White House Schools ‘Secessionists’ On ‘Bloody’ History In Its Petition Response


The White House recently released a well-thought-out response to the 357,809 people who signed state secession petitions following President Barack Obama’s landslide re-election victory.

In a reply titled “Our States Remain United,” Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, was tasked with reasoning with the unreasonable. He had to find polite ways to explain to those seeking to dismantle the Union that their grievances are petty, misdirected and ineffective.

Here’s my read-between-the-lines interpretation of the official White House secession response:

1. If You’re Going to Raise a Ruckus, Make Sure It’s Something Worth Raising a Ruckus About.

In the opening, Carson makes the point that Americans have it pretty good – even under the first black President:

…many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted.

People die for the rights U.S. citizenship grants you. In countries like Egypt, Libya, Myanmar and Syria, revolutionaries have perished while overthrowing dictators and installing democracy. Meanwhile, the right to political dissent is held sacred in America. So, if you want to expend political energy fighting for change, why not drop useless grumblings and focus your attention instead on issues that will actually help society and make the nation stronger, like improving education, reducing gun violence or stopping the slow death of the planet Earth.

2. If You Don’t Like the Laws, Stop B*tching, Turn Off the T.V., and DO Something About It!

In the fourth paragraph Carson quoted an insightful – but overlooked – phrase Obama delivered in two recent speeches: Our Constitution requires us to engage in “the hard and frustrating – but necessary – work of self-government.”

Esquire writer Charles P. Pierce–who isn’t an Obama fan–wrote the following after hearing that brief but judicious phrase in Obama’s convention address:

…[Obama] tossed off a single line on Thursday night that did register, that had a resonance and a purpose…There is a reason why conservatives talk about ‘government’ and not ‘self-government’…We create ‘the government’ we have. ‘The government’ is not imposed from without…Its proper operation is our responsibility. If we do not like the way it operates, we do the hard and frustrating and necessary work to change the way it does.

Enough said. Government doesn’t threaten us. We ARE government. If you believe your ideas are valid, prepare to engage in self-government in more meaningful ways than projecting your fears onto Obama and calling for dissolution of a Union that would carry enormous consequences you haven’t adequately considered. You just might learn something about government in the process.

This lesson applies equally to arm-chair progressives who refuse to notice or acknowledge how Obama has been busting his a** in Washington the last four years.

3. The Union Is So Essential – So Permanent – It Even Supersedes Individual Rights.

It doesn’t sound pretty – or fair – but the idea that the Union comes before the individual has a historical basis.

Carson quotes Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address in his reply, excerpting the part that says “in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution[,] the Union of these States is perpetual.”

Yes, our Union of States is so fixed and permanent that it has already survived a bloody Civil War – so why stop now?

What Carson doesn’t acknowledge is Lincoln said in the same 1861 speech that he had no intention of interfering with Southern slave owners because the Union was too important to disrupt. Lincoln said:

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so…You [secessionists] have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it.’

Slavery had to die for a just democracy to survive — but even Lincoln was willing to postpone its end to hold the nation together.

4. Secession Didn’t Work Out Well The First Time, Now Did It?

Let’s keep this one simple: Carson wrote about the last secession attempt in our nation’s history:

…more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States.

The triumph of Union forces “vindicated” the principle of a permanent union? So, the Confederate forces lost their lives in vain, defending indefensible principles of slavery and secession. The takeaway is: Don’t make the same deadly mistake again just because your compatriots didn’t vote the same way you did.

5. Would It Kill You To See The Other Side’s Point Of View?

Caron lifted more words from the President in his closing, giving the sense that the whole message was drafted by Obama himself:

As President Obama said the night he won re-election, ‘We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future.’

The reason why Obama is so likeable is because, despite virulent attacks, he doesn’t hold grudges or nurse hatred. Instead, his attitude is persistently bi-partisan – in the true sense, not the “far-right-is-the-new-center” sense. He wants Americans to just pause, reflect and give each other a break.


It’s worth noting that the White House also directed this response to the nearly 30,000 people who signed the counter-petition seeking to deport secession signers, declining to give them any higher moral ground.

The lesson: Sometimes — *gasp* — conservatives might actually have a worthy contribution. Yes, they’re wrong most of the time these days, especially when it comes to questions of science and who bears responsibility for the current debt. It’s hard for liberals to be patient and try to decipher what valid points conservatives may have amid all the bullsh*t. We have to try, however, because as the “Our States Remain United” response emphasizes, our fates are intertwined.


The 357,809 secession petition signatures came from Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Texas has by far the most signatures – 125,746.

This response follows other recent “We the People” petition replies that vetoed the “Death Star” idea and assured Piers Morgan continued U.S. residence despite his support of gun control.

Craving more? > Millions Of Americans Renounced GOP In 2012, Says Gallup

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