Union Dissolved

Since Obama won reelection a week ago, the White House website has been flooded with petitions from citizens in various states wanting their states to secede from the union.  It is important to note that these are not official petitions by the state governments but rather petitions started by individual citizens.

The threat of secession is nothing new in the United States.  It seems that after any election, people want their states to secede so that they don’t have to live under a leader they didn’t elect, but the threat goes even farther than that… even farther than the most infamous case of secession, the Civil War.  After we had won our war of independence from Great Britain, each state was alone but together.  They realized that they needed to come together to form a union of states, but that was the tricky part as each state (and each citizen of those states) was loyal only unto itself.  During the Constitutional Convention, southern states threatened to walk out and form their own union if the northern states tried to interfere with the institution of slavery… though the compromises that were reached only delayed the inevitable.  During the War of 1812, the New England states threatened to secede and sign a peace treaty with Great Britain on their own since they didn’t agree with the war itself and it was hurting their local economies the hardest.  Even western states and territories have even threatened secession.  California threatened it had it not been allowed to draw its own borders… which it did to make sure that the large amounts of gold deposits that had been discovered would fall within the state.

Some might claim politics being the latest reason.  The majority of the states that have started the petitions are from states that were anti-Obama (or pro-Romney), but there are several pro-Obama states that are still mixed in.  The petitions have to garner so many signatures before the White House will even given them a fair hearing.  Unlike the pre-Civil War days, a state cannot just secede.  The federal government would have to approve such an ordeal, and despite how many signatures these petitions receive, it is very unlikely to happen.  Some might say let that state or another state go if it so chooses to do so, but that’s not who we are as a nation.  We are a nation that is diverse as we are large.  We all share the common theme that we are all Americans… even when we don’t agree on everything.  This latest move is nothing more than some partisan extremists going off the deep-end about things because their candidate lost and it has hit the media cycle for the first time.  As it is has before, this will just pass by.

The state of Texas is leading the way with its petition.  As of Tuesday afternoon, it had garnered over 77,000 signatures.  To put that into perspective, the total population of Texas is 25.7-million.  The signatures of the petition in no way show what the majority wish to do in the state.  And also, anyone can sign the petition… even if they don’t live in the state they are signing for.  So for example, a person in Wyoming could sign a petition for the state of Colorado to secede, and they can even sign for multiple states.  So again, these signatures are just a small little drop in a vast lake.

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights, such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. 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 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.

The Texas petition is correct that the federal government has moved well beyond what our Founding Fathers had envisioned for our nation.  Some of the changes have been good over the years… and even some necessary.  But in these times, under both Democratic and Republican leadership, our leaders seem to go out of their ways to stomp on our founding document.  But secession isn’t the answer to all of this.  We need to do it collectively as an entire nation.  Several of the other states quote the Declaration of Indepdence in their petition:

As the founding fathers of the United States of America made clear in the Declaration of Independence in 1776:

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.

… 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 …

Like Jefferson wrote, when the government is no longer subservient to the people and working for the betterment of those people, then it’s up to the people to cast it off and to start again.  Maybe we are getting to that stage, and maybe we aren’t.  That’s not for me to say.  But one thing is clear, we must do it as one people and as a nation and not as separate states, and it should only come after exhausting every other possible to bring about change.  Dissolving our union would only hurt us in more ways than we realize.  And though the White House may actually have to respond to at least the Texas petition, again, Texas (or any other state) will not be allowed to secede from the union.  It would set a dangerous precedent, and no President wants to be responsible for the breakup of a union we once fought to keep together.  Though we reside in our individual states and take pride in them, we still identify with being Americans, and that pride usually runs a lot deeper.  Instead of just pointing fingers of blame or threatening to take the easy way out with secession, maybe we should all just sit down, read our own history to see how we got here and start making the necessary corrections to get us back on track… and making sure that we follow our founding documents.

SIDENOTE:
The other states that have online petitions to secede from the union at this time are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

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