By Jeff Mullin
CNHI News Service
I’m going to take my ball and go home. Sound familiar? I think we all knew a kid like that when we were growing up — one who had all the toys, but didn’t react well when things didn’t go their way. They would bring the ball to the playground for a game, but if they lost, they’d storm off in a huff, ball in hand.
In the wake of President Obama’s re-election, we are seeing a similar reaction coming from many parts of the country.
I was afraid Oklahoma would be made to look silly in the national media when it was announced someone was circulating a petition to have the Sooner State secede from the union in protest of the election. As of Tuesday, the petition had drawn 12,000 signatures.
Then I read that similar petitions are been circulated in all 50 states. So every state in the country looks silly. That’s good, I guess. I suppose idiocy loves company.
Should all 50 states secede, we’ll be left with the United States of Nothing.
Instead, we will become 50 separate nations, which should bear names like “East Crybaby,” “Whineistan” or “Soreloserovakia.”
Come on people. Grow up. Like it or not, the American voters have spoken, and they chose to retain President Obama for the next four years. That’s the way our system works.
That is one of the things that separates us from many other nations, who often settle their political differences with blood in the streets, rather than ink on a ballot. We are supposed to be the world’s shining example of democracy, of the quadrennial selection of our country’s supreme leader resulting in a seamless and bloodless transfer of power.
Some people, however, are simply bad losers.
Ironically, these petitions are appearing on the White House’s website under the “We the People,” initiative, formed in 2011 to give Americans a chance to have their voices heard.
That’s all well and good, but whatever happened to making your voice heard at the ballot box?
Texas’ secession petition currently has more than 100,000 signatures, though a counter-petition has been signed by 5,000 people in Austin seeking to secede from Texas and remain part of the U.S.
It’s all patently ridiculous, of course. No one is going to secede from anything. It’s just people letting off steam after their horse lost the biggest political race of them all.
As you might expect, counter petitions have been filed against the secessionists.
One asks the president to sign an executive order that each American citizen who signed a secession petition have their citizenship stripped and be peacefully deported. Another petitioner is willing to let any states that so wish to leave the union, but not before they pay their share of the national debt.
This whole bit of silliness about secession is symptomatic of the mood in the country in recent years. The ideas of compromise, working together, give and take, seem an anathema in politics these days.
We have been through secession before. In 1860 and 1861, following the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, 11 states seceded. Before the rift was patched, more than 600,000 men died. Secession is nothing to joke about.
The president’s re-election has prompted people to do other odd things.
An election night student gathering at the University of Mississippi featured shouted racial slurs and the burning of Obama campaign signs. A man in Florida flew the American flag upside down after election day, a traditional symbol of distress. Another guy in Florida killed himself with an overdose of drugs because he was so upset about the election.
An Arizona woman was so unhappy about her husband’s failure to vote for Republican challenger Mitt Romney (she apparently blamed him for the president’s win), that she chased her spouse around a store parking lot in the family’s Jeep, finally running him over — fracturing his pelvis, tearing an artery and possibly disfiguring him for life.
OK people, let’s all take a deep breath, step back and take a moment to return to sanity. Candidates have been winning and losing elections in this country for more than 200 years. The union continues to stand.
On NBC’s “Today” program recently, a group of immigrants raised their right hands and took the oath to become U.S. citizens.
They and the hundreds of thousands of people like them who become citizens every year do so because they view this as the land of opportunity, the greatest nation on earth.
All this silliness about secession demeans this nation and all of its citizens. Come on people, let’s move on. We’re better than this.
JEFF MULLIN is senior writer of the Enid News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.