The South is rising again.
The White House now has received secession petitions from all 50 states by citizens requesting the administration “peacefully grant” their states the right to secede from the Union and start their own sovereign governments.
Only seven states, though, have garnered enough signatures to evoke a response from the White House as part of the Obama administration’s “We the People” initiative, launched in 2011 to give citizens a chance to have their voices heard. Petitions that collect at least 25,000 signatures within 30 days will receive a response from the Obama administration — though the White House offers no guarantee the response will be the one the petitioner wanted.
As of noon Friday, the secession petitions in seven states had topped the 25,000 threshold, naturally led by Texas’ 111,689 signatures (I’ve heard they do everything bigger in Texas). The other six states were Louisiana (35,790), Florida (33,253), Georgia (30,844), Tennessee (29,846), Alabama (29,217) and North Carolina (29,217). South Carolina, with 23,049 signatures, was closing in on the magic number Friday.
Does the pattern look familiar?
These states also were part of the secessionist movement that embroiled our country in a Civil War more than 150 years ago.
Hold on. I’m not suggesting our country is headed for another Civil War.
Unlike the “War of Northern Aggression,” these Southerners are not demanding sovereignty for their states at the point of a gun. The petitions offer little more than an opportunity for residents to collectively voice their displeasure with the federal government and the outcome of the presidential election — in the South and apparently elsewhere across the United States, to varying degrees.
Missouri would have qualified for an Obama administration response if our neighbors in the “Show Me State” would have followed directions. Instead of one petition, Missouri’s signatures are divided among two secession petitions — one with 19,079 signatures and the other with 13,308. Together, they would have eclipsed the 25,000 mark with no trouble.
You can find the secession petitions, along with many others on a host of topics, at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions
True to its word, you also can read the Obama administration’s responses to some of the previous petitions that gathered the required signatures.
As for Kansas, it appears the state has a long way to go before it climbs the 25,000-signature mountain. The Kansas petition, titled: “Peacefully grant the State of Kansas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government” had garnered 8,048 signatures at midday Friday.
Apparently, you don’t have to be a Kansan to sign the Sunflower State petition, which was created by George E. — whoever that is ... While some listed hometowns in Kansas, plenty of out-of-state signatures dotted the petition, too, from people like Torsten in Tucson, Ariz., and Beth in Brookside, Fla.
Not to be outdone, some loyalists to President Obama and the concept of a United States of America have filed their own petitions. One titled “Deport Everyone That Signed a Petition to Withdraw Their State From the United States of America” had gathered 22,878 signatures, while 14,252 people had signed the “Strip the Citizenship From Everyone Who Signed a Petition to Secede and Exile Them” petition.
In something of a twist on secessionist views, a petition that beseeched the White House to “peacefully grant the City of Atlanta leave to withdraw from the State of Georgia and remain part of the United States” had gathered 1,364 endorsements.
And as secession petitions were being filed just days after the election, Puerto Rico voted Nov. 6 to become part of the United States. (The Caribbean island, now an unincorporated territory of the United States, still has a lengthy process ahead in its march toward potential statehood.)
President Obama was a popular focus of some petitions. One asking for his impeachment had collected 28,959 signatures, while 60,384 people had signed another asking for a recount of the presidential election. Another one implored the president to have a beer with someone named Drew Curtis. More than 1,000 people had signed that one. Drew apparently has a lot of friends.
The idea that states would be allowed to secede from the United States is farfetched, to put it mildly. The petitions don’t have a snowball’s chance in Tahiti of succeeding.
The site, though, does offer Americans a chance to voice their opinions, as the Obama administration — to its credit — intended when it launched the initiative last year.
If you’re bored or looking for some amusement, peruse all 187 petitions on the site. You’ll find some interesting requests.
Who knew 33,569 people want to prohibit the federal Food and Drug Administration from regulating premium cigars?
Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.