Director of Public Engagement for the White House, Jon Carson, finally responded to secession petitions on the White House website.
Instead of addressing each of the state petitions, of which there where several that met the 25,000 signature response level, he responded to an anti-secession petition titled “Deport Everyone That Signed A Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States Of America.”
Petitions for states to secede were denied citing that “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.”
The claim is that secession appears to not be allowed under the Constitution, and that the result of any such secession attempt would result in many dead Americans.
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.’
Although the secession movement stirred notable support among those who feel disenfranchised by the federal government, it’s unclear whether it would have been a positive exercise in sovereignty or used as a tool for divide-and-rule.
At any rate, it appears that the Obama Administration is not going to let states out of the Union, at least not without a fight.
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