Secession petition nonsense

Forget the early reports that Utah wasn’t among the states supposedly seeking to secede from the union over the re-election of President Barack Obama. That ended Monday when someone who courageously calls himself or herself “A.L. in Ogden” started one.

People who supposedly represent several different states have started petitions on the White House web site asking to peacefully leave the union. The web site has a page on which people may start petitions that, if they reach a certain threshold of signatures, will get a response from the administration.

A lot of the secession petitions use verbiage that echoes the Declaration of Independence, asserting it is time to abolish the government and institute a new one.

The Texas petition talks about the current government’s “neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending,” although that seems to be as much a Republican problem as a Democratic one. Frankly, the people haven’t helped much, either.

But never mind, for these folks, democracy apparently works only when the majority agrees with them.

The petitions don’t have any force of law, nor do they represent any sort of public consensus. Secession would, at minimum, take a vote of the state Legislature and support of the governor. History suggests the road from there would get pretty ugly and bloody, and that’s going by what happened in the 1860s, before the Union Army got smart bombs.

But the Utah petition is especially telling. Among other things, it says, the people “believe that it is time to take matter upon ourselves…” It says we should “here buy govern ourselves…”

I’m not sure what kind of government these petitioners would establish, but it’s a safe bet English wouldn’t be the official language.

Categories: Washington

About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.


  1. Jason Krueger

    Thats funny, cause most people consider mainstream media nonsense these days! You’ve lost the ability to maintain loyal viewers, readers cause of bias reporting and government control. It’s quite sad actually. Alternative media is the tip of the sword that will cut through the very heart of mainstream media. Alternative tells it like it is. The mainstreams inability to tell the truth for fear of loosing corperate sponsers that pay your salaries and heavy bias meddling from the government will be you downfall.

    • Mercury Fulminate

      “Most people?”

      Dude, learn how to spell correctly and maybe then someone will take your opinion seriously.

      • HAHAHAHA

        I notice a pattern that when a person has no real ability to actually disagree with a point someone makes, that the only thing they are capable of doing is attacking their spelling or grammar.

        If one disagrees say why and bring about facts that show why one should disagree with the former argument. Use some actual intellect, the internet is at our finger tips. A wealth of knowledge and resources are so easily obtained by adding a new tab and actually proving a point.

  2. William Gronberg

    Here is a small portion of one of two petitions involving Utah.

    “…and to enact our own laws and here buy govern ourselves…”

    The author uses the verb, “buy”. Purchase.

    He or she should have used the preposition, “by”.

    Back to High School English.

    • nutall

      “The author uses the verb, “buy”. Purchase.”

      your use of a single word sentence fragment hanging there at the end is grammatically incorrect kettle

      hmmmm..what is this????

      “Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right—a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”

      —Abraham Lincoln, 1848

      duh deduh duh do duuuhhh…nonsense gibbledy gook..what a nut job

  3. Kally

    The petition going around in response to these petitions seeks to strip citizenship of those who have signed the secession petitions and evict them from the US. I could get behind that one.

    • Civil Dialogue

      I’m sure their families would love that. Let’s strip them of their citizenship and kick them off their lands and from the homes that rightfully belong to them. That’s feudalism at the worse except the despot who can strip their subjects of their status and kick them off their lands is a majority.

      A great man once said that “When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right which the majority has of commanding, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind. It has been asserted that a people can never entirely out step the boundaries of justice and of reason in those affairs which are more peculiarly its own; and that consequently full power may fearlessly be given to the majority by which it is represented. But this language is that of a slave.”

      We have seen abuse after abuse being heaped by majorities and the fact that so many people are signing these petitions is a wake up call. It’s a sign of the frustration that people feel and is a signal of what Jefferson warned about when he said a majority abusing its strength is breaking up the foundations of society.

      Your reasoning goes something like: If they won’t let you abuse them then the solution is to abuse them more. If they don’t like what you are doing to them then the solution is to get behind stripping them of their citizenship and evicting them from the U.S. You will show them and they will submit or you will evict them from the country even if they have been visiting the graves of their fathers and mothers, who fought and died for your rights, every November 11th and who agreed with them before they died then they will get used to not being able to. While we are at it, let’s dig up the graves of those who don’t agree with you and evict them too since you own the whole country and the majority even has the right to strip people of their citizenship and kick them off the Lord’s land. Are we still living in the middle ages where a person was beholden to their feudal lords for the right to even live on their own land and to sleep in their own beds?

  4. Jen

    Not that I think these petitions will pass…but it is very sad that the ideas even exist. The rift in our Country right now is unmistakeable, and I really feel the President needs to do something to repair it.

  5. Franklin O Sorenson

    The people signing these ridiculous petitions 1) are really bad losers, 2) have not listened to the Pledge of Allegiance (they need to look up “indivisible” in the dictionary), 3) don’t remember 4 years ago when we had a financial meltdown and needed the federal government to help out. Anyone who signs such a petition should immediately stop using the interstate system, stop allowing their state to accept ANY federal funds for ANY reason, and should count how many federal facilities are in their state–and how many people would be unemployed if the US government were to allow them to secede. They should also get a little perspective.

  6. Stand-Steel

    The right to petition is given by our 1st amendment. Anybody here saying this is not American or people should be striped of citizenship is a trader.You are people that are destroying the rights that some would like to protect. THE RIGHT TO PETITION IS VERY AMERICAN AND GUARANTEED BY THE 1st AMENDMENT.

    • Kally

      So, the people who no longer want to be Americans are not traitors, but the people who are willing to let them go are? How does that even pretend to make sense?

      They are not petitioning to change the government or recall the President, they are petitioning to no longer be Americans – but they are not willing to go by themselves, they want to drag all their neighbors – who may be perfectly happy being Americans – with them.

      But I’m a traitor because I think if they want to leave it should be made easy for them but they should not be allowed to force anyone else to go with them?

      Yeah – that reasoning makes sense.

      • Civil Dialogue

        “They are not petitioning to change the government or recall the President, they are petitioning to no longer be Americans – but they are not willing to go by themselves, they want to drag all their neighbors – who may be perfectly happy being Americans – with them.”

        That is exactly what our founding fathers did as well. Why should anyone uproot their entire lives and leave the land of their fathers and no longer be able to visit with loved ones or the graves of their parents, grandparents spouses and children? The difference between those calling for secession and those calling for people to leave the country is that secession doesn’t require any person to leave their lands, homes, hardihood or loved ones. You will still be able to live in your home if your state secedes from the United States but under your reasoning their choice to remain means they must accept the tyranny that they despise.

        “But I’m a traitor because I think if they want to leave it should be made easy for them but they should not be allowed to force anyone else to go with them?”

        You aren’t a traitor when telling those who were born here and who have loved ones in this country and whose family are buried here they are free to leave if they don’t like what their neighbors are doing? If that doesn’t fall under the original definition of traitor nothing does. They can leave even if that means they can not visit the graves of their veteran progenitors who fought and died for your rights. They aren’t petitioning to leave their land, homes, hardihood and everything they hold dear in life. Even when people are signing petitions to secede from the United States it doesn’t get through to those who refuse to listen to reason because you don’t care how these people feel. In this sense their love of country, Constitution and family far outweighs yours. A traitor would either leave or say “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” as they tell others to leave.

        “Yeah – that reasoning makes sense.”

        I guess it doesn’t and there is no reason for you to even humor those calling for secession instead you can just mock and insult them. You don’t want to talk to them, address their concerns or listen to their petitions instead you just want to tell them if they don’t like what a majority has done then they can uproot their families and leave the land, homes and families they love because you are going to do what you are going to do and there is nothing a minority can do to stop you.” That is what Jefferson meant when he said that the majority abusing its strength breaks up the “foundations of society.”

        “So, the people who no longer want to be Americans are not traitors, but the people who are willing to let them go are? How does that even pretend to make sense?”

        I guess your reasoning makes sense They must die or leave. If they were patriots they would let you do what you want instead of complaining. It’s sad that someone like Thomas Jefferson would be labeled a traitor today. He even went so far as to say that we should have frequent revolutions. You are a patriot but want to make it easier for those you abuse to leave. That’s not patriotism. A patriot can be defined simply as a “countryman” or someone who is attached to the land. He or she isn’t necessarily loyal to the government that is in control of the geographical area instead he feels a sense of attachment to the land because he loves his family, friends and ancestors and does not wish to leave. If Russia conquered the United States would someone who sided with the Russian government be a patriot while those who are opposed to the rule of that government even if it is supported by the majority be a traitor?

        Yet, you are convinced in your own mind that your reasoning is sound and the reasoning of others is wrong and if they don’t like it they are just free to leave. Your family is staying right where it is and if they don’t like it then they can pack their bags and flee their homes which will then might be bought by a member of your family who will say “what a wonderful home we obtained.” Telling someone they are free to leave is a sign that someone is not a patriot. Would someone who claims to love their family be called loyal to their family if they told members of the family “if you don’t like how our family operates you are free to leave it?” If your child threatens to leave your family over what they see as abuses by you would you be called a loyal parent if you told them “like it or leave it?”

  7. LDS Liberal

    Just like the last straw led to secession and the Civil War in 1860… the election of other bleeding-heart Liberal – Abraham Lincoln.

  8. dale farr

    The petitions are another symptom of the great divide threatening our democracy. Corruption, special interests, greed, immorality and the destruction of the middle class are killing our country

    • Johnny Moser

      Moving to Canada doesn’t seem like an appropriate solution. Canada IS what the current administration wants the US to become. Socialized Medicine and all the rest IS what the US is becoming. The petitioners are requesting to try to do a better job on their own; they are just exercising their right to withdraw from the union just as the Original 13 colonies intended.
      The intention for federal holdings within the States is outside of the original expectations. Don’t believe it, look at how much Federal ground exists in the States on the Eastern side of the country compared to the Western and Mountain regions.
      Who’s supporting whom?

  9. Craig Clark

    Intemperate language is the language of popular culture, especially when it comes to discussing politics. A person who wants to have attention paid to his opinions figures his chances are better if he shouts, “We’re going to secede from the Union!” rather than calmly reason why he believes Congress should repeal Obamacare. If you want to be heard, make it over the top, the more outrageous the better.

    Everything comes at a price. The price for preferring the power of rhetorical overkill in our country is that the power of effective understatement is woefully underappreciated.

  10. Civil Dialogue

    “But never mind, for these folks, democracy apparently works only when the majority agrees with them.”

    The United States is NOT a democracy and “these folks” are not alone. Thomas Jefferson wrote that “The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime; abuses its strength, and, by acting on the law of the strongest, breaks up the foundations of society.” It’s not a matter of people believing that democracy “works only when the majority agrees with them” instead it is the exact opposite. Majorities are routinely abusing their strength and they are breaking up the foundations of society. That so many people are actually signing these petitions should be less a reflection on them and more of a reflection on how far we have strayed from the Constitution.

    Murray Rothbard said, “There is nothing sacrosanct about the majority; the lynch mob, too, is the majority in its own domain.” Some would argue that everyone had the right to vote in this election and should just accept its outcome regardless of the impact it has on people but it seems that Jay Evensen is under the false impression that the people calling for secession are merely doing so because they didn’t win a popularity contest.

    Au contraire, the people calling for secession represent a very vocal portion of a large segment of the U.S. population which is frustrated. In fact, there were fewer people who signed a petition we call a Declaration of Independence then have signed these petitions. Articles like Jay Evensen’s are “breaking up the foundations of society.” Instead of trying to reason or discuss with people he prefers to insult their English skills. Why discuss this with the people who can’t write very well when he can just write insulting responses to their expression of frustration.

    Let’s not take those people seriously. Instead let us mock them. The people creating and signing these petitions would represent over 5 to 10 million Americans if they were just a slim 1% of those who felt the same way yet the reality is that we are talking upwards of tens or hundreds of millions.

  11. Jewels

    Its so sad neighbors fighting neighbors. We the people have the right to voice our opinion so what your saying if I sign the petition I’m un amercain. If I dont I’m Amercain. The goverment aint Amercian its we the people. Yes theres way to much goverment. Yes we have lost our rights. So lets get a petition going to give the people more say what happens in our goverment. Lets fight to get our rights back in one nation under god united we stand divid we fall. My family help found the country lets keep it free no matter what your opinion is.


    It is with out doubt, that our government has drifted FAR from it’s routes over the past 100 or so years, and now represents the very thing that we seceded from originally in 1776. We, the American people, need to revisit our routes and purge our authoritarian federal government, in pursuit of freedom, liberty, and justice. I have links to all 50 states petitions, and most of their duplicates here:


    This is a historical movement that now has over a MILLION supporters. Do what’s right, America. Let’s get our freedom back!

  13. Kally

    @ Civil Dialogue and I Fight: There are more than 311 million people in the United States. Even if 1 million people have signed these petitions, that is still less than 1% of Americans.

    And I am not telling anyone “If you don’t like it, leave” – the signers of the petitions are saying they don’t like it and they want to leave. I am merely offering to help them pack.

    The government of the United States is not perfect and there are a lot of things that can and should be addressed. But not one of these people have made or signed a petition to request those changes or to work together as a nation to make the country better. No – they are throwing tantrums and saying that because things aren’t exactly the way they want them to be, they want to leave America – and if we don’t want them to leave, we will give in to all of their demands instantly.

    The Founding Fathers at least tried to work with the government of England.

    If you do not love this country enough to stick with it during the tough times – then by all means, don’t let me or anyone else stop you from leaving.

    If you have so little care and concern for this country and your fellow citizens that instead of honoring the votes of the majority, you feel the need to threaten this country and your fellow citizens that you are going to create your own country – then go, create your own country.

    If you are going to act like a child, you deserve to be treated like a child – go to your room and pout. Tell the adults that you hate them and want to run away. But don’t be surprised when the adults call you bluff.

    If the 0.4% of you who are so unwilling to make any sacrifices for this country want to pout and whine and stamp your feet and run away – let me help you pack your bags. But don’t for one minute expect me to believe that there is anything honorable in what you are doing or that what you are doing in any way, shape, or form even remotely resembles the sacrifices of our Founding Fathers.

    Signing a petition to secede from the United States, to stop being American, is not a joke, it is not an attention getter, it is not something that should be done lightly. It is one of the most serious actions any American can take. And if you sign it, you had better be serious about it – because anything else makes a mockery of this country and those who have and will sacrifice and die for it.

    So put your money where your mouth is: either leave – or get involved and work to make this country that you claim to love the best country it can be.

  14. Know your history

    All this talk of who is and is not a traitor seems to be ignoring one important factor: it all depends on what side you are on.

    The Declaration of Independence was an act of treason against the British Crown and those who signed it knew that. They were standing up for their ideals and beliefs, but in doing so were traitors to their government. Once they won and their desire to no longer be British was granted to them, they were considered patriots of their new country, but there was never any doubt that they were traitors to their old country.

    When the South seceded from the North, they were well aware that they were no longer citizens of the United States of America, hence the name of their new country “The Confederate States of America.” Those in the South who wanted to secede knew they were committing treason and were no longer citizens of the country they were leaving.

    Americans view Benedict Arnold as a traitor and George Washington as a hero. The British view it the other way around. The South thought Lee was a hero, the North thought he was a traitor.

    If secession is granted, those who leave will be/may be heroes to their new country. However, by asking to leave (secede) from the United States, they are asking to forfeit their citizenship and to no longer be Americans. You cannot be a patriot of a country of which you are not a citizen.

    Washington was a traitor to Great Britain. If the bid for Independence had failed, his property and life would have been forfeit. It is only because the Revolutionary War was successful that he is a hero of the new country that was formed.

    The attempt of the South to secede was not successful. Lee is revered in certain circles in the South, and while the language of “traitor” is toned down when discussing him in school, he is certainly not considered a hero of the United States. Those who signed to secede from the United States were held accountable for their actions and many of them did end up forfeiting property and/or rights as a consequence of their actions.

    Those who wish to forfeit their citizenship and secede from the United States are not patriots of the United States. You cannot be a patriot of a country of which you are not a citizen.

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