Meet Derrick Belcher, a 45-year-old from Chunchula, Ala. Belcher is a truck driver, knife collector, "absolute Libertarian" and previously owned a topless car wash -- that is, until the government shut down his business, he claims.
According to Alabama.com, Belcher is so upset with the government, he's petitioning for Alabama to secede from the United States.
“I don’t think any one state can stand alone. But if we’ve got 20 of them, then that starts to be something,” Belcher said of the secession movement. “If you look at a map of the red states, we have all of the oil and we produce all of the food. We’re the ones that are carrying the rest of the nation.”
The Alabama native blames the federal government for shutting down his topless car wash, Euro Details, which he claims was successful for a decade in Mobile, according to Alabama.com. In 2001, Belcher was arrested and charged with obscenity. “The government ripped my business away, and now they’re choking America to death with rules and regulations,” he said.
Alabama enacted its anti-obscenity law in 1998, prohibiting private businesses and clubs from allowing breasts, genitalia and buttocks to be shown for entertainment, the Chicago Tribune previously reported. Although legislators claimed the law was instituted to stop nude dancing, "opponents argue the statute is so broad that it could be used to censor any type of entity that shows nudity," the Tribute explained.
Belcher's topless car wash fell under this umbrella.
So, last Friday, he started the Alabama secession petition in hopes that his state will be granted the right to secede from the Union, according to WKRG, a CBS News affiliate. Petitions to secede from the U.S. have been filed in all 50 states.
“The American people are being mistreated by the federal government and there is absolutley no reason why we shouldn't end this treatment from the federal government,” Belcher told WKRG. “And I guess there is a part of me that is angry because my government has mistreated me year after year after year and I am fed up with it and I know there are several other people in this state and all across the country that are fed up with it as well.”
As of this writing, the Alabama secession petition had garnered 29,113 signatures on the White House's "We The People" online petition tool. According to the petition, 25,000 signatures are required for the White House to review it.
[h/t Gawker for the find.]
Efforts to secede are nothing new. Here's a look back at previous attempts: