Residents from all 50 states file petitions to secede from country
President Barack Obama’s re-election has caused sharp reaction among some Americans: Residents in all 50 states have filed petitions to peacefully secede from the United States since he was re-elected.
The petitions were filed through the White House website’s “We the People” program, the Daily Caller reported on Nov. 14. All of the petitions have been filed since Nov. 7, the day after the election.
The petitions signal a bitter sentiment toward Obama’s re-election. Though the secessions likely won’t gain any ground, the petitions illuminate post-election frustrations.
The White House staff responds to petitions that have been signed by 25,000 people within 30 days of their filing, according to the White House website. Seven states’ petitions had accumulated the necessary signatures for review as of Sunday. A petition filed for Texas secession was signed 117,175 times.
The White House staff has yet to issue any responses, but top state officials have refused to give support to the petitions, according to the website.
A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas issued a statement denouncing the Texas petition, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Jeffrey Stonecash, a political science professor in Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said in an email that the secession sentiment is reflective of a small reactionary group, not the states as entities.
“America is a very diverse nation and there are pockets of unusual views,” Stonecash said. “These are the expressions of tiny groups. They will go nowhere and represent the views of an alarmist crowd.”
Stonecash said the requests would need wider public support to be legitimized by the federal government.
“It would take millions of such petitions and even then we settled much of this during the Civil War,” he said.
This reaction is typical after recent presidential elections. Stonecash said many on the political left reacted in the same way in the past. Similar sentiments surfaced after President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 and Obama’s first election in 2008, according to a Yahoo News report.
James Ward, president of College Republicans at SU, said the petitions aren’t reflective of a legitimate desire to secede. Rather, they are symbolic of ongoing Republican frustrations with the Obama administration.
“I don’t think it’s something you can take seriously, but it does show the power of this election,” he said. “I think what Republicans want is for President Obama and the Democrats to come across the table and take what they’re saying seriously.”
Though Republicans may see the movement as a method for pushing toward their political motives, some students see it as a negative side effect of the two-party system.
Nicolas Sessler, a sophomore television, radio and film major, said the bitterness is another reflection on the divisiveness of the current political culture in the United States.
“I think it’s just showing how people in the United States are becoming more and more separated despite efforts to bring us together and for the parties to work together,” Sessler said.
Ward said the harsh reaction to Obama’s re-election may have a moderating influence as time passes. He said it could help the country moving forward.
“I think some of the criticisms that Republicans are saying constructively might help the country and the president,” Ward said. “It’ll help him lead the country better. It’s not a battle that’s over because he won the election.”
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