Disgruntled voters want to secede from the USNo, Texas is not going to secede from the Union. What? You weren’t worried? Neither was I.
By: John Crisp, The Dickinson Press
No, Texas is not going to secede from the Union. What? You weren’t worried?
Neither was I. Still, in a matter of only a few days after the election, more than 95,000 citizens, presumably Texans, petitioned the White House to “Peacefully grant the state of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government.”
By means of a website called “We the People,” just about anybody can petition the White House for just about anything, and when the number of petitioners reaches 25,000, the White House has promised to respond. For example, more than 50,000 are petitioning to “Recount the Election!” and 47,000 petitioners are demanding that the government “Remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.” These are presumably not the same people.
It turns out that Texas isn’t the only state with petitioners demanding to leave the Union. Some 33,000 Louisianans want to follow suit, and so do citizens in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee. Look away, look away.
On the other hand, up north nearly 12,000 people in Sandy-devastated New Jersey are demanding to leave the Union, as well, even as the state depends on and demands more help from FEMA and other federal agencies.
In the meantime, 14,145 citizens are petitioning to “Deport Everyone That Signed A Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States Of America.” Isn’t the Internet grand?
Of course, in a nation of 312 million Americans, the secessionists’ numbers are microscopic. But it’s worth noting that during the campaign, millions of Americans who probably would never petition to secede rallied to the demand to take their country back, implying that they believe that they have lost it.
And in some ways, they have. In realistic terms, no state, not even Texas, is prepared to assume nationhood or to subvert our national unity, which was definitively established in 1865. But our nation is still rigidly divided on issues as intractable as the one that led to the Civil War, issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana, for example, and the trend is in a direction deeply unwelcome to many of those who claim they want to leave the Union.
Furthermore, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that nearly all of these disgruntled secessionists are native-born white people who not only want to take their country back, they actually want their state back!
They’re reluctant to acknowledge that every nation changes over time, and ours is no exception. The evolving demographics of our country, well documented elsewhere throughout the campaign, mean that the traditional role of everyone — whites, blacks, Hispanics, women and gays — has to adapt. Republicans, things are changing.
Even in Texas. All of Texas’ 38 electoral votes went to Mitt Romney, thanks to the 4.6 million Texans who voted for him. But another 3.3 million voters chose Obama, mostly in the growing urban areas like Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, and among the burgeoning Hispanic population. Some Democrats — they may be a tad optimistic — believe that Texas will be a blue state in eight years.
In the time it took to write this column, the number of Texas secessionists who signed the “We the People” petition grew from 95,469 to 114,422. The explosion of signatures probably reflects many Texans’ mistaken belief that when, after nine years of independent nationhood, Texas joined the United States in 1845, it retained the right to secede at any time in the future. Still, plenty of Texans — even fifth-generation types, like me — are mildly abashed and embarrassed by all this talk of secession.
In fact, just in case Texas ever manages to separate itself from the Union, at present 7,979 Austinites are petitioning to “Peacefully grant the city of Austin, Texas, to withdraw from the state of Texas and remain part of the United States.”
Crisp teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas.