As ill-considered movements go, the petition signed by nearly 34,000 Georgians supporting secession had about as much chance of happening as a revival of the XFL, or a second presidential run by Michael Dukakis.
Still, the Obama Administration had no choice but to address the nascent secession movement as eight Southern states garnered more than 25,000 signatures — the minimum threshold for petitions on the White House site that, when reached, mandates an official response.
“In a nation of 300 million people — each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs — democracy can be noisy and controversial,” said Jon Carson, director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, in a statement released Monday — nearly 152 years to the day of Georgia’s withdrawl from the Union. “But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart.”
Altogether more than more than 350,000 estranged Americans signed the petitions seeking to “peacefully … withdraw from the United States and create its own new government.”
One of the signatories, Canton-area consultant Danny Dukes, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in November that he was “fed up with the way things are.”
“We want progress and direction and leadership and don’t agree with the route things are taking,” Dukes said.
In December, North Carolina’s Public Policy Polling found that 42 percent of Georgia Republicans surveyed said they would be willing to secede from the union due to President Barack Obama’s re-election.
“I doubt that many Republicans would really secede if they had the choice … but their willingness to say they would is a measure of how unhappy they are over the president’s reelection,” PPP spokesman Tom Jensen said at the time.
A subsequent petition calling for the de-annexation of Atlanta from the state of Georgia failed to meet the minimum signature requirement and has been removed from the White House site.
Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and both Carolinas surpassed 25,000 signatures.
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