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Slimantics: Secession: Haven't we've tried that already?


Slim Smith



As of Tuesday afternoon, residents in 47 states had signed petitions to secede from the United States. Of that group, more than 30 states have collected enough signatures to prompt official consideration. 


Three more states and we'll reach a point where the whole country has actually seceded from itself.  


We could then form a new country and call it The Hysterical States of America. 


It is hard to determine exactly what has prompted the movement that is sweeping the nation, since, like the Tea Party, there appears to be no organization and no rational thought behind it. 


But I do know that the movie "Lincoln" opened just as the first crude crayon signatures were being applied to the various secession petitions by people wearing "Don't Tread On Me" ball caps. And, of course, we all know what happened the last time Lincoln showed up on the national scene. Eleven states seceded, although I do not think they sent out petitions first. 


There is also some indication that the current secession movement has something to do with a black guy, an explanation I am inclined to believe since it seems like every single time a group of states wants to up and quit the United States to form their own country, black people are mixed up in it somehow. 


But I still don't know why so many people think secession is a reasonable solution. It didn't work out so well the last time we tried it. 


As unlikely as this secession movement is, what is even more interesting is that I didn't even know a state could just up and secede from the union. Neither did Lincoln, for that matter. In fact, he rather insisted that you couldn't do that. Heck, we had a civil war to settle that debate, I thought. 


Yet according to the White House website, "We the People," if a petition garners more than 25,000 signatures, "it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response."  


I think I have a pretty good idea of what that "response" would be, don't you? 


But for the sake of argument, let's suppose the United States would agree to allowing some states to go. I figure we could manage fine without Delaware, for example. And do we really need two Dakotas in these austere times? I can't remember the last time New Hampshire did anything for anybody.  


If nothing else, the departure of some states would make third grade a little easier, at least it worked that way the last time we had a secession.  


For example, reciting the names of the presidents was a lot harder in Connecticut than in Alabama in those days. While the third-grader in Connecticut was struggling to list the presidents in the proper order -- "Is it Harrison then Tyler, or the other way around?" -- the kid in Alabama just answered, "Jeff Davis ... Can we go out for recess now?" 


That convenience aside, I doubt the secessionist movement will work. 


In fact, there are also petitions being circulated calling on the president to deport any person who signed a petition to secede. 


That petition doesn't say where these people are supposed to be deported to, but I hope they are sent to a country that has state-funded, universal health care and gay marriage. 


That would teach 'em.


Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]


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