NASHVILLE — Perhaps unhappy over Democratic President Barack Obama’s reelection last week, some 22,000 people have signed an online White House petition asking that Tennessee be allowed to secede from the United States.
“We petition the Obama administration to: Peacefully grant the State of Tennessee to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government,” says the petition filed with the White House’s “We the People” program.
The Huffington Post reported earlier today that residents in more than 30 states had filed secession petitions with the “We the People” program on the White House website.
Meanwhile, others jumped in with their own petitions seeking to strip the citizenship and “exile” the would-be secessionists.
It takes 25,000 signatures for a petition of any type to meet a signature “threshold,” according to the White House website. If a petition meets the threshold, then “it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response,” the White House website says.
However, it doesn’t say what type of answer.
While the petitions don’t directly link the secession requests to Obama, they’ve been filed since last Tuesday’s election.
At last count, 22,179 people had signed the Tennessee petition. A check of several hundred showed many saying they were were from Tennessee. But dozens of others signing the Tennessee petition were from states ranging from Texas to Ohio to Idaho while yet more listed no state at all.
It was unclear why the out-of-staters were signing the petition on behalf of Tennesseans.
David Smith, a spokesman for Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, offered no immediate response to Times Free Press questions on what the governor thinks about the petition.
But in Texas, where some 77,000 signers have tripled the threshold, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Perry told the Dallas Morning News “Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it. But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government. Now more than ever our country needs strong leadership from states like Texas.”
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...