The Washington Post

If at first you don't secede... petition the White House

Here’s the map now. (BORIS GRDANOSKI/Associated Press)

When at first you don’t succeed, try secession.

At least that seems to be what’s going on right now at We The People, the White House’s official petition site, where there are now petitions for 20 states to secede.

This makes sense. Why move to Canada in response to Obama’s reelection? If you want to live in Canada, just stay in America and wait for his policies to take effect! At least this is what all the ominous forwarded e-mails from my aged relatives imply.

But the trouble with crying “secede” too many times is that people start viewing it less as a threat than a consummation devoutly to be wished.

“I’m going to secede!” Texas yells for the 89th time.

“Promises, promises!” the rest of the nation responds.

But it’s not just Texas, although its petition has the most signatures— more than 22,000 already, with 25,000 signatures in 30 days being the threshold to get an official White House response. Then again, in the Great Nation of Texas, seceding is something of a national pastime. And one must note that not all the signatures are from Texas. The idea of Texan secession has supporters on both sides of the state line.

There are also petitions from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

“Please stop promising us gifts you can’t deliver,” sigh large swaths of the country. “Just sit down and eat your dinner. I’ve gotten my hopes up too many times.”

Then again, why not secede?

I, for one, would like to see this.

The Great Nation of Colorado is probably sort of fun. And there is nothing like that moment when they stamp your passport to grant you entrance to Florida to force you to reflect what on earth you are doing visiting Florida in the first place.

All this secession is what comes of the limited release of “Lincoln.” Most of the country has had no opportunity to see it, and consequently we do not understand why dissolving the Union is a bad idea. Dang it, Spielberg, you should have sent it to Texas first, where its message was most sorely needed.

Sure, we studied this in history, but if we had learned history we would not have had to repeat it several times in order to graduate.

And Civil War history is our favorite kind to repeat. Some of the states with petitions didn't even secede in 1861, but they aren’t going to miss out on the fun this time around. If at first you didn’t secede, there’s always 2012.

So go right ahead. Secede. Make our day.

Just don’t come begging to us a few years from now, hungry and tired, asking us to pay the pensions of your public employees. We’ve seen “Lincoln.” We know how these efforts end.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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