I quit the country
Sore losers petition to secede from the United States
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
In the wake of last week’s presidential election, some Mitt Romney supporters are so upset that they’ve decided that they would rather leave the country than suffer through four more years of President Barack Obama’s so-called far left radical socialist agenda.
Because of his re-election, there have been petitions for secession from the U.S. in about thirty states now, and, unsurprisingly, Texas has been the most successful — gaining upwards of 90,000 signatures as of this writing. The online petition in Texas has gained enough signatures to actually bring it to the attention of the White House. It passed the 25,000 signature threshold set by the White House’s website.
Because it wouldn’t be a story about secession without including a comment from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, he has now issued his own comment on secession-mania, saying that while he “shares the frustrations” of those who signed the petition, he “believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it.”
Currently Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida are the only petitions which have reached the required threshold, but South Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, and Indiana are very close as well.
I’m surprised I have to actually say this, but calls to secede from the United States because your side lost an election are ridiculous, petty, unrealistic and immature.
In the game that is electoral politics, calling for secession because your side lost one election is akin to flipping the chess board over because your opponent captured a pawn.
Losing one election is not a reason to quit the country in a fit of rage. It’s a reason to fight harder to win the next one. The loss of one election is not a major set back, and certainly isn’t worthy of secession.
Similarly immature and laughable are the countless threats to move to Canada or some other country if the candidate you want to win fails to do so.
These kinds of threats are particularly senseless for American conservatives, as Canada has precisely the kind of socialized medical system that they are so afraid Obama will try to implement in the U.S.
If you’re a conservative in America, moving to nearly any other country in the world will put you in a country further to the left than even Sen. Bernie Sanders wants.
Perhaps it is this realization that no other country would be better than America for a conservative right-winger that has led to this desire to join the Republic of Texas or the countries of Louisiana or Florida — where their reactionary brand of conservatism would surely be shared and accepted.
But as much as Obama might like to see a U.S. without Texas in it, and as much as Texans might like to live in a country without Vermont in it, petitioners must know that their attempts to quit the country are in vain. A petition with 25,000 signatures isn’t anywhere near enough support to actually secede, nor is a petition even the right way to go about it.
Furthermore, if every time one side lost an election they decided to secede, the country would fall apart.
Part of the democratic process is accepting that your side will be in the minority from time to time. As soon as people give up on this aspect of democracy, popular government would cease to exist. The system would collapse.
The last time a popular wave of secession madness struck America because of the results of a presidential election it led to one of the bloodiest wars in American history, and the states which seceded were reincorporated into the United States just five years later. There is no reason to believe that a secession movement this time would be any more successful in the long term.
The sudden popularity of secession-themed petitions has led to some equally silly counter-petitions, such as one which would exile or deport everyone who signed petitions in favor of secession, and my personal favorite: A petition for the city of Austin to secede from Texas and remain a part of the United States in the event of Texas’ secession.
Political parties lose elections all the time. Before 2008, the Democrats had lost two in a row, and before 1992 had lost five of the last six. Between 1932 and 1952, Republicans didn’t win any elections at all.
But they didn’t give up and quit, they kept fighting for the cause until they could win, and this is what the Republican party should be doing. Instead of saying “This was a stupid game anyway,” and unplugging the figurative video game console that is the American political process, the party should work for change.
Instead of quitting the game, they should regroup, re-strategize and figure out how to make sure that when the party’s turn comes along again in four years, it makes a winning play.
Keene is a junior majoring in political science, economics and public policy.