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Le Nouvel Observateur, France

Civil War … Just for Fun

By Philippe Boulet-Gercourt

The White House website currently counts 170 petitions, almost half of which are demands for secession. There is now one for each of the 50 states.

Translated By Katherine Highet

16 November 2012

Edited by Kyrstie Lane

France - Le Nouvel Observateur - Original Article (French)

Obama was wrong about the bayonets — watch out, because they are charging from all sides! On Nov. 7, the day after the election, a certain “Michael E.,” resident of Slidell on the outskirts of New Orleans, created a petition on the White House’s website “We the People,” as any citizen has the right to do. The said petition was entitled “Peacefully grant the State of Louisiana to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.” With this, the movement began — the White House website currently counts 170 petitions, almost half of which are demands for secession. There is now one for each of the 50 states.

How many of these sore losers actually prefer secession to Obama’s America? Over 100,000 signatories for the most rebellious state, which is … wait for it … Texas! This puts the presidency in a rather amusing position, as they committed themselves to respond to all petitions with over 25,000 signatures within 30 days. But even funnier still is the madness that the petitions have kicked off. The White House’s site has been inundated with witty counter-petitions. One petitions Obama’s administration to “Allow the city of El Paso to secede from the state of Texas. El Paso is tired of being a second class city within Texas,” and another to “Force all states to pay their portion of the national debt before they can secede from the union.” Another petitions to “Allow United States Military service members to place their hands in their pockets” — oops, sorry, that was completely unrelated, but it was too good to leave out.

Everyone has had a say, be it indignant or light-hearted. The actor Alec Baldwin referred to this craze as a “spit in the ocean,” finding it “strange because I had many of those states on a list of states I would like to secede from the United States.” Bob Cesca of the Huffington Post reminded us that most of the southern conservative states, breeding grounds for secessionists, receive many more federal dollars than they contribute: $1.35 received for every dollar paid by South Carolina, $1.78 for Louisiana …

Slightly less amused is Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. “Governor Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it," his press secretary declared, very seriously. She nevertheless added, “But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government.” It must be said that Perry remarked to a reporter in 2009, “When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we’d be able to leave if we decided to do that,” which is completely false. The secession of any state is illegal — worse, it is seen as an act of treason in the eyes of the Constitution. Yet that does not stop a large number of Texans (one third, according to a survey in 2009) from believing that it is possible.

We are tempted to say — go on, we dare you!



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