Fact Check

U.S. 'Divorce Agreement' Letter

A letter that has been passed around since at least 2009 has questionable origins.

Published Oct 3, 2016

 (U.S. Army)
Image Via U.S. Army
A law student named John J. Wall penned a "divorce letter" to the U.S.

In February 2009, a "Minuteman message board" operated by the right-wing website Renew America published what it called a "Letter from a Law Student" proposing a "model dissolution agreement" between — as it said — "American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists, Obama supporters" and the rest of the country.

The "agreement" was also partially reposted at the Patriot Action Network, dated 30 November 1999 (which, of course, predates President Barack Obama's election by nine years). There is also a version posted on Scribd calling Wall's proposal a "separation proposal letter." A month after its 2009 appearance, conservative radio host Neal Boortz featured Wall's letter on his web site, but the end of the op-ed was changed to: "You can also have Barbara Streisand and Jane Fonda."

The letter has also generated attention from liberal websites: In June 2009, Democratic Underground featured it in a thread, calling it a "piece of shit."  A year later, liberal blogger Rich Merritt posted what he called a "Patriotic Rebuttal" to the piece, which reads in part:

Listen, you are the one who married up, my dear. We are California, the Pacific Northwest, Hawai’i, most of the Midwest, Florida, the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Without us you are Mexico’s ugly step-sister to the north. Most of what we’ve done over the course of our 234-year marriage has been with your best interests in mind even when you literally rebelled. You tried to divorce us once before but we fought you and won. Why? Because despite all your many flaws, we still love you and want you to be better than you are. 

In 2011, the letter reappeared, this time with even more added to the "P.S." section:

P.S.: Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Barbra Steisand, and Jane Fonda with you.

P.S.S.: And you won't have to "Press 1 for English" when you call our country.

Forward this every time you get it! Let's keep this going; maybe some of it will start sinking in!

If you can't stand behind our Military, Please feel free to stand in front of them!

In the years since, the op-ed has been circulated via message boards, e-mail, and in other nooks and crannies on the Internet (it surfaced on Reddit in June 2013), but no version of the piece has never been definitively tied to a law student named John J. Wall — or any other identifiable person.

Arturo Garcia is a former writer for Snopes.

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