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article imageWhite House responds to secession petitions

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 12, 2013 in Politics
The White House has responded to a handful of the "We the People" petitions calling for the Obama administration to allow states to secede by reaffirming the unity of the federation.
Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, who wrote the response, said: "In a nation of 300 million people -- each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs -- democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted. But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart." (see full text below)
Digital Journal reported that a series of secession petitions that began with Louisiana and Texas, were submitted to the White House petitions site and what came to be called the "petition movement" caught on with all 50 states eventually filing a citizens petition for secession.
The Huffington Post reports that at the height of secession petition fever, Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party, called for an "amicable divorce" of the state of Texas from the US, asking, "Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way."
The official White House response argued for unity as the intention of the "Founding Fathers" and recommended the "right to change our national government through the power of the ballot" as the best option to pursue.
Carson writes: "Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States 'in order to form a more perfect union' through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot -- a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it. As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, 'in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual.'"
He argues that the Civil War "vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States." Instead of seceding, Carson says that US citizens need to work together. He writes: "Whether it's figuring out how to strengthen our economy, reduce our deficit in a responsible way, or protect our country, we will need to work together -- and hear from one another -- in order to find the best way to move forward."
The White House response addressed only the secession petitions of those states that reached the 25, 000 signatures threshold. The states include Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. The Texas petition received more than any other, over 125,000 signatures.
While many have criticized the flurry of secession petitions as frivolous, Carson writes that the "We the People" program is a way for the Obama administration to engage its critics. He writes: “Participation in, and engagement with, government is the cornerstone of our democracy. And because every American who wants to participate deserves a government that is accessible and responsive, the Obama Administration has created a host of new tools and channels to connect concerned citizens with White House.
“In fact, one of the most exciting aspects of the We the People platform is a chance to engage directly with our most outspoken critics.”
The response comes after The White House responded to a petition to deport Piers Morgan (see Digital Journal).
Digital Journal also reports that the Obama administration has responded to calls for the administration to build a Death Star.
The mostly tongue-in-cheek White House response to the Death Star petition was delivered by Paul Shawcross, chief of the science and space branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. He said that in spite of the fact that the White House "shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense," the Death Star proposal was not feasible mainly because the construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000 (quadrillion). He explained that the administration is working to reduce the deficit, not expand it. He also said that the administration does not support blowing up planets. He asked: "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"
The response concluded: “If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star's power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.”
The full text of the "OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE" to
Peacefully grant the State of Louisiana to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government. and 8 other petitions
Our States Remain United
By Jon Carson
Thank you for using the White House's online petitions platform to participate in your government.
In a nation of 300 million people -- each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs -- democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted.
But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart.
Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States "in order to form a more perfect union" through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot -- a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it. As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, "in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual." In the years that followed, more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States. And shortly after the Civil War ended, the Supreme Court confirmed that "[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States."
Although the founders established a perpetual union, they also provided for a government that is, as President Lincoln would later describe it, "of the people, by the people, and for the people" -- all of the people. Participation in, and engagement with, government is the cornerstone of our democracy. And because every American who wants to participate deserves a government that is accessible and responsive, the Obama Administration has created a host of new tools and channels to connect concerned citizens with White House. In fact, one of the most exciting aspects of the We the People platform is a chance to engage directly with our most outspoken critics.
So let's be clear: No one disputes that our country faces big challenges, and the recent election followed a vigorous debate about how they should be addressed. As President Obama said the night he won re-election, "We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future."
Whether it's figuring out how to strengthen our economy, reduce our deficit in a responsible way, or protect our country, we will need to work together -- and hear from one another -- in order to find the best way to move forward. I hope you'll take a few minutes to learn more about the President's ideas and share more of your own.
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