DALLAS – The Obama administration may soon weigh in on what nearly 70,000 citizens have signed their names in support of –– Texas secession.
The White House website has a section set aside for anyone with a U.S. zip code to submit a petition regarding “issues that matter to them.” For Arlington resident Micah H., that issue would be withdrawing –– peacefully –– from the union.
Never mind that Texas lost that right on March 1, 1845 when it was annexed by the United States under the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas.
For 79,040 citizens at the time of this writing, it is, in Micah’s words, “practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union.”
“And to do so would protect it’s (sic) 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 petition states.
So why does this matter? Well, should a petition posted to the White House We The People section get 25,000 names attached, the White House staff will take a look at it, shoot it to the “appropriate policy experts” and craft an “official response.”
Maybe. The site’s terms of service give the president some wiggle room:
To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition.
However, Micah’s petition is part of a trend. Texas is just one of 21 states –– from Kentucky to New York –– that have been posted to the site requesting the right to ‘peacefully withdraw’ from the union. These have cropped up since President Barack Obama won reelection.
The Lone Star State’s petition was posted on Friday and passed the 25,000 threshold shortly after 3 p.m. on Monday. It passed 30,000 names about 90 minutes later.
Part of the reason Texas is getting so much attention on this and, North Dakota –– which also has a secession petition –– isn’t, is because Texas is currently the only state petition to reach that 25,000 mile-marker. Louisiana is about 6,000 short with 19,608 names while Alabama and Florida are neck-and-neck for third place with 8,562 and 8,509 signatures, respectively.
Secession speak, though, has been part of our state's lore for the past few years. Gov. Rick Perry, in 2009, was speaking to what CNN described as an “energetic and angry tea party crowd” and flirted with the idea of breaking away from the U.S. at some point.
"There's a lot of different scenarios," CNN reported Perry as saying. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
There’s a Texas Nationalist Movement and a Republic of Texas group, both of which promote secession. Actor Chuck Norris, the purveyor of what is perhaps the state’s finest roundhouse kick, has expressed his support of the movement.
During Perry’s stumble-filled run for president, The Texas Tribune's Jay Root reported that critics combing for criticism fuel found a seldom-seen video wherein the governor said Texans are “thinking about that (secession) again.”
Why, just last week, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy found a Facebook post written by Hardin County Republican treasurer Peter Morrison that advocated “separating” from the union. The post has since been removed.
Says Kennedy of the vanished writing, "Let each go her own way," he (Morrison) writes, demanding an "amicable divorce" from the U.S. and from the "maggots" who re-elected President Obama."
Well, if President Obama ever wanted to speak on the issue, there may perhaps be no better time –– almost 70,000 are waiting.