MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Unhappy with the results of this year’s presidential election, people in nearly two dozen states have started online petitions requesting permission to secede from the union. That list includes all three Mid-South states.
Ironically, those petitions were submitted to a White House website called “We The People.”
Twenty-five thousand signatures are required by mid-December for each petition to even be considered. As of Monday, November 12, Texas already had more than 27,000 signatures.
While the Mid-South states trailed that total considerably, the petitions were beginning to garner attention.
“People are crazy,” said Memphian Rebecca Brigg, “you never know what they’re going to come up with.”
What people in 22 states have come up with, including Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, are petitions asking permission to secede from the United States of America.
“I think people are very unhappy with the election,” said Art English, “and feel their tax money will be going to a federal government that will be insensitive to their needs.”
English is a political science professor at the University of Arkansas- Little Rock.
Petitioners quote this constitutional language: “whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”
“This is just anger and frustration.” said Van Turner, the Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman.
Turner is a fervent supporter of President Obama; the petitioners- not so much.
“I would hope that they would come to their senses,” Turner told abc24.com, “and understand that we’ve already fought a well-noted war over whether or not states can secede. The year is 2012, not 1865.”
As of November 12, Tennessee had more than 9,500 online signatures, Arkansas had about 6,700 and Mississippi had nearly 7,500.
“You can’t please everyone,” Memphian Amanda Radke told abc24.com, “but we’re all supposed to be Americans. We should all unite behind what the decision is-whether that’s what you wanted or not.”
And that is exactly Turner’s point.
“At the end of the day we should all be Americans,” said Turner, “and just move forward.”
“Trying to secede from the union sounds a little crazy,” Briggs told abc24.com.
Rather than secede, most people were proponents of exercising the ultimate power to vote.
“In four years things will be different,” said Briggs.
So, can a state simply secede from the union? The short answer is no. That was settled by the Civil War. However, states can do things like divide; Texas has the right to split into five different states.
The last time something like that happened, West Virginia was created in 1863. But, no matter how many divisions might occur, all states would still be part of the union.