Memo: Signing White House petitions to secede is not a good idea

Memo: Signing White House petitions to secede is not a good idea

Take it from someone who knows something about the Civil War.  Secession is not a good idea, and signing petitions at the White House web site asking permission to secede is an even worse idea.

Since the November election, citizens in all 50 states have signed petitions at the White House “We the People” web site asking permission to peacefully secede from the Union.  At least seven petitions have reached enough signatures to prompt a White House response.

For starters, President Obama does not have the legal authority to grant the petitioners’ desires.

He does, however, have the authority to direct the Department of Homeland Security to keep an eye on those who digitally signed the petitions.

It may feel good to sign such a petition, letting the president know that his re-election is not welcome by a large number of people, and his victory is serving to divide the country more than it already is.

But secession has consequences, both political and economic.  The Confederacy, for example, suffered tremendous hardship when the Confederate dollar became worthless.

Some, like Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), argue that secession is an American tradition.

“Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those ‘traitors’ became our country’s greatest patriots,” he wrote on his congressional website.

“The Federal government kept the Union together through violence and force in the Civil War, but did might really make right?” he asked.

Paul is correct when he says that there is “nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents.”

That’s why we have elections.

But for whatever reason, a majority of those who voted seem to want a bigger, more powerful government that is more intrusive and takes more of our hard-earned money.

Paul argues:

If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it.

He is correct when he wrote that “[i]n a free country, governments derive their power from the consent of the governed.”

He continues: “When the people have very clearly withdrawn their consent for a law, the discussion should be over.  If the Feds refuse to accept that and continue to run roughshod over the people, at what point do we acknowledge that that is not freedom anymore?  At what point should the people dissolve the political bands which have connected them with an increasingly tyrannical and oppressive federal government?  And if people or states are not free to leave the United States as a last resort, can they really think of themselves as free?”

But a post at the National Review Online says that “we have not” reached the point of “last resort.”

The NRO goes on to say that Paul is essentially “putting the cart before the horse.”

“No, secession is not flatly off the table at all points and for all reasons. Nor, obviously, is revolution. Nobody is required to suffer under tyranny. But unless there is a bloody good reason, they should not even be countenanced. That bloody good reason does not yet exist, and to talk as if it does is hysterical,” Charles C. W. Cooke wrote.

Signing petitions at the White House web site may make one feel good, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

There is no question that America is every bit as fractured as she was during the 1860s.  But secession and bloody civil war is not the answer.

These things tend to go in cycles, and conservatives need to work harder than ever to overcome the obstacles set in place by the education system and the Democrat-media complex.  Unfortunately, the last few elections have shown that we can’t rely on the GOP establishment.  It is now our job, as grassroots conservatives, to educate the masses and undo the programming that has been going on for at least 100 years.

It won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

It sure beats the heck out of fighting another civil war.


Be sure to read my weekly series, “This Week in the Civil War,” highlighting the events of 150 years ago, here.  You can also follow me on Twitter @jnewby1956, or visit and join my Facebook page.

Joe Newby

Joe Newby

Joe Newby is an IT professional. He has written for Conservative Firing Line, Examiner, NewsBusters, and Spokane Faith and Values.


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