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North Carolina petition to secede hits 29,000 signatures

North Carolina is at the forefront of a grassroots movement of individual states looking to secede, following President Barack Obama’s re-election, though some say the effort is futile.

After Obama’s re-election last week, more than 65 petitions in all 50 states have demanded succession, amassing 675,000 total signatures as of Wednesday. Although experts doubt there will be any lasting effects of the petitions—posted on White House website “We the People”—the Obama administration has said it will respond to petitions that garner more than 25,000 signatures within 30 days of the proposal. And as of Thursday evening, the North Carolina petition, filed Nov. 9, had almost 29,000 signatures. Also currently exceeding the 25,000 minimum are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas, whose petition has more than 100,000 signatures

The North Carolina petition cites a clause from the Declaration of Independence enumerating the right to abolish a government and start a new one in its lobby to the White House.

“We petition the Obama administration to peacefully grant the state of North Carolina to withdraw from the United States and create its own new government,” the petition states.

Randy Dye, creator of North Carolina’s secession petition, told television station WBTV News 13 that secession would give the people more personal control over their finances and religion. Dye, who lives in Pittsboro, N.C., is a conservative blogger.

The Chronicle could not reach Dye for comment.

Mac McCorkle, former Democratic political consultant and associate professor of the practice of public policy, attributes the secession attempt trend to the nation’s increasingly multicultural population. The rapidly changing demographics—a diminishing white and Protestant majority—is unnerving some people, he said. As the United States increasingly becomes a nation of minorities rather than a single majority, he expects similar uprisings to continue.

“We’re in for a phase of more manifestations of this,” he said. “People… feel the need to secede because they think they’ll never win again in America—that’s overwrought.”

In the News 13 interview, Dye noted that had Romney won, he likely would not have filed the petition—though he added that the secession attempts do not reflect any racial biases. He said he is concerned by what he perceives as Obama’s socialist agenda. The government can spend American taxpayer dollars freely without being wholly accountable, he contended, and that underlies the need for smaller government.

“It’s just going to come down to a point where there’s just more them than us,” he said. “There’s going to be more people that want a socialist government versus a republic.”

But Joseph Blocher, an assistant professor at the School of Law, said states have no legal basis for seceding. In the 1869 case Texas v. White, the Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession unconstitutional.

“I can’t imagine that there’s any serious scholar or court that would recognize a state’s unilateral right to secede from the country—it’s just not a legal option,” he said. “There’s nothing in the legal claims that deserves or demands a response from the White House.”

Politically, the surge of grassroots petitions will not have an impact, McCorkle said, adding that the movement is more reactionary than substantive.

“They want to secede, but I wonder if they want to keep their Social Security and Medicare benefits,” he said.

He added, however, that it is too soon to predict the nation’s political trajectory. Come 2014, the country could see a return to “traditional America” with Obama no longer contending for the presidential seat.

Dye admitted that successful secession is a long shot, saying that the movement is wishful ideology.

“I want to be realistic—I don’t think this is going to work,” he said.

Still, he said he stands behind the idea of the petition—that citizens have the right to stand up against the government.

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