WH shoots down secession petitions

The White House is seen during the heat wave that hit Washington, DC, on May 26, 2011. The temperature reached 31 degrees Celsius (87.8 Fahrenheit). AFP PHOTO/El KEBIR LAMRANI (Photo credit should read El KEBIR LAMRANI/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House politely shot down the secession petitions circulating on the White House petition website late Friday, dashing the hopes of malcontents who have submitted petitions to allow their states to withdraw from the union in the wake of President Obama's reelection last November.

"Democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing," wrote Jon Carson, director of the White House's Office of Public Engagement. "Free and open debate is what makes this country work...But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart."

Carson offered the would-be secessionists a history lesson, explaining that the Constitution guarantees "the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot - a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it."

He also invoked the sad history of the Civil War as a cautionary tale for those who would so casually seek a repeat of our bloodiest conflict, writing, "More than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States."

"So let's be clear," Carson wrote, "No one disputes that our country faces big challenges, and the recent election followed a vigorous debate about how they should be addressed."

"We will need to work together - and hear from one another - in order to find the best way to move forward."