11, 2012 – Adrienne C) : Virginia (Nov 11, 2012 – Gary D)
  47. Washington (Nov 11, 2012 – Sean R) :
    Washington (Nov 13, 2012 – Dannah P)
  48. West Virginia (Nov 11, 2012)
  49. Wisconsin (Nov 11, 2012)
  50. Wyoming (Nov 12, 2012)
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  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    nekkid from the waist up. Quite a community leader.

  • zephyr

    Pretty funny stuff – especially Austin wanting to secede from TX. 😉

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Thanks for the humor,Kathy. I needed that this morning. 🙂

    As an Austinite who would like to secede from Texas, let me take the liberty to post the full Austin, Texas petition:


    Peacefully grant the city of Austin Texas to withdraw from the state of Texas & remain part of the United States.

    Austin Texas continues to suffer difficulties stemming from the lack of civil, religious, and political freedoms imposed upon the city by less liberally minded Texans. It is entirely feasible for Austin to operate as its own state, within the United States, in the event that Texas is successful in the current bid to secede. It is important for Austin to remain in the union as to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers.

    We would also like to annex Dublin Texas, Lockhart Texas, & Shiner Texas.

    Created: Nov 12, 2012


    I believe the reason to want to annex Lockhart must be their excellent BBQ; Shiner, of course for their beer; Dublin, I’ll have to look that up — perhaps the beautiful Irish ladies. 🙂

  • SteveK

    Those Austin folk always seemed to be a reasonable lot… at least the ones I’ve come to know.

    Regarding the whole secession silliness Bertrand Russell had its motivators and proponents pretty well pegged when he said, “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

  • Steve, when you delve into the research on information literacy, one theme keeps showing up – the lower your education level (formal or informal), the more likely you are to think you know everything there is to know; and the higher your level of education, the more likely you are to think there is so much you don’t know. I think that fully applies to the secessionists (that sounds so 19th century!). Although Mississippi has a petition, I haven’t heard anything about it locally, so it’s a well-kept bit of lunacy. If it did succeed, though, the first order of business would be replacing the 40% of our state budget that comes from the Federal government.

  • SteveK

    Well said Harry … Don’t think Samuel Johnson could have said it better. 🙂

    Deep down I suspect that all of us, both the educated (and as you say, it doesn’t have to be a formal education) and the uneducated, know this to be true.

  • slamfu

    Well Dorian, I think if you were to link up with TX state legislators who are working with redistricting you might actually have a shot at that 🙂 Seems like you guys might find some common ground.

  • Willwright

    Yes this is as nutty and silly as it gets. Let’s hope all the crazies out there can vent their anger on some meaningless petitions and then got back to more relatively harmless brain numbing from Rush or Fox News. Let’s hope there are very few who will carry this farther and that feel justified in the use of violence. If you take as least some of the rantings on the various far right web sites seriously then we should be concerned. I hope I am wrong but fear I might be right.

  • Rambie

    The 2012 revival of the 1861 hit musical, “How to Secede Without Really Trying” featuring the original cast!

    I thought the GOP was supposed to be the party of adults. What babies some of them are turning out to be.

  • slamfu

    Well Rambie, while I’m sure a good portion of these upset seccessionists are GOP, the group as a whole represents a pretty small percentage of the state populations. Frankly I’m pretty sure I could get 25k signatures from the internet for just about anything. Hardly what I would call a litmus test for condemning an entire party. We have several of those already, but this isn’t one of them. Its kinda cute really. AW … WHO’S A BIG SELF SUFFICIENT INDEPENDENT REBEL!! YOU ARE, YES YOU ARE!!

    As far as being the party of adults, these are the people that brought us “Freedom Fries”.

  • Rambie

    Slam, I did use the work “some” not “many” or “all”.

  • slamfu

    True, my bad 🙂

  • I don’t know whether to be amused or dismayed. If the petitions were filed by people who genuinely think secession is not only possible but necessary – then the latter. Read the article about the guy from Alabama and feel dismay. :-/

    I was struck by the fact that Alaska doesn’t appear to have citizens throwing in with this group. Maybe they do, now.

    I don’t think these folks are Republican. I think they are Tea Partiers.

  • Steve – thanks for the Bertrand Russell quote! Dorien, I didn’t realize you live in Austin – heck, we could had a beer when I was there for SxSW earlier this year! Dr E – thanks for taking care of that.

    Harry – do you have any citations for me re info literacy and your observation?

  • Kathy – this was one of the primary sources, for the “less educated” end of the scale:

    I’ll have to dig back a little deeper for others

  • d

    The racism of yesteryear has come full circle in our county. The entire world embraced our choice of a black President four years ago and most nations of the world still support him. The fringe elements of Republican sect have crept through into the mainstream once again with conservative mouthpieces planting the seeds of hate. The only doubt lies here at home rooting from bigotry. Watch the white hands paint Obama in Blackface at

  • slamfu

    Harry, neat article. Seems a fancy way of saying “you can’t fix stupid” if you really boil it down though 🙂

    The part about incompetent people having no clue they are incompetent rings strongly with me. Having done I don’t know how many reviews of employees, the self reviews are always the most humorous. The people with the biggest issues always seem to rate themselves extremely highly in the very areas they are most deficient. Anecdotal for sure, but that opening section had me smiling.

  • slamfu

    If you thought the Tea Party was crazy, wait until they roll out The Succession Party(tm)!

  • StockBoyLA

    So these people yakking for succession… aren’t they also the ones who believe in following the US Constitution and democracy?

    Also just think what they’d be saying if Obama had lost the popular vote and won the electoral vote.

  • zephyr

    I don’t know whether to be amused or dismayed.

    I only choose amusement because the prospect of so many stupid people causes anxiety.

  • ordinarysparrow

    dear Texas…It is okay, you can go….

    Land of my birth…it is time to let you go like a butterfly.If you come back we will be forced to have serious negotiations and citizen re-education… and …. If you don’t, it was never meant to be.

    Terms for Texas Secession….Remember ‘if you are not for us we are against yall’? Sorry about that….

    A. We will immediately establish a No-Fly Zone around your country.
    B. We will also need to build an electrified security fence around all borders to keep you in.
    C. We will keep all port area.
    D. All nuclear power plants must be shut down immediately just in case you go ‘nuclar’.
    E. We will not send any agreement to extradite our citizens in case of criminal behavior.
    F. Austin will remain in the United States of America.
    G. Willie Nelson and all jackrabbits must be afforded safe passage from Texas.
    H. All Aggies will be allowed to immigrate for we remember what General Patton said, ” Give me an army of West Point graduates and I’ll win a battle. Give me a handful of Texas Aggies, and I’ll win the war.”
    I. A new Texas holiday will be in effect starting the day of secession to honor the wisdom of Sam Houston. ” All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men.” Surely, Sam saw this day coming…
    J. In case you stir up another war, please do not call us to bail you out….

  • A) where were these .. when Bush was fighting two undeclared wars, one built on false pretenses; reinstated the U.S. as a torture state; acted with fiscal and regulatory responsibility; and allowed a great American city to fall? And now they’re upset because a black man wants to help all Americans get health care?

    B) somewhere in an old thread I made a call for an NNDB: National Nutbag Data Base. Sounds like we have one, and it’s voluntary & public! Check for your neighbors, and if the number crosses your “comfort threshold”, well, you may want to make sure you’re enjoying your 2nd Amendment rights.

  • Sparrow,

    Thank you for remembering the jackrabbits. My friends among them will always regard you kindly for not forgetting.

    For myself, it would be a sadness to see Texas go. My first “love”, at 14, was from Bandera, too far from Austin to remain with us [or US as the case may be].

    Smiling with your comment and with those of many others. 🙂


  • ordinarysparrow

    Thanks Tidbits…have always loved those long ears…. many times in the pasture on horse or foot, they would hide in the sagebrush then out of nowhere would vault to head high…. always such a good scare followed by a good laugh…they were so plentiful as a child, but i hear they have really thinned out about the time Bush took office… go figure….they probably left with just cause…

  • bluebelle

    I have to admit that I’ve gotten a lot of laughs out of these petitions. First the numbers. Well at first they do look alarming–but I actually went on the site and saw that in the two cases I checked, Connecticut and New Mexico, less than 1/10 of the signatories were actually living in the state that they wanted to secede. So, even if they get to 25,000–it really wouldn’t be valid picture of what state residents want.
    Also, many of these malcontents seem to be signing all 50 of them to get them over the 25,000 threshold.
    As many have noted on here, its tempting to just chuck ’em out with a few ground rules and let them sink or swim. Interestingly, the governors of these states are just ignoring all the fuss, except for Perry, Bentley and Haley, who seem to be sort of horrified.

  • bluebelle

    Ordinary Sparrow, your stated terms of severance with the Union gave me a good laugh

  • While we find this humerous; (one Texan friend said that if he’d have to serve the militia, he could only do it on weeknights and Sundays except during football season and would need to be home in time for Conan) but the fact remains: this nation’s people are dividing.
    Why are we ignoring so many warning signs? ANY unifying site or writer needs to promote each other—now. Much like The Moderate Voice, has dedicated a page to promote this website and others. Any additions would be appreciated.
    Somewhere, somehow, we must begin to build on common ground. The Moderate Voice is great and it’s one of the bigger unifying sites but it’s not enough. We MUST band together.

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