Let’s Stop The Secession Talk

TheUnionisDissolved

I’ve had multiple readers email me links to petitions on the official White House website asking permission for secession from some 20 states. I ignored these emails because a) online petitions are dumb and b) talk of secession is dumb.

But news of the petitions has made the mainstream media, so it’s worth a mention I guess.

FARGO — After the events of last week’s election, some people apparently want out.

Residents of 22 states, including North Dakota, had filed petitions on the White House’s official petitions website seeking permission to secede from the United States, as of Monday afternoon.

Most, including the North Dakota petition, appear to be cookie cutters of one another, asking the OK from President Barack Obama’s administration to withdraw peacefully and form a new government. Most do not give specific reasons, instead quoting the Declaration of Independence.

The North Dakota petition, which has about 4,300 electronic signatures, follows that template. It was created by someone identified only as “C R” from Grand Forks. Signers do not have to give their full names.

You can see all the petitions here on the White House website, including new petitions responding to the secession petitions such as one calling for the deportation of everyone who wants to secede.

This is all a pretty grim commentary on the understanding of basic civics among Americans.

You cannot deport someone by starting up an online petition. And if you believe in the right of the states to secede – if you believe the union is a voluntary creation of the several states which can be ended by any one state – then it’s not something you ask the President for permission to do. If you’re going to petition anyone for secession, you petition the governors and the legislatures of the various states to do it.

And then you remember that this is a concept that America once went to war over. It was called the Civil War, and it wasn’t just about slavery.

The only thing dumber than wanting to secede after this election may be thinking it’s something that can be accomplished through online petition.

But setting aside the centuries-old debate over the right of the states to secede, can we just admit that these petitions are a rather childish manifestation of post-election frustration? One that makes the right look pretty silly?

Neither North Dakota, nor any other state, is going to secede. What conservatives need to do is start talking about finding better candidates, and better ways to articulate the limited government message. That is a useful conversation. Not secession talk.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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