Dr. Harold Pease
December 29, 2012
In mid November 2012, the nation was greeted with a movement, seemingly originating out of nowhere that can only be referred to as successionitis—a desire of the people to leave the Union—not seen in the United States since the Civil War. Without the Internet it would have been totally ignored and never known by the rest of us. The establishment press did not cover it until it was too big to ignore, then coverage was minimal. The media was largely dismissive citing the reelection of Barack Obama as the reason and the movement, largely of racists, certainly extremists, was simply sour grapes on the part of those preferring Mitt Romney. Certainly the movement did not actually mean anything, they implied.
They could not have been more wrong!! Universally devoid of coverage were questions: why so many participated, why the movement came on so fast and was so strong, and why it was so geographically spread? Why would this not be a legitimate expression of the discontent of the people; even a warning to an overly controlling federal government?
True, the petitions began in Louisiana the day following the reelection of President Obama and within a week spread to all 50 states, but the anger had been mounting for at least 20 years when neither party appeared to follow the Constitution nor give heed to federalism—the concept of shared governance between the feds and the states, so critical to freedom. It is also true that Obama represents a divided nation as never before since 1861 and is seen by half the nation as a facilitator of that divide, especially with respect to his push for income redistribution, better known as socialism and class warfare. Just as before the Civil War, there seems to be no middle ground. If compromise means further loss of liberty, petition signers want no more of it. Those who watch the Constitution disregarded or undermined on virtually a daily basis believe that there is no more freedom to surrender.
Most of the petitions from all fifty states cited sections of the Declaration of Independence as justifying their requests. The Louisiana petition read:
"Peacefully grant the state of _____ to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government. As the founding fathers of the United States of America made clear in the Declaration of Independence in 1776: 'When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute new government'."
Moreover, the loss of freedom in 1776 is identified with what petition proponents see as tyranny today. The Texas petition read:
"The U.S. continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the U.S. suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government."
My guess is that a third of America agree with these charges, though not necessarily with the solution. Petition signers believe that the U.S. federal government is so mismanaged that secession is the only option for future prosperity.
By November 15 the following states each had over 35,000 signatures: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas had 116,000 by itself by the twentieth of the month. Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina were above the 25,000 required of each state for the President to keep his word to answer their petitions within 30 days of initiation. Thus far I have found no response by the President, nor does the media appear to insist that he make one. The government's website no longer posts the count, the Presidents response, or the issue, but we have reason to believe that a dozen more states were significantly increasing their numbers daily and therefore would have easily passed the required number, and that the total for all states exceeded a million citizens by the December 7, deadline ("50 States File Secession Petitions With D.C." American Free Press, Nov. 20, 2012, by Pete Papaherakles).
At this point the signers see their signing as only a veiled threat. Few really want their state to leave the Union and all know that this could not ever happen without the state legislature voting to do so. They also know that the federal government will never allow them to do so. How extreme for the media to believe so. For signers it was the only way that they could get attention to the issue so ignored by the establishment media and both major political parties – we are losing our liberty. But given the volume of signers, the geographical spread, and the speed and intensity of this dissent, the federal government should be placed on notice that there is anger out there not seen since the Civil War and it should work to remove such. Writing them off as some kind of joke only confirms citizen concern that those in power only seek to enslave them more fully.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College.
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