The slap heard ‘round the states

Olivia Talbott

Staff Columnist


Fear has been invoked and pandemonium has erupted.

If you haven’t witnessed it, then you must’ve deactivated all of your social networking accounts, avoided all verbal statements made within an earshot of you the past seven days, and rejected your response of senses to all media sources in existence.

The election was called on Nov. 6. The winner was Barack Obama. And while quite a few people aren’t thrilled about that, it’s important that Americans assert themselves as only Americans would.

Riots broke out, people dusted off the old soap box in the closet and everyone and their grandma, boyfriend, fourth cousin and ex-best friend from third grade took to their social media accounts to hash out their own piece of the chaos pie. The only problem was that there could only be so much.

It’s been a week, but people are still posting polarizing opinions and links to response articles. In a week, we have learned more about those we follow on Twitter and our Facebook “friends” than any of us truly wished to know. The news has run rampant with lasting remnants of anger stemming from those in opposition to the re-election of our current Commander in Chief. “United we stand, divided we fall” used to be a motto that united the American people. But in a time where Drake defines the motto of how to live life, we see truth in that we “can’t see (our fellow man) ‘cause the money in the way,” we all wonder where we can go from here.

I was raised to believe that coming together with humanity was the only way to create effective development. The greatest American ideology is that we are masters on the frontier of what it means to be resilient. On behalf of this socially engrained doctrine, many of our fellow Americans have decided that there is a new answer to the problem and it doesn’t include compromise or coming together: Secession.

Thirty-five states, including Virginia, have deemed themselves capable of two of the most popular American adages: standing on their own two feet and picking themselves up by their bootstraps. Their petition for succession has been achieved through the Obama administration’s “We the People” section on the White House website, which allows citizens to file petitions. Over 25,000 individuals have voiced their opinion through petition with the justification that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.”

There is no doubt that our government is in a place where the options of survival have become either limited or destructive and pits the American people against their own.

A study by the American Legislative Exchange Council conducted in April of this year found Virginia to have the third greatest economic outlook in the country, trailing only Utah and South Dakota. The study also showed the commonwealth to have the eighth greatest economic performance. If any state could stand on its own, Virginia has good numbers to make a case.

These petitions stand in their own right and should be acknowledged. Neither I, nor anyone who has not signed the petition, can fully grasp the complainants’ reasoning for supporting secession.

Are they a proclamation of independent thought? Or a modern demand for a new and improved Declaration of Independence? Do those who stand behind the petitions simply want attention? Or do these states wish to abandon their fellow Americans in regards to the circumstance (which is largely difficult)? To answer these questions, we must consider the facts.

Each petition appeared following Election Day. Louisiana was the first state to petition for secession, although Texas has proven the most successful in gaining signatures quickly, almost tripling the 25,000 signatures needed for a response from administration in less than a week.

In days ahead, it will become the slap heard around the states. Ohio and Michigan, the two worst economic performers of years 2000-2010, have at it. Run wild and free on your own. Your fellow and future ex-Americans wish you well. We are paying attention and there will be a response, somehow, someway. I don’t wish to take great liberty in harsh judgment. I only wish to remind my fellow Americans of what makes us who we are, our unity and belief in our strength to rebuild ourselves.

If President Obama does respond to these petitions, then hopefully those who haven’t yet found anything good about his leadership will view him differently.

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