HOLMBERG: Secession petition signers just blowing bubbles?

Posted at 1:06 AM, Nov 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-16 02:30:21-05

The secession movement has been growing – all 50 states now have petitions.

Could Virginia actually secede? It happened before, in April of 1861.

That’s when delegates from all Virginia counties voted to secede, fueling the deadliest war this country has ever known.

It would seem a few thousand signatures on a White House petition site is hardly a threat to our membership in the United States.

So these secession petition signers – are they just blowing bubbles?

Being sore losers? Having a post-election tantrum, as critics suggest?

Virginia petition signer Joe Cacciotti of the Richmond area shook his head when I asked him that question.

“We’re very serious about seceding from the union,” he said. “The reason being that in the Declaration of Independence states that whenever the government becomes destructive towards the people, and inoperative, the people have the right to take over that government and form a new government. So here we are.”

Constitutional scholars can’t quite agree on the legality of secession, and how it would proceed.

And even though secession didn’t work out so hot last time, a Zogby poll found that 22 percent of Americans believe any state has right to peacefully secede and become an independent Republic.

Perhaps surprisingly, more Hispanics (43 percent)  and blacks (40 percent) believed in secession than whites (17 percent.)

And nearly twice as many liberals believed in secession than conservatives, according to that poll.

But guess what? That poll was taken during George W. Bush’s second administration.

That’s right, it was liberals who were thinking secession after Bush won a second term.

But that’s forgotten. The new secessionists are widely mocked. A common criticism is the states pushing hardest for secession get more from the federal government than they pay in.

Let’s have a look. Delaware and Minnesota give the most to the federal government – basically giving two dollars for every one they receive.

New York and Illinois give only slightly less.

But secession leaders Texas and Georgia are among these states that give slightly more than they receive from the feds.

Virginia, with a paltry 8,000 secession signatures, is among those that get a little more than they give.

(You can see Virginia’s petition and signatures, and search for those from others states, here:

I believe that even if it’s completely legal for Virginia or other states to secede, it would still have to be done by force.

And that didn’t work out so well last time.

But really, a little perspective here. Texas has just over 110,000 signatures, not quite twice as many signatures on a petition for the feds to take marijuana of the illegal substances list. (These two are among the most signed petitions on the White House site where all the secession petitions live.)

That said, we shouldn’t dismiss these signers. They’re not just conservative. They’re some libertarians, they’re some progressives – they’re folks who fear turning too much control of their lives over to the government.

Me? I believe there will be a course correction in this country, not because of secession or ideology, but simply because of supply and demand.

With more than 70 million baby boomers retiring – some 10,000 every day for the next 19 years - ­­we simply can’t afford to give everyone their “fair share.”

I don’t think a central government will fix this. We, the people, will.

That’s my take, please post yours here.