Yes, just a day after President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House, some Louisiana residents (we’re guessing not a good representative of the population as a whole) petitioned the White House’s website called “We the People” asking for permission from the President for Louisiana to peacefully withdraw from the United States and operate under its own government. The “We the People” site is accessible to anyone on the White House’s official .gov site. It was created to allow people a better way to engage with the government and to foster more of a feeling of having a means to be a part of what is going on in Washington. Anything can be suggested, and then people can view petitions online and choose to sign them if they wish. The White House says that in order to get a response, you must have 25,000 unique signatures within a month’s time; otherwise, the petition goes to the wayside. If you do pull off the magic number, the petition goes into a special queue for response from the White House, and the site says that everyone that signs such a petition gets an email response on the matter.
The petition got a couple hundred signatures so far, so it looks like they will fall a little short of the 25,000 they need by December 7 for consideration. It also helps to point out that anyone can sign the petition regardless of whether they are a resident of Louisiana or not, so the signatures received probably are not even an indication of a grass roots movement in the Pelican State.
A lot of conspiracy websites are sensationalizing this simple act of a few as some kind of indication that the United States is heading for a mass secession similar to the Civil War. The truth is that any one of us can post a petition on that site as we see fit; that is part of the glory of living in a “free” society. The First Amendment provides people the ability to express such ideas without fear of persecution or punishment. But that doesn’t mean that this is soon to become a nationwide movement. More likely, someone disenfranchised with Obama’s reelection win was looking for a way to get some attention.
Looks like it worked so far.