Maintaining a healthy democracy should involve a vigorous and open debate about national priorities, the Obama Administration said late Friday, but seceding from the union isn’t an option.
That statement from White House Office of Public Engagement Director Jon Carson came in response to a slew of petitions on the administration’s We the People website from citizens asking permission for their states to secede from the union in the wake of President Obama’s November reelection.
Secession petitions came from every state in the union but only nine of them crossed the website’s 25,000 signature threshold to receive an administration response. One secession petition from Texas garnered more than 125,000 signatures, making it one of the most popular ever posted to the 16-month old website.
“Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States ‘in order to form a more perfect union’ through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government,” Carson wrote. “They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot -- a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.”
The White House also responded Friday to We the People petitions seeking the president’s impeachment and asking that pay be withheld from all members of Congress and the president until the so-called fiscal cliff was avoided. That response from Brian Deese, deputy director of the National Economic Council, outlined the New Year’s Eve agreement struck between the White House and Senate Republicans that averted a draconian and self -imposed mix of tax hikes and spending cuts.
Another administration response Friday was to a tongue-in-cheek petition asking the government to immediately begin construction on a Star Wars-style Death Star. President Obama has no interest in investing $850 quadrillion on a Death Star in these tight budget times, the response noted, adding “we’re working hard to reduce the deficit not expand it.”
The White House is especially wary of building a super weapon with one well-known and fatal flaw. The response went on to note that the United States has already invested in a football field-sized object in outer space that’s focused on scientific research rather than oppressing rebels. It’s called the International Space Station.