Louisiana is leading the way in a movement to secede from the United States. So far, petitions from all 50 states have been posted on the U.S. government website, We the People.
The federal government has 30 days from the time a petition garners 25,000 electronic signatures to respond. This week, Louisiana's petition passed the 30,000 mark.
But is this a good idea? We seceded from the union once before, and it didn't end very well. It probably wouldn't end well this time, either.
The state is broke, its health care system is in disarray, its education system has significant problems and some members of the state legislature are at war with the governor.
On top of that, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation, Louisiana takes in $1.78 in federal money for every tax dollar it sends to Washington, D.C. That cash flow would stop after Louisiana became independent.
And besides, what would secession do to Gov. Bobby Jindal's obvious plans to move onward and upward in national government?
The first online petition was filed by a Slidell man, after President Barack Obama won the Nov. 6 election, defeating challenger Mitt Romney, the odds-on favorite in Louisiana.
Other Southern states soon gathered the required 25,000 signatures. As of Wednesday, there were more than 675,000 electronic signatures on 69 petitions from all 50 states.
It's not likely that any of this will happen. For one thing, the legality of secession is murky, at best. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2006 wrote a letter expressing his — usually binding — opinion that it is not legal.
Surely, unlike the secession movement of the 1860s, which started the Civil War, this movement is simply a protest against the president's reelection — or more accurately, a tantrum.
What does this say about our state?
At best, it makes us look foolish. It helps only a little that all 50 states have joined in the foolishness.
It looks as though we believe in the democratic process, and free elections decided by the people, but only if our candidate wins.
And in this time of international unrest, what kind of message does this nation-wide tantrum send to our allies and to our enemies?
We appear to be divisive and divided. We don't want to play by our own rules.
This is the United States of America, with the emphasis on the United.
During the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin is said to have quipped, "We must all hang together or assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
King George's soldiers are gone, but this country faces many challenges today and we will not prevail if we are fragmented.
As Americans, we have a right to disagree with our leaders. We also have an unwritten duty to keep this nation strong.
We are the people who came together after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, after Katrina, after Sandy.
It's time to abandon this secession nonsense and start moving forward.
It's time to hang together.