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Secession Obsession Unabated

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Jesse Sublett       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   10 comments

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The old love-it-or-leave-it crowd is singing a new tune.
(Image by Jesse Sublett)
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The old love-it-or-leave-it crowd is singing a new tune. by Jesse Sublett


The big word on secession on Monday was "ignored," as in the ABC headline "TEXAS SECESSION PETITION IGNORED BY WHITE HOUSE," which was appeared in dozens of slight variations in media coverage online and elsewhere. The petitions (at least one from every state) were filed on the White House "We the People" portal, a high tech democracy widget that makes seceding from the US and establishing a post-modern Confederacy seem almost as easy as buying a gun.

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The White House refused to confirm or deny rumors that the President has been adding joke names to the secession petitions as a way to "blow off steam from the daily grind of calling drone strikes on terrorists, coordinating disaster relief and other mind by From

The site does say that once a petition has achieved the threshold of 25,000 digital signatures in a 30-day period, it shall merit an official response from the White House. (Secession petitions have been filed from all 50 states, including Hawaii, one of the other states which, like Texas, was once independent; and a handful of those petitions have also reached the minimum number for a response.)

The "We the People" widget does not, however, give a time frame for when that response would be issued. If the Texas secessionists that on Day 30 there would be an announcement in the Rose Garden from President Obama saying something like, "OK, bro, you guys are outta here... See ya on the links over at Civil War Land." (By the way, your reporter admits that he stole that concept -- the post-modern Confederate's dream vacation -- a secessionist theme park -- from a book titled Civilwarland in Bad Decline, written by George Saunders . I haven't read it, but I always enjoyed reading the reviews.)

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Dead horse on battlefield, Gettysburg, 1863. by From Library of Congress

We wonder sometimes if this was only a Beta release of the "We the People" gizmo. You'd think the creators would have put a few disclaimers on there, maybe an automated response for requests that are pretty much unreasonable, like, for instance, promising everybody in the country a slice of Italian cream cake before bedtime, or a new pony for every child reaching the age of five. Not to mention insisting that the President allow your state to secede every time your candidate doesn't win, or whenever the Cowboys aren't in the Super Bowl, and I am fairly certain it would be unconstitutional for him to let Texas, Louisiana or Georgia go ahead and become the Sovereign Nation of Whatever.

These people used to be so crazy about the Constitution, too. I guess they just fell out of love with it. That and the old notion of "My country, right or wrong."

 It's hard to say how these people will take when the White House says no. They'll need something to soften the blow. What if the widget-makers had programmed it with a universally loved character's personality and voice. Like, say, Robbie the Robot.

Hearing the chunky analog dude say "That does not compute"  would let them down easy.

There's a strange conundrum here. Obama's harshest critics ascribe to him all manner of maniacal, tyrannical attributes, but even if he was indeed Hitler, Stalin, Lenin and Kenyan tribesman rolled into one, having the power to granting a state's petition to secede as if it were a second grader wanting to use the restroom, it's a little much.

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Dead Confederate sharpshooter killed by a shell, Gettysburg, 1863. by Library of Congress.

The last time there was a serious movement to leave the Union, a lot of people got hurt, and after the dust and smoke and amputated limbs settled and the jigsaw map of the US all glued back together again, the question of whether or not states were free to come and go as they pleased had been rather forcefully addressed, and the answer, for those of you who were updating your Facebook page during American history class, was no .

Even the most caffeinated members of the Tea Party will usually admit that the current White House tenant ( whose four year lease was recently renewed, by the votes of a significant majority of American voters),   is a very gifted speaker, so whenever there is an official announcement, I expect it to be, at the very least, a memorable statement.

Petition to allow El Paso to secede from Texas as a protest of the Texas secession petition. by screen shot of

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Jesse Sublett is a regular contributor to An author, ghost writer and musician in Austin, Texas, he has published crime novels, eBooks, true crime, memoir, essays and journalism. His work has appeared in New York Times, Texas Monthly, (more...)

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