November 12, 2012
|The Oregon petition argues that the federal government is guilty of an “abuse of power” by forcing “unconstitutional laws over [its] own citizens.”|
DENVER — It’s traditional for Americans to threaten to move to France or Canada when their candidate loses, but this year some disappointed voters are implementing a different plan.
In the wake of the Nov. 6 election, petitions seeking to secede from the union have been filed on behalf of 23 states on the White House website, https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions. Most of the petitions contain the same wording and ask to withdraw “peacefully” from the United States in order to form independent governments.
Critics describe the effort as a bit of an overreaction. “Anyone who wants their state to secede from the union is someone whose brain has already seceded from their body,” said John Andrews, director of the conservative Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University.
Still, the White House may have to take the requests seriously. According to the website, any petition receiving 25,000 online “signatures” on the “We the People” page within 30 days of posting will receive a review by the appropriate executive department and a response from a White House staffer.
As of Monday, the Texas petition had already exceeded the 25,000-signature threshold, and the Louisiana petition was fast approaching the cutoff with more than 18,000 signatures. Most of the petitions were posted online Nov. 10, which means they have until Dec. 10 to qualify for a response.
It’s impossible to tell from the website who is behind the drive, given that those signing the petition only use their first names, last-name initials, and city and state of residence. The website does show that most petitions include the John Hancocks of signers from other states.
Steve Eichler, CEO of TeaParty.org, said his organization isn’t involved with the petition drive, but added that he wouldn’t be surprised if tea party advocates were at the root of it.
“We have not put out anything seceding from the United States, but the feedback we’re getting shows that people believe that their elected state leaders are more in tune with their needs than those of the federal government,” said Mr. Eichler.