How would Old Glory look with 30 stars instead of 50? As far-fetched as it may sound, the White House might soon be forced by its own rules to examine the question.
On Nov.7, the day after President Barack Obama was re-elected, the White House’s website received a petition asking the administration to allow Louisiana to secede.
If 25,000 people sign the petition by Dec. 7, it will “require a response” from the Obama administration, according to published rules of the White House’s online “We the People” program. (RELATED: Website petition to Obama: Please create “Do Not Kill” list)
The Louisiana petition has collected more than 12,300 signatures in four days. A separate effort from Texas has 15,400 supporters.
Similar petitions from 18 other states began arriving Nov. 9, bringing the total — for the moment — to 20.
The White House website publicly displays petitions that have attracted at least 150 signers. (RELATED: Obama petition initiative bashed as unethical campaigning with taxpayer resources)
“Michael E” from the New Orleans suburb of Slidell penned the initial proposal — the website doesn’t provide last names — in which he asked the Obama administration to “[p]eacefully grant the State of Louisiana to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”
His entire petition consisted of excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” one portion read, “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.”
“Micah H” from Arlington, Texas submitted the petition on behalf of the Lone Star State.
“The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending,” he wrote.
Texas, he added, “maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world,” making it “practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union.”
What began as a pair of parallel stunts appears to have gathered steam. Other than Louisiana and Texas, states with secession-related petitions pending on the White House website now include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee.
While most of the petitions mimic the Louisiana effort’s tribute to the Declaration of Independence, Montana’s and Florida’s focus on the same quoted line from Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
And a few abandon the Founding Fathers entirely, going off instead on their own less poetic tangents.
“The Federal Government has imposed policies on Oregon that are not in Oregon’s best intrests [sic],” reads one submitted by “Kristopher W” of Tillamook, Oregon. “[A]nd we as citizens would respectively and peacably [sic] seperate [sic] ourselves from a tyranical [sic] Government who cares nothing about creating a sustainable future for our children.”
“just like in 1860,” reads one of the two petitions submitted on behalf of the citizens of Georgia, “the south secede [sic] from the union.”
“kyle. r” from Cornelia, Georgia added only that in “2012 the state of georgia [sic] would like to withdraw from the USA.”
“Jason B” from Harrowgate, Tennessee volunteered only a few words to describe his request for a license to secede. “Helping the people of Tennessee,” he wrote. And nothing more.
The petitions that followed those from Louisiana and Texas have attracted between 300 and 4,000. Their chances to land on a White House staffer’s desk, probably for a polite guffaw, will expire between Dec. 9 and Dec. 11.
The White House did not respond to emails seeking comment.
This article was updated shortly after publication to include a petition from Arkansas.