SD petition to secede from the US gets 5,000 signaturesMITCHELL, S.D. — Well, the name of the state is South Dakota. Maybe that explains why some residents in the state have joined in a secession movement. But unlike the 11 southern states who tried to leave the union from 1860 to 1865, this secession isn’t about slavery, states’ rights or other issues that launched the Civil War.
By: Tom Lawrence, Forum Communications
MITCHELL, S.D. — Well, the name of the state is South Dakota.
Maybe that explains why some residents in the state have joined in a secession movement. But unlike the 11 southern states who tried to leave the union from 1860 to 1865, this secession isn’t about slavery, states’ rights or other issues that launched the Civil War.
This effort was created after President Obama was re-elected. People who sign the online petitions are asking permission for their state to leave the nation.
Every state in the nation had a secession petition on whitehouse.gov under the We the People section. More than 700,000 names were on the petition; people may sign more than one.
There were 5,229 names on the South Dakota petition at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Under the website’s rules, a petition needs 25,000 within 30 days before there is a response, and the White House announced Wednesday it will review the petitions that meet that guideline.
The creator of the South Dakota secession petition is listed as a “Johny F,” who launched it on Nov. 11. No city or state is listed.
Most other signers, however, do list a city and state, and the vast majority of names are not from South Dakota. There are names from Texas, Alaska and several other states.
There are some from this area, including Steven L. and CL, both from Mitchell, and Michael N., from Mount Vernon.
The petition resembles the other ones on the website. Its opening paragraph states: “Peacefully grant the State of South Dakota withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”
It quotes the Declaration of Independence, including a portion that says, “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government ...”
State Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, said while he believes states have the right to leave the union, he would not sign such a petition.
“I do believe in states’ rights,” Nelson said. “I also believe states have the right to nullify laws that are unconstitutional.
“I understand these people’s frustration. I appreciate the gesture,” he said. “Unfortunately, I think there are people who are very serious about it.”
Nelson said perhaps Obama and the Congress will take this as a cautionary note, especially with the spiraling national debt.
“South Dakota should be duly concerned about it, because we are the United States of America. How much are we going to get stuck with the overspending of these other states?”
The country is $16 trillion in debt and that is growing, he said.
“I do believe our federal government has grown so massive and gotten so involved in our everyday life, it has overreached,” Nelson said.
He said the fact these petitions are being created and signed shows a lot of people are angry and frightened.
“It’s actually kind of scary,” Nelson said. “It’s saddening that people are that scared of the future of our country to go to that measure.”
He said that it’s a “profound” statement about the current situation, and said for the first time in his life he is concerned about the future of the country.
Most South Dakota politicians said they did not support it, although state Rep. Lora Hubbel, R-Sioux Falls, the chairwoman of the Minnehaha County Republican Party, told the Argus Leader that she signed it as a protest, knowing it would never happen.
Tony Post, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, said he spoke with Hubbel Wednesday to tell her he disagreed with that position, and was disappointed she signed the petition.
The South Dakota Democratic Party responded to that news with a Facebook post.
“Is this what the Republican party in South Dakota has come to? … Such threats are not constructive. They are outright dangerous.”
Former state Sen. Gordon Howie, a Rapid City Republican and tea party leader, wrote about the secession effort on his website. Howie said after the election, people called and texted him, asking how the state could secede from the union.
“But really, does anyone expect States will actually secede from the Nation?” he wrote. “I am not one who believes that will happen, and I am not encouraging it at this point.
“What MUST happen, however, is that States must elect strong leadership and form compacts among States that resist the intrusion of the Federal government.”
Tony Venhuizen, the policy and communications director for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said the governor does not favor secession.
“Yes, of course he opposes it,” Venhuizen said.
He said the fact that some voters are upset with the election outcome is “nothing new.” In 2004, some Democrats were angry about losing the presidential election, and floated the idea of states that supported the Democrats leaving the union.
Venhuizen said once people simmer down, the secession movement will die off.
Sen. John Thune is also against it.
“Senator Thune does not support the effort,” according to a statement from the Republican’s communications director, Andi Fouberg.
“I strongly believe South Dakota should remain a part of the United States,” said Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, in an email.
Rep. Kristi Noem’s spokeswoman, Andrea McCarthy, said her boss thinks it’s a poor idea.
“Representative Noem is opposed to secession,” McCarthy said in an email. “She understands that many Americans are frustrated with the direction of our country and that’s exactly why she is fighting in Washington, D.C., for a smaller, more accountable government that does better for South Dakotans and all Americans.”
There has been some blowback, with opponents of the effort labeling it as treason.
Petitions to deport everyone who signed a petition, as well as other petitions critical of the secession petitions, are on the White House petition website.
There are also petitions on the website calling for a recount of the presidential election, advocating an end to federal laws against marijuana, and demanding the Food and Drug Administration stop regulating premium cigars.
The pot petition was leading the cigar petition 98,185 to 34,184 at noon Wednesday.
The secession petitions were steadily gaining names, however.
There were also websites urging people to sign the petition, and some people were signing it, and then asking people to sign one from another state.
There was also critical feedback.
“You people are idiots,” one person posted on a website urging people to sign the South Dakota petition.