Today might be a slow news day for Time.com. The website for the long-running news magazine reports today that a screwball amendment for screwy right-wingers who say Texas should secede from the United States is up for a vote in a state GOP convention.
Texas Republicans will vote on the secession measure Friday during the state GOP convention taking place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. How appropriate is it that the Texas Republicans are convening in the former Dallas Convention Center? The center was renamed after the former GOP U.S. senator from Texas, who was also state treasurer and legislator as well as a television legal correspondent in Houston and a University of Texas cheerleader.
I didn’t always agree with Hutchison — I did let her use my office bathroom on a RV stop to my little East Texas newspaper during her treasurer candidacy — but I don’t remember hearing really off-the-wall ideas from her like her fellow Texas U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
The idea of Texas succeeding from the union is nothing new in the Lone Star State. I suppose one act by Texas military hero, former president of the Republic of Texas and later governor of the state, Sam Houston, which makes him an American patriot as well as a Texas hero was his opposition to Texas leaving the Union during the Civil War. Houston was removed from office and refused a Union army offer to put down the rebellion then quietly retired to his home in Huntsville, Texas. If you happen to pass on the southern outskirts of Huntsville on Interstate 45, either in day or night, you will see the 67-foot-tall statue of this larger than life hero.
Since the United States put the kibosh on states taking off on their very on — with a heavy price to both the Union and the southern confederacy — talks of secession have been just talk.
Most of the recent talk has been fueled by one man, a Daniel Miller who lives about 15 minutes away from me in the city of Nederland, Texas, and someone who does make great use of the internet. But the Texas Nationalist Movement, or TMN, claims to have had a 400 percent jump in membership since the 2012 elections.
Among the reasons why the TMN seek a separate nation in Texas is a government wholly in the state, and “an end to the siphoning of Texans’ hard-earned money by D.C. bureaucrats.” The movement also says that: “Independence is what the people of Texas want.” Well, I suppose I can’t argue with that although the independence is the one that many have sought in coming to the United States.
More than 125,000 people have signed the Change.org petition asking the White House to grant Texas independence. Only 25,000 signatures are needed to elicit a response from the office of the U.S. chief executive.
Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, responded to the 2012 petition. He said that debate is healthy in our nation of 300 million people and can get noisy, but it shouldn’t tear our nation apart. Carson said the founding fathers created within the Constitution a right to change our nation through the power of the ballot. It didn’t create a right for a portion of the country to walk away from that union.
“Although the founders established a perpetual union, they also provided for a government that is, as President Lincoln would later describe it, “of the people, by the people, and for the people” — all of the people,” Carson wrote. “Participation in, and engagement with, government is the cornerstone of our democracy. And because every American who wants to participate deserves a government that is accessible and responsive, the Obama Administration has created a host of new tools and channels to connect concerned citizens with White House. In fact, one of the most exciting aspects of the We the People platform is a chance to engage directly with our most outspoken critics.”
It is difficult to imagine what makes people seriously believe that life in the United States is so horrible that they would want to set off what would surely be a battle with the federal government, no matter how many “Texas Nationalists” there really are.
I served in my nation’s armed forces during the Vietnam era and the Cold War. By the time I served it wasn’t at all a really “hot” war. Still, the specter of terrorism was lurking around even back then in the mid 1970s. Three Navy Seabee officers were killed by Philippine terrorists while inspecting a road about three months before I enlisted in 1974. Three years later I would spend quite a bit of time near that same site in the Philippines on a ship. Some of that time included petty officer of the watch duty, armed with a .45-caliber pistol at my side. Knowing what had happened and what could happen would give me a scary edge, no matter that it was “peace time.”
Maybe the kind of strong coffee one gets down here in Southeast Texas, itself considered Cajun country, has something to do with the wild ideas like those who seek a separate nation in Texas. I note that the TMN website listed locally manufactured Seaport Coffee, a family owned and operated company in Beaumont, as it the “official fuel of the Texas Nationalist Movement.” Whether Texas Coffee Co., which makes Seaport as well as many different wonderful kinds of spices, knows of its TMN distinction I do not know. What I do know is that the nationalist movement does not speak for Texas nor Texans. A separate Texas nation is just a dream, a joke, and a dream.