Since President Obama won re-election, people all over the country have been submitting petitions to a White House website asking the federal government to let their states secede from the Union. Most of them would make an English teacher weep, including the one from Oregon, which at last report had attracted more than 11,000 signatures. We reprint it here in all its illiterate glory:
"With the Federal Govenrment [sic] increasing it's [sic] size much larger than our Founding Father's [sic] intended, and it's [sic] abuse of power trumping [sic] over the rights of State constitutions, and the forcing of unconstitutional laws over it's [sic] own citizens, the people of Oregon would like the chance to vote on leaving the Union immediately. "The Federal Government has imposed policies on Oregon that are not in Oregon's best intrests, [sic] and we as citizens would respectively [sic] and peacably [sic] seperate [sic] ourselves from a tyranical [sic] Government who [sic] cares nothing about creating a sustainable future for our children."
Okay, the prose isn't up to Thomas Jefferson's standards, but the writer's viewpoint comes through loud and clear. It's the viewpoint of a five-year-old who's losing a game and announces tearfully that he's taking his ball and going home.
The question of whether a state can leave the Union was settled back in the 1860s by a little fracas called the Civil War. But let's assume just for fun that Oregon was allowed to become its own separate country.
Judging from the rhetoric about "tyranical govenrments," we strongly suspect the signers of that petition are conservatives. But most of the population of Oregon is not conservative. There isn't a single Republican holding a statewide office, and a Republican presidential candidate hasn't carried Oregon since 1984.
So before long the Oregon secessionists would be throwing a hissy fit about submitting to the tyranny of Portland and the Valley. The only remedy would be for them to secede again and establish the Republic of South and Eastern Oregon.
But that republic would include a couple of liberal enclaves such as Bend and Ashland. And pretty soon they'd get sick and tired of groaning under the oppressive heel of the right-wingers in Baker City, Burns and LaGrande. They'd secede and form the People's Democratic Republic of South-Central Oregon.
But then not all of Bend is liberal, and after a while we could expect part of town to split off and call itself the Sovereign Nation of Eastern Bend. And ultimately we'd see secession fever spreading down to the neighborhood level.
The alternative to such nonsense, obviously, is for all Americans to understand that in a representative democracy you don't always have things your way, and when you lose an election you accept the decision of the voters and try harder next time.
If they can't see things that way, all the secessionists from Oregon and everywhere else in America should get together, move to a remote island somewhere and call themselves the Republic of Moronistan. We'd gladly give them THE BOOT to help them on their way.