Didn’t we settle this question 147 years ago?
That was when we had this thing called the Civil War. That was when, on April 9, 1865, the Confederate Army surrendered. That was when the Southern states were told, no, they couldn’t form their own country.
But lately, it seems that all it took was the re-election of a black president to make a lot of white people set history aside, as well as practicality and common sense.
Making the rounds now are petitions from disgruntled people in 30 states asking for permission to secede from the United States and form their own separate countries. So far, the petitions have come from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and the slave states of the Old Confederacy, plus Arizona, and even blue states like California and New York.
Most of the petitions, however, have only a few thousand signatures. The biggest leader here, though, is Texas; nearly 70,000 people had signed at last count.
Understand that these 70,000 signatures – if they do indeed represent real people – only comprise .0027 of Texas’ population.
Understand that the only reason that petition will be reviewed is because it meets the 25,000 signature threshold that President Obama’s administration requires.
But I can save the Texas neo-secessionists some time right here. The answer is going to be no.
First of all, the Presidential Proclamation that declared peace between the United States and Texas in 1866 makes it clear that no state has the right to leave the Union.
Secondly, the fact that some people believe that all they need do is collect some signatures on a petition to get their way not only reflects their simple-mindedness, but their oversized expectations of white privilege.
It’s those expectations that make some folks believe that they can change the rules of the game whenever the game doesn’t go their way.
Never mind that we had a national election in which Obama not only won the Electoral College, but 51 percent of the popular vote as well.
Never mind that they didn’t talk secession when their favorite son, George W. Bush, ran up the nation’s credit card with two unfunded wars and an unpaid-for tax cut.
Never mind that, when the Bush administration initiated the Patriot Act and started the Transportation Security Administration, chances are most of these neo-secessionists saw it as protection from terrorists and not an assault on their liberties.
Yet they believe they’re entitled to their selective amnesia and to the right to remake reality in a way that preserves their advantage.
In a way, they come by it honestly.
Republican lawmakers in a number of states tried to halt the changing demographic reality by passing voter identification laws and by restricting the days that people could vote early.
That move, however, backfired. Black and Latino voters turned out in droves for Obama.
Then there was Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, whose campaign, for weeks, clung to polls that told him that he was winning, and that all the rest of the polls didn’t reflect reality.
As it turned out, the real polls indeed reflected reality – a multicultural reality that Romney didn’t reckon with, and one that the neo-secessionists are refusing to come to grips with.
So now, they believe they can create a new reality – one that involves fighting the Civil War all over again.
It’s a delusion that even now embarrasses Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who first floated the idea back in 2009 as the Tea Party came into being. He had to make a statement saying that Texas would not be leaving the union.
It’s a delusion that ignores global realities, because being your own country means more than simply having a balanced budget and guns. It means being able to survive in a world economy, which not only means having resources, but being able to relate to different people in different cultures.
The fact that some people want their states to secede because Obama won means they automatically fail that test.
These petitions aren’t going to go anywhere. Yet on one level, they’re worrisome. They’re worrisome because that kind of extremism can lead to other, more dangerous forms of extremism.
Of course, the people who are so upset with Obama’s win have options. They can immigrate to another country. Or they can wait four years and hope that their guy wins the Oval Office – which is what most sane people tend to do.
But what they can’t do is pack up and take their state with them. No matter how much their notions of white privilege tells them that they can.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com.