North Texas Daily

Petition to secede remains popular

Petition to secede remains popular

Petition to secede remains popular
November 27
23:35 2012

Eleanor Sadler / Staff Writer

The latest Texas secession movement is unlikely to elicit a serious response from the Obama administration, but an online petition calling for the peaceful divorce of the Lone Star State and the U.S. remains the most popular post on the White House’s website nearly three weeks after it got its first signature.

Almost 118,000 disgruntled Americans – many of the signatures come from residents in the Union’s other 49 states – have signed the petition so far.

Official responses to petitions with more than 25,000 signatures on the White House’s “We the People” website are supposed to be issued within 30 days of the petition’s launch, making the due date for an administration reply Dec. 9.

The petition argues that Texas has the 15th largest economy in the world and that it would be feasible for the state to function on its own. It accuses the federal government of neglecting to “reform domestic and foreign spending” and calls for a return to the original “ideas and beliefs” of the Founding Fathers.

Similar petitions calling for the secession of Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and other Southern states have garnered thousands of votes. But as they say, everything is bigger in Texas, and the former republic boasts the only petition to pass the 100,000 signature mark.

Gov. Rick Perry’s secretary Catherine Frazier told the Huffington Post this month that Perry “believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it,” but added that he shares the frustrations many Americans have with the federal government.

When Southern states including Texas seceded from the U.S. in 1860, the American Civil War was the result. Texas officially rejoined the Union in 1870.

History professor Randolph Campbell dismissed the idea of secession in 2012.

“Secession in the 1850s was over the issue of slavery. Slavery was a moral issue that really divided the country,” Campbell said. “We’re not divided now by some moral issue of that kind.”

He said that many people are using the petition to the White House to vent their frustrations with the outcome of this month’s presidential election.

Campbell said the idea wasn’t very practical. For Texas to actually secede and prosper, the state would have to find ways to fund many programs currently run by the federal government.

“It’s mind-boggling to me how many taxes we would have to pay in this state if we had to provide the things that the federal government provides,” Campbell said.

Without the support of the federal government, Texas residents would no longer be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid and other government funded programming. There would be no national funding for border patrol or air traffic control. Military installations would be removed. Other fundamental programs would have to be replaced and maintained by an ill-prepared state, Campbell said.

Trade barriers would be established between the U.S. and Texas, and citizens wanting to travel would have to undergo border crossings every time they want to visit the neighboring country, Campbell said.

“I think it’s absolutely silly,” fine arts senior Matthew Lee said. “I feel there are so many things that would have to be put into place and taken care of for a state to function successfully as its own nation that people don’t realize.”

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