Apparently a number of citizens of the State of Texas would like to secede from the United States following the re-election of President Obama.
For once, I side with the most rabid of right-wingers: I say, let's let 'em.
It's not that I dislike Texans, mind you. I like every Texan I've personally ever met. It's just that I would really be interested in watching this happen. I think it could be tremendously entertaining.
Presumably they would make do with their current State Constitution for a while, but why wouldn't they write a whole new Constitution? They could. They could change the whole government if they wanted to. Even the type of government. Just the arguments over all that could keep us entertained for years.
They'd even be free to rename the new country (Conservatopia?)—although admittedly "The Republic of Texas" has a certain majesty to it. Let's face it, Texas is a great name.
Guns would be legal, or maybe mandatory, but would they have an army? A draft? For sure they'd only have one political party. The Ten Commandments would be on every courthouse lawn, no doubt, but would they actually write Old Testament injunctions into their new laws? Those tend to get dicey when it actually comes down to specifics. To obey Leviticus or not to obey Leviticus? You can see how much fun this might be.
There would be a few disadvantages, of course. The map of the U.S. would look funny until we got used to it. College kids would need passports for spring break on South Padre Island. And all our flags would have to be changed.
Unless we just split California in two to make up for it. That could work.
The new country would be responsible for protecting its own stretch of the Rio Grande, which could get ugly. We'd have to protect our own borders with Texas, too, though, since, presumably, vans packed full of desperate Texas liberals and hippies from Austin would be trying to sneak back into the United States all the time.
Or would Oklahoma and Louisiana want to join the new country? How would Texas feel about that? "Well...."
On the good side, the Dallas Cowboys would no longer be America's Team. And, no more U.S. presidents from Texas. Works for me.
There would be some questions, of course. What about Federal installations and infrastructure, and their share of the national debt? I say they should pay us back. Well, at least partly. And they'd need all new treaties with all the rest of the world's countries and so forth. All the while trying to keep their government really, really small.
Some people worry that the new country wouldn't do very well. But it would be the 40th largest country on earth and have an economy larger than Australia's, according to what I've heard. They'd do fine. This is no reason not to let them go.
Really, this is something I'd like to see. Talk about political theater. Just think of it: the election for the presidency of Texas. Wouldn't you like to follow that? Best reality TV ever.
And who knows, maybe they'd come up with something better than what they've got now and we could all learn something from them. Could happen.
Anyway, Texans are petitioning for their independence, and, by rule, the White House owes them a response sometime around mid-December. I can synopsize it for you right now: it will say "Read the 14th Amendment, ya knuckleheads!" Only more politely, and with lots more words. (Article 1 basically says States can't deprive American citizens of their rights and privileges as American citizens.)
They're no fun.
ADDENDUM Monday morning: My feelings are a little hurt that this post set a record for traffic on a Sunday, for the whole seven years I've been doing this. Jeez, if so many people are going to come read something I write, couldn't it at least be something about photography? Sniff.
Secondly, of course I was just poking fun here. But if you're interested, the Wall Street Journal says there would be one particularly big upside and one equally big downside to secession for the states where the biggest petitions are coming from, in an article called "What seceding from the U.S. will cost you." I admit the upside is a biggie. Thanks to Paris for the link.
"Open Mike" is a series of off-topic ramblings that sometimes appears on Sundays.
Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
A book of interest today:
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Ken White (partial comment): "Texas fought its own war of independence and made quite a good job of doing so. Many Texans take great pride in having been an independent country. It's interesting to live in Texas not having grown up here. It is a state of mind as much as a state within the union of the United States. It is a big place full of friendly people with big ideas who dream big dreams. Don't mess with Texas."
Marc Gibeault: "It's even more fun from here (Montreal)."
Stephen (partial comment): "As a native Texan, I would like to point out the following [...] around 117,000 people have signed their name in favor of this concept. According to a quick Google search, the state population is currently in the neighborhood of 25.6 million. This means that those 117k signatures represent less than half of a percent of Texas citizens. Again, less than 1/2 of 1%. (Assuming I did my math right. Which is always an assumption....)"
Mike replies: We're in bad shape if I'm the one who's supposed to be checking anybody's math.
MJFerron: "As one who lives in the Austin area I can assure you despite what one may read there is zero talk of secession of any kind in regular daily life. Nothing. It's just fluff and newspaper filler. Do I believe a state has the right to secede? Hmm, maybe under the right set of circumstances which I don't think exist at the moment."
John Camp: "I'd say that roughly half of the interesting people in the U.S. come from Texas. I'd include George Bush, who I found interesting: 'I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.' Also, Kinky Friedman: 'Remember: Y'all is singular. All y'all is plural. All y'all's is plural possessive.' One of my Rules of Life was formulated while driving along I-40: 'Never order a chicken fried steak at a Holiday Inn in Amarillo, Texas.' As a new New Mexican, I'm proud to say that we threw Texans out of here on several occasions. Unlike Mike, I have met some Texans that I didn't like, but, I have to say, there weren't very many of those; they tend to be pretty likable, compared, say, to people from either major coast. What other state has an entire town devoted almost entirely to art (Marfa) or almost entirely to books (Archer City)?"