The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 24th

NC petitioners seek break from America

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North Carolina seceded from the Union more than 150 years ago.

But if petitioners have their way, the Tar Heel state will again separate from the United States.

PETITIONS

Citizens have submitted a variety of petitions on the White House website:

  • Establish new legal system of motorcycle riding “Judges” who serve as police, judge, jury and executioner all in one.
  • Peacefully grant the Planet of Alderaan to withdraw from the Galactic Empire (and create its own new government).
  • Provide University graduates ability to trade their diplomas back for 100 percent tuition refunds.

The N.C. petitioners are not alone.

As of Wednesday night, citizens have petitioned for each of the 50 states to peacefully secede from the U.S. through the White House’s website, petitions.whitehouse.gov.

North Carolina’s secession petition, which has collected more than 27,000 signatures since its creation on Nov. 9, was drafted by conservative blogger, columnist and Pittsboro resident Randy Dye.

“I think states need to become independent again like our forefathers had planned,” Dye said. “The federal government is too huge to wrap my mind around. I think we need to bring it back to the states to the point where … (state) representatives can control (each state’s) finances better and keep track of them versus having someone in Washington do it.”

Dye says while he knows the petition is “absolutely going to go nowhere,” he drafted the petition on principle, citing strong objections to the federal government’s deficit spending and mounting debt.

According to an e-mail from a White House official, every petition that receives more than 25,000 signatures will be reviewed and issued an official response from President Barack Obama’s administration.

As of Wednesday night, petitions from seven states — including North Carolina — exceeded the signature threshold needed to merit a response from the White House.

Among these petitions, Texas has garnered the most support, with almost 104,000 signatures.

Political analysts say the petitioners are likely more concerned about voicing their disapproval with the Obama administration than actually following through with secession.

Mark Jones, professor and chairman of the political science department at Rice University in Texas, said the level of support for Texas’ petition likely stems from residents’ concerns about the outcome of the presidential election.

He added that the state has always had a self-governing mentality.

“Texas has the history of being a formerly independent country — there is often a mistaken belief that we somehow have an additional privilege or ability that other states don’t have,” he said.

Harry Watson, a UNC history professor and former director of the University’s Center for the Study of the American South, said he could not recall a secession movement that began with an effort to petition the federal government.

“The Confederate States did not petition the United States government when they left the nation — they just did it,” he said.

Contact the desk editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

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