California has joined its fellow 49 states in politely petitioning the White House to secede from the union.

Since President Barack Obama's re-election last week, those unhappy with that outcome across the land have taken advantage of the We The People website (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov), that allows citizens to post petitions on just about anything that bugs them.

Established by -- and supply however much irony you care to here -- the Obama administration, the site promises that "Every petition that crosses the 25,000 signature threshold is reviewed and receives a response," according to White House spokesman Brandon D. Lepow.

A response that is not in any way legal or binding, by the way. But that hasn't stopped hundreds of thousands of aspiring Former- Americans from signing their -- or if you look at them closely, other states' -- secession petitions.

As of late Thursday afternoon, California's secession petition had a little fewer than 1,100 electronic signatures. It needs to reach that coveted 25,000 goal by Dec. 11 for the Golden State to get its own personal response from the administration.

As for what the petition- signers can more practically expect, well, the White House isn't quite ready to show it's hand yet.

"As a general rule, we don't comment on the substance of those responses until they're issued to the petitioners," Lepow explained.

By comparison, as of Wednesday, Texas had 99,000 backers for its secession petition. Lone Star Gov. Rick Perry, who's talked about seceding in the past, responded by disavowing any desire to go back to the good ol' Alamo days.

The California petition reads as follows:

"We petition the Obama administration to: Grant peaceful secession to the State of California in order to form a new and independent sovereign state.

"The citizens of the State of California must no longer be subject to arbitrary and unconstitutional laws issued by the Federal Government of the United States of America. Such laws that are counter to our Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, as outlined in the Constitution of the United States of America continue to be ignored and overruled by the Federal Government.

"We, the citizens of the State of California, therefore, wish to pursue a separate course from that of the United States of America which is more in line with the wishes of the Founding Fathers -- that we and our posterity will be free to pursue our own destinies so long as the inalienable rights of others are preserved."

One citizen who did electronically sign the secession petition was Thousand Oaks resident Fred Roth.

"I'm one of those angry, old white men they're always talking about," Roth, 75, said with a laugh.

"I have a lot of reasons," the registered independent, who voted for Mitt Romney, added more seriously. "Number One, I've never been this upset with a president in my life, Democrat or Republican. I just feel that (President Obama) is totally selling us down the road to socialism. I'm very upset about Obamacare. And I'm upset about the illegal immigrant issue, which is, of course, the most intense here in California.

"I felt this was the only way that I could voice my protest," Roth added. "But there's one other thing: I really feel that this election was stolen. I feel that the counting was not fair and there were a lot of people who voted illegally."

Someone who has a little more expertise with secession efforts is Richard Close, who was chairman of the effort to have the San Fernando Valley break away from the city of Los Angeles a decade ago. Close's group, Valley VOTE (Voters Organized Toward Empowerment), got the measure on the ballot in 2002, but it failed in the citywide tally.

"Even though as a practical matter it may be impossible, I think people have to explore change if they're frustrated with a lack of services or a lack of local control," said Close, an attorney and president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association. "And they should explore change, but they have to do it in a manner that's doable."

Asked if he'd sign on to the California secession petition, Close said "No, because as a practical matter, it's impossible. I'd never waste my time. But there's a difference between California separating and San Fernando Valley separating -- which I would sign."

For those who take the secession movement seriously we suggest they take in a new movie called "Lincoln." The last time Americans tried something like this, it didn't go all that well for them.

bob.strauss@dailynews.com

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