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Back to the Civil War? Obama's opponents seek to secede

Now that President Obama has been re-elected, some of his fiercest critics don't want to be part of the United States.

Now that President Obama has been re-elected, some of his fiercest critics don't want to be part of the United States. And they're not talking about moving to Canada: they want to pull the nation apart from within.

Citizens from 20 states have filed petitions on the White House "We The People" website seeking to secede from the union and form new state governments, The Washington Post reports. (Under the program, launched last year, the White House will respond to any petition that receives 25,000 or more signatures within 30 days.) Some of the signers may have been inspired by a Republican Party official in Texas who last week called for his state to secede from the United States and the "maggots" who re-elected Obama.

Peter Morrison is a Tea Party activist who serves as treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party. He also publishes a newsletter for right-wing activists. On Wednesday, the day after the election, he wrote:

"Like the remainder of Lee’s army after Gettysburg, it is our duty to keep fighting to the bitter end, in hopes that Providence might shine upon our cause before it is too late. We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity. But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity."

That "opportunity," Morrison wrote, is to separate from the United States:

"'They” re-elected Obama last night. He is their President. And we must admit to ourselves at some point, it is now their country. Just as Scotland is currently contemplating her own independence from Great Britain, it is time for the more conservative constituent parts of this country to consider whether this sacred union is really quite so sacred anymore."

Then, Morrison outright called for peaceful succession:

"In this respect, Texas can lead the way. Texas was once its own country, and many Texans already think in nationalist terms about their state. We need to do everything possible to encourage a long-term shift in thinking on this issue. Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way in peace, sign a free trade agreement among the states and we can avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years."

Of course, we've heard succession talk from Republicans officials before.

Back in May 2009, Texas Governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax Tea Party, inspiring some in the audience shout, "Secede!" After the rally, Perry suggested to reporters that Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he claimed to see no reason why Texas should do that.

In 2010, Rep. Zach Wamp, a Republican from Tennessee, suggested that some states might have to “consider separation from this government” should the leadership in Washington not change.

"I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," he said.

The Civil War, which ended over 147 years ago,  appeared to decide this issue once and for all. But America's extreme right wing appears to think secession remains an attractive option.