To all of my conservative friends who do not support the concept of participating in a petition to secede from the union I offer up this explanation. Of course there is no possibility of secession by means of these petitions, but I truly believe the discourse brought about by them will draw attention to the concept of federalism, something Americans sorely need to be educated on.
This is a movement not to divide the nation, because these petitions cannot do that, but to point out how far we have moved away from the concept of separation of powers between the states and the central government. This is not a tantrum, it is an attempt to bring focus back onto the Constitution. It does not make conservatives look bad or petty, it makes conservatives look genuinely concerned about the direction this nation is heading. As conservatives our goal should always be to educate about the rights we have, as individuals and states, as that is our greatest strength. I am sorry you oppose this strategy to force that conversation to take place and urge you to reconsider.
Perhaps it would clarify things a bit if we better understood the concept behind these petitions. The Obama administration “created We the People because we want to hear from you. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.” All this website does is promise to respond to any issues or concerns Americans have. That’s all it is and nothing more. These petitions hold no legal weight and are completely symbolic. Of course the answer from the administration will be, “that cannot be done.” But there is no need to oppose these petitions because you philosophically oppose secession. It is completely an exercise in creating awareness, in this case to federalism gone wrong.
That being said, as someone who respects the Constitution and our Founding Fathers I must agree with Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “When all government, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the Center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
In my opinion there is a direct comparison between the philosophy of secession today and the philosophy that consumed our Founding Fathers when they penned the Declaration of Independence. For those who would argue that our nation’s separation from the British empire has nothing in common with our situation today I would offer up this quote from the Declaration: “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Doesn’t this passage mean we have the right, possibly even the duty, to change our government, or part from it if we cannot change it, if that government no longer protects its citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? In the end what difference does it make what type of government is in place, be it a union of states or a monarchy, if it is tyrannical and stealing rights away from its citizens?
Therefore, although these petitions are by no means legal requests for secession, I cannot say that I would not, at some point, encourage secession. Just as our Founding Fathers separated from the British so too might we someday be forced to do the same from DC.