Utahns have filed not one, but two petitions – each with the exact same phrasing. One currently has over 5,000 signatures and was created on Nov. 11. Another created on the same day has reached over 7,000 signatures. In order to earn an official response from the Obama Administration, a petition must meet the current threshold of 25,000 signatures.
The petition with fewer signatures states, “We the people of the great state of Utah, do see that in today’s world the Federal Government has not led our citizens justly and with honor. We…do believe that it is time to take matter upon ourselves to ensure our continued freedom, and to enact our own laws and here by govern ourselves without the federal government’s involvement in our internal matters from this day forward.”
The statement is accompanied by a quote by Benjamin Franklin. The other petition gives no explanation other than an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.
Nothing in the Constitution gives a state the right to secede from the Union. Some feel that citizens may be using petitions as a means to express their irritation from the results of the election.
“Americans are so spoiled,” said Dennis Farnsworth, a political science professor at UVU.
Recently, one student brought up the subject of the petitions in his American Heritage class. Farnsworth explained to the class that states cannot secede and the U.S. needs each state because it isn’t be feasible for a state to leave – they wouldn’t be able to support themselves.
“It’s hard for me to believe that the majority would [sign] it,” Farnsworth said.
The petitions on We The People seem to be written out of resentment for various decisions of the government, though some petitions state, “Keep the United States United.”
“I could see it as a temper tantrum thing,” said student Logan Voorhis. “It doesn’t make sense. Obama’s obviously not going to let them secede, and even if he were, that would be an excellent way to call a bluff. Most of these states don’t have the unity to secede just because they don’t like the president.”
Utah seceding may seem over the top, but citizens of Texas seem to pose a legitimate concern.
Texas is independent in many ways, exemplified in their petition with the words, “Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.”
Because Texas shares a border with Mexico and the ocean, the state isn’t awkwardly positioned in the middle of the country like Utah is, if it were to secede.
It isn’t likely that the government would allow Texas to leave. However Texas’ petition to secede has gained over 100,000 signatures, so an official White House response should follow soon.
In addition, a second petition was created for Texas stating, “Peacefully grant the city of Austin, Texas to withdraw from the state of Texas and remain part of the United States,” and continues, “Austin, Texas continues to suffer difficulties stemming from the lack of civil, religious, and political freedoms imposed upon the city by less liberally minded Texans.”