A friend called from overseas: “Congratulations on Obama’s reelection,” he said. “But isn’t it a shame that so many states plan to withdraw from America now?”
It is easy to see how foreigners might be confused by the flurry of secession petitions posted on the White House website, which promises an official response to any issue that gets more than 25,000 signatures.
Seeking to sever ties to America might sound like an extreme response to Obama’s reelection. But there they are, tucked in between the demand for an official Michael Jackson holiday (275 signatures) and the urgent request for Obama to nationalize the Twinkie industry (3,244).
What should we make of the fact that petitioners from all 50 states have requested permission to secede? Who are those 3,964 Massachusetts residents who want to form a breakaway republic? Do they plan to join up with the 3,566 defectors in Connecticut or the 4,596 rebels in Rhode Island?
My fiancé sees it as a sign of how polarized politics has become. A healthy democracy, he says, should be like a good marriage. The idea of the union should be bigger than any one disagreement. No matter how annoyed we are, we can’t threaten to walk out after every spat.
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