Massachusetts is the latest state to join the roster of places around the country looking to secede from the United States and form its own government after President Barack Obama was reelected on November 6.
Until Wednesday, the Bay State was just about one of the last places to be added to a list of petitions created on the White House’s “We The People Forum” on their website.
The platform was created to provide “a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country.”
Currently, the biggest issue people seem to have is staying part of the United States.
If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.
According to the White House petition rules, Massachusetts needs to rack up an additional 23,618 signatures in order to be even acknowledged.
So far, 1,382 people have signed the Massachusetts petition, which would effectively allow Bay Staters to disband from the U.S.
“Peacefully grant the State of Massachusetts to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own government,” the petition reads.
The petition, which was started by someone with the name “Brad M.,” from Amesbury, follows the lead of 33 other states including Washington, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and California.
Unsurprisingly, the trend in online petitions asking President Obama to allow states to secede started with some of the Southern communities, including Texas, in what is said to be a revolt against his reelection.
Professor Graham Wilson, chairman of Boston University’s Political Science Department, called the petitions “silly.”
“I think what it goes to show is the extreme depth of animosity people on the Right Wing have had towards Obama,” he said, noting some of the petitions are likely a joke.
Wilson said the “strange” reaction to Obama’s reelection is also indicative of how many people might think the country is changing too much.
“It’s the sense that the country is changing and passing out of the control of people,” he said. “It’s the notion that the country is slipping from our grasp and is an intense reaction on the reelection.”
He said in some instances, petitions were probably created due to the fact that Obama “isn’t white.”
“These people, I think, for some of them, they are against him because of his race,” Wilson said. “It’s all very silly…. you always know there are people that feel this way, but I am surprised by the silliness of the sentiment.”
Wilson compared dissatisfaction for Obama with revolts against President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930’s.
“They thought [Roosevelt] destroyed the country and that he was wrecking the American system. They thought he was a communist and fascist— or both,” he said.
The irony, however, said Wilson, is now Roosevelt is remembered as a great president who saved the economy.
“Who knows, maybe in the future people will say [the same] about Obama,” he said.
Due to the influx of the petitions, which have essentially gone viral as more news agencies have started to report on them, the White House could adjust the rules accordingly.
“Since the White House has never featured anything like this, we expect to make some adjustments to improve the platform based on how people use the system and your feedback,” according to White House staff. “We may change the signature threshold so that the workload for responding to petitions in a timely fashion is manageable.”
In the meantime, for every petition that has started asking for states to be able to secede from the U.S., counter-petitions have been created, too.
One petition calls for all of those who signed on to tear away from the country to be banned as American citizens. Another petition was more drastic.
“Deport everyone that signed a petition to withdraw their state from the United States Of America,” it read.