A five-year Marine veteran who just started college this fall in Arlington, Texas. An aircraft construction mechanic and his young bride — parents of two small kids in the suburbs of Tulsa, Okla. And, yes, the former owner of a topless car wash in Mobile, Ala., who says the government took his business away from him.
Meet the faces behind recent White House petitions asking the Obama administration to let go of three of America’s 50 states.
All 50 U.S. states are mentioned in similar petitions pending with the White House website’s “We the People” project. (RELATED: White House “secede” petitions reach 675,000 signatures, 50-state participation)
“I believe secession is a viable option,” University of Texas-Arlington freshman Micah Hurd told college newspaper The Shorthorn. His petition leads all others in support, with more than 106,000 signers.
Hurd laid out his reasons for floating a secession proposal, during an interview with KTVT-11, the CBS affiliate in Dallas. (RELATED: Will Texas secede? Petition reaches enough signatures to trigger White House review)
“We’ve got, in my opinion, blatant infringement of our rights by the TSA,” Hurd said. “And historically it is a slippery and dangerous slope when we start giving up rights and freedoms in the name of protection.”
“I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And that’s an oath I took as a Marine, but I think we’ve got more enemies to the Constitution in-country than we do out of the country.”
Matthew Morrison of Owassa, Okla. started a secession petition with his wife Misty. The couple have two small children.
The Morrisons’ petition has attracted 16,500 signatures, but a second Oklahoma effort has 8,500 — indicating there’s enough Sooner support for the 25,000 thumbs-up votes required to trigger a White House analysis and response.
“I’m not a right-wing extremist,” he said. “I just believe that our government should have very small amounts of power.”
Misty Morrison was more explicit.
“We have lost our morals and values as a nation,” she said. “They are gone.”
Citing the national debt, out-of-control government spending, and even Operation Fast and Furious, she railed against a federal government that she says is over-reaching.
“If we stay on the same road it’s going to be a one world government,” Misty said. “Our own government was running guns into Mexico.”
Derrick Belcher’s petition for Alabama secession gathered 25,000 signatures in five days — not quite Texas speed, but better than the nearly 70 competing efforts from the 49 other states.
“I don’t think the federal government is being fair to the American people,” Belcher told WTVY-4 in Dothan, Ala.
“I think they are being overbearing. They are taxing us to death, and they are taking away our freedoms at a breakneck speed.”
He said Alabama’s independence from Washington, D.C. isn’t just a pipe dream.
“I believe that they will have to take it seriously,” Belcher claimed, “because when 25,000 people speak up and say ‘This is what we want’ — I mean, they are making some noise.”
Secession, Belcher told the Press-Register, would allow states to opt out of welfare programs and other federal government entitlements.
“The people who want those handouts, it’ll force them to move to a different state,” he said. “It will consolidate working people and that’s how we turn things around.”
“I’m working poor. And I work — I’ve never taken a dime from the government. I’ll starve before I take a handout.”
And his former topless car wash in Mobile?
Belcher said city officials charged him with obscenity in 2001 after he ran the place for a decade. He still blames the government for killing his business.
“The government ripped my business away,” the secession advocate told the Press-Register, “and now they’re choking America to death with rules and regulations.”