COUNTERPOINT: Texans petition government for secession
POINT COUNTER POINT: STATE SECESSION
Following the election, a rash of states decided that they wanted to show their disapproval of Barack Obama's re-election by petitioning for secession using the petition section of the White House's website. Though many states have petitioned to secede from the country, Texas' secession fever has taken on a whole life of its own.
The Texas petition has received 119,103 signatures, surpassing the 25,000 signatures required to warrant a response from the government. Some of the reasons it gives for seceding are “blatant abuses of our rights” by organizations such as the Transportation Security Administration and National Defense Authorization Act and “economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending."
I have no problems with the concept of secession in general, and I'm not naive enough to think everything the government does is supportable and we should just blindly follow our leadership. There may come a time when there are justifiable reasons for states to secede, but I don't think that disgruntlement with an eight percent unemployment rate and the fact that a stranger has to feel you up for the sake of the country's overall security are sufficient reasons.
Though there is very little threat that these petitions will actually accomplish anything, I find them disconcerting for a couple of reasons. First, the petitions show the increasing polarity of our country and our inability to live with people who disagree with us.
Part of the beauty of living in the U.S. is we have so many people from divergent backgrounds; we are constantly forced to confront people whose beliefs who differ from ours and who challenge us to rethink our own beliefs. Especially in the university setting, we come in contact with people who see the world in a very different way than we do daily.
Though we live in a politically polarized society in which Republicans often see Democrats as godless and immoral and Democrats see Republicans as ignorant and backwards, its good we live in the same country and we are forced to work with each other because we challenge each others conceptions of what is good and right.
In a hypothetical America where conservatives lived in their own country and liberals lived in a separate country, both sides would just spiral into their own form of crazy fundamentalism.
The second reason that the petitions were disconcerting to me is that they show the lack of seriousness Americans have toward government participation.
Generally speaking, I think most Americans feel as if they are powerless in having a voice in our government. The website in which the petitions were filed was made for the express purpose of providing Americans with a new way to be involved in their government, and the secession petitions (along with a string of other ridiculous petitions such as demanding Joe Biden be Guy Fieri's sidekick on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives ) are an insult to our system. What is supposed to be a new platform for change has become a parody.
State secession is not inherently evil, but Texas and other conservative states' reasons for secession is childish and insulting. Texans often pride themselves on their independent, no-nonsense persona, but it demands a lot more courage to take the time to engage with and understand someone who is different from you than it does to hold onto deeply held beliefs.
Janna Gentry is an English senior.