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Le Nouvel Observateur, France

The War of Secession:
What a Joke

By Philippe Boulet-Gercourt

Translated By Malina McLennan

14 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

France - Le Nouvel Observateur - Original Article (French)

Obama was wrong regarding the bayonets: they’re closing in on all sides, gird your loins! On Nov. 7, the day after the presidential election, a certain “Michael E.” of the Slidell suburb of New Orleans created a petition on the White House’s website “We the People,” as any citizen is entitled to do. The title: “We petition the Obama administration to: Peacefully grant the State of Louisiana to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.” The movement had been launched: the White House’s website has as of today 170 petitions, with over half of them being demands for secession. There is one for each of the 50 states.

Just how many of these sore losers, who would prefer secession over Obama’s America, are out there? There are over 100,000 signatures for the rebel state — drum roll — Texas! This creates a bit of a dilemma for the government: They are obligated to answer all petitions with over 25,000 signatures within 30 days. Even more amusing is the backlash that followed. One petition demanded, “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.” Another petition stipulates that all states wishing to secede from the union must first pay off their national debt. Yet another requests that the government “[a]llow United States Military service members to place their hands in their pockets” — oops, sorry, that had nothing to do with our topic, but it was too good to leave out.

Each one adopts its own little indignant or joking tone. Alec Baldwin, the actor, has compared the movement to “a spit in the ocean” and finds it “so strange because I had many of those on a list of states I would like to secede from the United States.” Bob Fresca of the U.S. edition of the Huffington Post made the point that most conservative Southern states, a secessionist’s paradise, receive more federal funds than they contribute: $1.35 received for every dollar given back for South Carolina, $1.78 for Louisiana…

The only one to seem happy about this is Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. A spokesperson recently declared that he “believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it.” However, they quickly added the following: “He also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government.” It should be pointed out that Perry, in 2009, said to a reporter that when Texas entered the union in 1845, it was with the understanding that it could leave it if it so desired. This is false — secession from a country is illegal. Even worse, it’s an act of treason against the Constitution. This doesn’t stop a considerable number of Texans (a third, according to a poll in 2009) to consider it to be a possibility.

This entire situation almost begs the phrase: go on, I dare you.

*Editor’s Note: The quotations in this article, accurately translated, could not be verified.



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