A Petition for Permission for Secession

As you probably know, a flood of petitions has hit the White House's web site asking for permission for various states to peacefully secede.

Texas apparently has already gotten the required signatures to mandate a review of the request by the White House (UPDATE: Currently nearly a hundred thousand signatures in Texas alone). Governor Perry, who has talked secession in the past, is running from such talk today. Georgia is getting close (UPDATE: The Georgia petition has now achieved enough signatures; Tennessee is within 200, as is North Carolina; Florida, Louisiana and Alabama have passed the mark as well).

A petition for permission to secede is not an act of secession: the states would remain members of the union even if the petition were granted by the White House (which it is not at all clear that the White House has any authority to do, not that a question as to whether they have legitimate authority has ever stopped them before).

However, as a mechanism for underlining the seriousness of the disputes over basic values, it strikes me as a valid and valuable way of protesting. The division in basic values is deep enough, and severe enough, that continued efforts by Washington to impose one-size-fits-all solutions on the republic will destroy it. This is true regardless of which party controls Washington, and which set of solutions is so imposed. Neither liberals nor conservatives can be comfortable in a nation in which they are under constant threat of having their basic values violated by law -- or, as we were discussing earlier today, under threat of being forced by law to violate their own values.

I believe that, in practical fact, we will have a respectful federalism as required by the Tenth amendment or -- sooner or later -- we will have secession for real. It's time people started facing up to the fact that we are pushing against real and deep divisions that will tear us apart if we don't stop.

For which reason, I signed the petition. I would like to have permission to peacefully secede, even if I hope we never need to exercise it. Having that option on the table would immediately undercut any further adventures in the Federal government imposing values and unpopular laws on the populations of states that deeply oppose them.

I want people in Washington, too, to start thinking about just how much damage they are doing to our country by pushing us against these divides. Maybe this will get their attention, and cause them to finally begin to respect the whole Constitution.


Miss Ladybug said...

On the radio this morning, the news lady was quoting some "expert" that was saying some Supreme Court ruling (in the 1870s?) basically rules out secession unless through revolution or consent of the rest of the states...

Also, they said that now 40 states had such petitions out there, including New York...

Bob said...

Somebody reminded me that Pantex is in Texas, and all the plutonium pits and all the Li6-Deuteride targets are stored there.

Might be nice to have a nuclear power on the Mexican boarder. A REAL one, you know?

How's Ratbane? I was thinking about him yesterday. Do you have a warm spot and a UV light for him? He'll need vitamin D if you want him to be worthy of his name.

Grim said...

Ratbane has gotten sluggish already. We keep him in a sunlit spot, so he gets a bit active in the daytime, but he's not very interested in eating.

Still, he seems happy. We're debating on whether to put him in the basement with a heater and a light, or keep him upstairs for the winter.

Elise said...

Here's the info from the Wikipedia entry on "secession":

...in 1869 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869) that unilateral secession was not permitted saying that the union between a state (Texas in the case before the bar) "was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States."

I wonder what "consent of the States" would mean in this case: All States? A majority? A super-majority?

Grim said...

It could even mean a simple act of Congress, since that includes representatives from all the states. But again, the question of what the percentages are remains.

Texas was admitted to the union on a simple majority vote in Congress, though. It would make sense if it could be granted permission to withdraw on a vote of the same kind.