The flag of the great state of Texas. Source: AustinFlag.com

BETWEEN THE LINES: I truly intended to steer clear of politics for this column. However, when I read about the secession effort set in motion this week in states that, by and large, voted for Mitt Romney, and then quickly spread in a few days, it induced me to stick my two cents into the fray as our nation becomes more sharply divided.

Have you heard about this post-Obama re-election foolishness? It’s even more outrageous than the lame excuses offered by embittered losers Mitt Romney, who said Obama gave gifts to liberal constituencies, and Paul Ryan, who said the urban vote hurt them. It’s even crazier than when Karl Rove went ballistic on election night and stubbornly refused to accept the Ohio voting results on the Fox News Channel.

The secession movement started in Texas — the reddest state — and, as of November 15, approximately 100,000 Lone Star residents had reportedly signed petitions requesting the peaceful withdrawal of their state from the union. Small numbers of citizens from every other state, including New York, quickly joined the movement and signed similar petitions asking to secede. Residents of a few states without a petition cheerfully signed one from another state.

They may do everything big in Texas, but this secession movement is hardly one of ’em. One hundred thousand is a drop in the bucket compared to the 26 million people in the nation’s second most populous state.

There’s no chance these sour-grapers will succeed in seceding, but if by some fluke Texas did, does that mean the Battle of the Alamo gets annulled? Can Mexico request a mulligan and get back the territory it lost in the 1836 conflict?

At least the state’s right-leaning Governor Rick Perry, who vied for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, and who lightheartedly called for his state to break away from the U.S. three years ago, opposes the secession movement. His press secretary told a reporter the governor rejects the current internet campaign and “believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it.”

Not willing to leave well enough alone, the press secretary then criticized “Washington’s tax and spend, one-size-fits-all mind set” and praised Perry’s economic policies.

Referring to themselves as the Texas Nationalist Movement, their petition reads: “Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.”

Petitions from other states refer to the Declaration of Independence to support their demand for independence: “…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.”

While most of the petitions come from states that supported Mitt Romney in the recent election, a few swing states and even some blue states, like New York and New Jersey, are also represented.

Within 24 hours of the Texas action, the secession issue mushroomed into a nationwide trend. Disappointed over the results of the recent presidential election, citizens from all 50 states, who are pessimistic about a second Obama term, feel that their state would be better off separated from the federal government. According to dailycaller.com, by the morning of Wednesday, November 14, an estimated 675,000 had signed petitions. However, only seven states have amassed more than 25,000 signatures each.

In all probability, the losers, and those who voted for them in the nation’s 53 previous presidential elections, weren’t too content with the outcomes either. Yet, except for one, which led to a Civil War and more than 750,000 dead and wounded Americans, the country survived and we managed to move on.

To offset the secession nuts, there’s an equally silly drive calling for President Obama to sign an executive order to strip the citizenship of and deport anyone who signed a petition to secede from the U.S.

That proposal makes sense for those who don’t like the way the government treats them. Maybe they should just get the hell out.

You don’t want to be part of the union — then go, you inconsequential sore losers!

Hasta la vista, baby!

Isn’t the nation polarized enough without a few jerks — with apologies to other jerks for lumping them in with these bozos — escalating our differences?

Get over it! If cry-baby secessionists don’t like the way things are or where the nation may or may not be headed, they should just leave. And I hope the proverbial Golden Door hits them in the ass on the way out. Incidentally, I know a few thousand people who’ll help ’em pack, then be there for the grand departure as they sail, drive, fly or walk away.

Perhaps it’s time to revive the inhospitable phrase overused by those who disagreed with 1960s Vietnam War protesters — America, love it or leave it!

The election’s over. After 236 years, Democracy and majority rule still work. (Maybe not so much in Congress, where 20 percent more than a majority is necessary to end a filibuster.) When all the votes are counted, a democracy, such as ours, relies on the willingness of its people to unconditionally, though not necessarily wholeheartedly, accept decisions when they lose. There’s no option in the U.S. Constitution for secession when a democratic decision is objectionable.

What’s their problem? Stop whining and suck on your sour grapes. Act like adults, not six-year-olds having tantrums.

You’ll get another chance in four years. Meanwhile, shut up and deal with it.

I only hope that more rational minds prevail and rebuke these secession factions. Anyway, what would they call their new republic? USPOP — the United States of Pissed Off People. Or, simply, the Disunited States.

Maybe it’s time to revive the words Rodney King uttered following the “not guilty” verdict for the four LAPD officers acquitted of beating him that sparked several days of riots in 1992: “Can’t we all just get along?”

Don’t forget, a sore loser makes winning that much more enjoyable!

Neil S. Friedman is a veteran reporter and photographer, and spent 15 years as an editor for a Brooklyn weekly newspaper. He also did public relations work for Showtime, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson. Friedman contributes a weekly column called “Between the Lines” on life, culture and politics in Sheepshead Bay.

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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  • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

    Honestly? I wish you had steered clear of politics this week, Neil! While you may think Romney supporters are sucking on sour grapes, I think this piece is mean spirited. If politics were a sport, you’d be kicked out for bad sportsmanship. And though I think those who call for succession are not the brightest people around, there’s no excuse for lumping all Romney supporters in with them, and quite dangerous to give them a “Love it or leave it” ultimatum. At this point, we should endeavor to bridge the divide, and lead by example – which, in my book, means civility and rising above such foolishness. Instead, it seems you’re stooping to their level, and despite my great respect for you otherwise, I find it disappointing.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      Really, there are better subjects to write about. Now, where did I put that secession paper?

    • levp

      But the subject of the article is (albeit unfortunate) reality. It is part of current events right now, therefore there will be no better time to shed light on it then right now.

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        i’ll remember this in 4 years hahaha. no i won’t i can’t remember 4 minutes back anymore…

    • Tinman

      You apparently missed the tongue-in-cheek mean spiritedness. And the reference to “love it or leave it” was a just to recall those who “patriotic” Americans who wanted us Vietnam war protesters to leave.
      The election wasn’t barely a week old when Romney, Ryan, Rove and Co. started pointing fingers. Is that civility?

      • levp

        You don’t have to go all the way back to Vietnam:
        Allen West Tells Liberal Leaders To “Get The Hell Out Of The USA”
        http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/01/28/allen_west_tells_liberal_leaders_to_get_the_hell_out_of_the_usa.html

        “Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America,” Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said at the Palm Beach County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner. West represents the district in the U.S. Congress.

      • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

        I didn’t miss it. Tongue in cheek or not, it’s still mean spirited, and Romney, Ryan, Rove and Co. are not exactly people whose examples I care to follow.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          Oh, I think it was, at worst, much ado about nothing. But Neil has a lot of company here, this story has been news fodder for days. Many of the other stories were similar in tone.

  • Old Sheepshead Hand

    You know what’s funny? One of the few times I identify a truly liberal bias in the mainstream media is how they paint with a broadbrush those who are conservative. Since the election, both the NY Times and the Washington Post have written pieces about how people on the right are out of their heads over losing…except the WaPost picked a woman who is so fringe that she bans Harry Potter from the household for being un-Christian, and the Times picks a Wyoming county commissioner who says Obama only won by fraud and a radio host who calls Americans who voted for Obama “parasites” (!!!).

    There are plenty of calm, level-headed people who disagree with a big role for government. But they make for bad copy.

    Now as for this secessionist thing – this is also a small slice of a small population taking full advantage of the Internet the same way they take to message boards and comments sections. And I sympathize with them to an extent. Let’s go back to 2004 and my early-mid 20′s. Boy was I upset that Bush won. Ridiculously, full of tears upset. I could not believe I had to live in the same country as those who supported Bush. Of course I was basing this on the people of the Internet – the fringe of the fringe of the fringe. And because I thought of your average Bush voter as a fascist jackboot thug ready to throw people like me in a death camp because I thought Saddam Hussein WASN’T behind 9/11 and because I’m OK with the gays, I wanted nothing to do with them. I wanted a USA flag with the red taken out, replaced with blue and I wanted a population transfer for those who disagreed. And I was serious in my head.

    Then Bush’s second term actually happened and of course I grew up a little more too. What a ridiculous sentiment I had. If Obama had lost, I’d have been upset but the way an adult should have been upset. Now there are plenty of adults who are upset about Obama winning the way I was upset about Bush winning, so I don’t know what their excuse is, but hell…you only have to be responsible for your own thoughts and feelings and emotions. So take a chill pill about those who need a chill pill.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      Good post. I never freaked out at these elections, except when I found out how poorly Pat Paulsen did…. In a way it’s okay: Bush was blamed for the 1st term, show me whatchoo got this time, but no excuses allowed now.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        Good thing that Paulsen didn’t win. He told a crowd at the Ice House a few weeks after the election that had he won, he had no plans to attend the inauguration, as Tuesday was his bowling night.

  • Old Sheepshead Hand

    Whoops. I mean “empathize with them”. Not “sympathize”. Big difference.

  • sdsd

    heard about that guy in florida that killed himself because of obamas re-election?

  • ConeyRecovers

    there is a petition for the people of NY to secede. dont think it will get much traction. this is the ultimate in refusing to accept defeat gracefully but I have the feeling that some people starting these petititons are more interested in keeping people MAD at each other so they can fundraise off their anger. Some on the hard right stand to lose major money if their base accepts they lost and moves on.

    • levp

      Those in New York who signed that petition should contemplate this: the guy whom our block owes the power being turned on, was a volunteer lineman from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), directly from California. His utility truck has been airlifted by U.S. Air Force (evil federal government).

      Seceding from union = no California and no USAF = no volunteer linemen with trucks = no electric power for you, stupid.

      • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

        The petition for NY to secede is actually a petition for NYC to secede from NYS – not from the union. Quite frankly, if that were put before me today, I’d probably sign it.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          Perhaps Gravesend should secede from Brooklyn along with Flatbush and New Utrecht, on the grounds that the 1894 merger was illegal, and our interests are disparate from the rest of the borough. Flatlands and New Lots can file their own, separate petitions if they so like.

          • ES

            Maybe we can secede from the hipsters and take back Brooklyn. That would be great!

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            They can keep the name Brooklyn. But we will be the county seat for Kings

          • levp

            Maybe Gerritsen Beach should secede. Then we can close the border (we’ll ask @Seetizen Trublood for advice), et voilà – no more Halloween bandits!

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Maybe we can cut it off from Brooklyn and it can slide down to near Breezy Point. Those two neighborhoods have so much in common.

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    In 4 years, if a Republican wins, you will see the exact same silliness and the same call for civility. However all you’ll have to do is exchange the left wing names with the right-wing names!

    • levp

      So, the only thing we need to do is to make sure that in 4 years a Republican doesn’t win…

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        you gonna ban the party? :)

        • Tinman

          Really, comrade? What are you, a McCarthyite? You think fluoride is a Communist conspiracy, too?
          Wake up and smell the century!!!!

        • levp

          No, no! They seem to be doing fine without banning ;-) Just keep re-defining rape, re-litigating women’s right to contraception, re-advocating self-deportation, etc., etc.

    • Tinman

      Sorry, Bruce, but Democrats didn’t carry on like this when they got cheated out of the 2000 election!

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        Are you kidding me? You really look at reality through a prism. How many times did I have to hear hear “He’s not MY President”… How many times did I have to hear that Bush cheated his way in in 2004 too? There were calls for assassination, calls for civil disobedience. You’ve got to be kidding me with that one. It was many times worse. You forget you guys’ Bush hatred so soon? There’s people STILL posting hate about 2000. It’s going to rival the Ranger fans chanting “Potvin sucks” 25 years after the guy retired!

        You either have a short memory, or a very close-minded one, sorry. Aw, it’s the usual closeminded crap: my side 100% right 100% of the time no matter what, never admit to anything my side never did anything wrong in its life, yeah you guys treated Bush like real gentlemen rah-rah. I’m tired of it.

      • ES

        You must be unfamiliar with Michael Moore.

        • Tinman

          Moore represents Democrats as much as Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly represent the GOP.

    • Guest

      That’s a big if. Who does the GOP have waiting in the wings?

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        They’re grooming me…. Government off our backs, economically and socially. There’s my platform in a broken sentence. They’re grooming me, by that I mean, they’re reminding me to cut my nails and use deodorant.

        • levp

          “and socially” – boom, you lost the Republican primary right there.

    • Tinman

      Win in 2016? I’m LMAOFOTF. Who does the GOP have waiting in the wings? The only way Republicans will retake the WH is if Obama gets involved in a war with–Canada!

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        You think you can predict 2016 already? wow. It’s true all those studies that say the human being so vastly overrates his own abilities!

        • Tinman

          Market will improve by 2016. There, I went out on a limb, just don’t have the funds to invest.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Can you make any specific recommendations?

          • Tinman

            Yes, but I can’t post them here. They have NOTHING to do with Sheepshead Bay!

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Unless one of us gets rich as a result. Then it is a local human interest story.

          • Tinman

            If I was promised a commission, I might be willing to recommend. But, definitely stay away from Hostess stock! That Twinkie will never recover.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!
  • Local Broker

    Ned why do you let this guy write this shit here?

    • Tinman

      It’s called an opinion column. You don’t have to agree or like it or read it. But thanks for reading my shit anyway.

      • Local Broker

        I know what it is but it doesnt mean that this has to be the place for you to spew garbage.

        • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

          i’m a little surprised it got printed if it was disapproved of…. And he refuses to publish my exciting article on “The Political Implications of Two Broke Girls”.

          • levp

            I’d read it… Any sex in it?

          • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

            That’s because it was just a video of your reaction to Two Girls One Cup, dubbed over with the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

          • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

            Good gosh, I had to look up that reference…. i mean, look it up in my extensive intellectual video collection, that is.

          • Local Broker

            Thats just not right.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Define it as socio-politicial and you might have Ned begging you for more.

            It’s the little things that make all the difference.

        • levp

          Indeed, only speech that agrees with you deserves to be heard.

          • Local Broker

            Not at all. I dont mind hearing opinions of others but this guy wrote this saying all conservatives are nut jobs. Hes sitting there writing this with his tongue out like a little kid himself. What he fails to understand is those people dont want to leave the US they just dont want to live in an Obama US. I just dont get if Ned didnt like it either why he published it.

          • Tinman

            Broker, where exactly did I write that “all conservatives are nut jobs?” You not not what you criticize.
            The heart of my column was poking fun at the nuts who want to secede. Remember what happened the last time that happened?
            If people don’t want to live in “an Obama US,” they should take a four year vacation and return when his second term is over. Let’s see them find a country where they’ll have all the freedom they have here!

          • Local Broker

            Your problem is you are ok with certain rights being taken away because we still have more than anyone else. Thats not the way it works. We as humans have natural rights that no one gives us and none can take away. There is no law i am aware of that give us the freedom to think whatever we want and believe in what we want along with our human right to protect ourselves. So when someone comes along and starts messing with our human rights people take offense to it. If you are willing to give away certain rights then maybe you should leave.

          • levp

            I lived through Bush’s 8 years – they can live through Obama’s.

            “Police say a woman who was upset over the outcome of the presidential election ran over her husband because he didn’t participate in his civic duty.”

            http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57548600/cops-ariz-woman-runs-over-husband-for-not-voting/?tag=cbsnewsHardNewsFDArea;fdmodule

          • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

            When I asked Neil to write a regular column, I didn’t ask him to write a regular column of only things I liked and agreed with. I’ve offered him this space, and he’s to do what he wishes with it within certain boundaries.

          • Local Broker

            Fair but most of it has nothing to do with the area and always has an agenda. “Friedman contributes a weekly column called “Between the Lines” on life, culture and politics in Sheepshead Bay”

            Hardly ever see anything in his opinions that have to do with SB

          • Tinman

            You don’t think a presidential election has anything to do with SB?

          • Local Broker

            Your last opinoin was about the election this is about a bunch of “cry-baby secessionists”. If you can prove any of them are from SB then come back to me.

          • Tinman

            I don’t have to prove anything to you, but I’m aware of at least six people from Brooklyn, though not a specific neighborhood, who claimed they signed secession petitions.

          • Local Broker

            No you dont.

          • bagels

            But how may stories can you do on crime stats, new sushi joints, over flowing garbage cans and bad driving habits? It gets old after a while so it’s interesting to have an opinion piece that generates an interesting discussion.

          • Local Broker

            I dont really care what he wrote its the way he comes across.

          • Tinman

            Local Broker, according to my quick research, I’ve written more than 15 columns this year that directly or indirectly relate to Sheepshead Bay and its residents. Several others were on pop cultural topics that personally involved me or that I thought sophisticated SB readers could relate to or would like to read about.
            When he asked me to contribute, Ned never restricted me to any issues or subjects. I send him every column before it is posted and though he has disagreed in some instances, he has NEVER restricted or imposed limits on the scope of my views.
            That would be a violation of the First Amendment, which I believe he wholeheartedly supports and with which you seem to have a problem when you don’t agree with the topic.
            Nevertheless, please keep reading and maybe one of these weeks, you’ll give me a thumbs up when I do opine on something with which you agree.

          • Local Broker

            Ned not posting shitty articles (IMO) is not a violation of any rights. He can do whatever he wants its his site. You can say whatever you want but that doesnt mean someone else has to give you the platform to do it.

          • levp

            Ah, but whether this article is shitty or not, is an opinion. For example, my opinion is the article is just fine. I was happy to read it; you might want to scroll past it, and both of us will be happy.

          • BrooklynBus

            There is a local activist in this area who shall remain nameless who makes a spcial trip to see and congratulate me whenever I say or write something he agrees with. If he disagrees, then he tells me to drop dead.

    • levp

      Basically, for the same reason he is not deleting your comment.

  • a fan

    I thought this article was well written and I agree with what it said, I undertood Neil’s tongue in cheek references.. I do think Romney and a lot of his supporters are acting like sore losers and this article put it in a way that was very interesting and, in my opinion, needed to be said..I think what is mean spirited is Romney saying Obama bought the Election by giving free Health Care (not true!) and other free gifts, which all Americans deserve to have..not just the Rich..I see that the Hieracy in the Party are distancing themselves from Romney and relying on Ryan to be their Spokesperson! OMG!!!

    • Tinman

      Thanks, fan!

  • Sam Brown

    If you want to start a discussion on how to achieve legal secession, you need to read The Secession Amendment. You can find it on Amazon as an ebook. The process discussed is a constitutional amendment to allow secession.

  • Merry

    Why did you take yourself so low, I thought better of you. I never knew that you would be so bias in your news reporting too. Enough is enough.

    • levp

      Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites.

      Reading is fundamental.