We’ve been rejected, turned down, dissed. The Obama Administration says Texas cannot secede. Actually, so did the US Supreme Court in 1869 in Texas v. White, and we can’t overlook Appomattox. Here’s the back story (pardon the cliché): after Barack Obama’s second presidential victory, his administration created a “We the People” website (petitions.whitehouse.gov) and said any petition with at least 25,000 signatures gathered in 30 days would receive a response from the White House. Before you can say “Kenyan socialist,”1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was inundated with electronic petitions. This included petitions from all 50 states seeking secession from the Union because Obama had been re-elected.
That so many of us would rather live in another country than one headed by Obama speaks volumes. Perhaps they can’t accept that, despite many polls and pundits’ predictions, Obama stomped Mitt Romney by almost 5-million votes (4,970,508). In the GOP’s beloved Electoral College, which gave the world President George W., Obama walloped Romney 332 votes to 206. In Congress, the Dems picked up two Senate seats. Here’s something interesting: Dem candidates in House of Representatives races received almost 1.5 million more votes than their GOP opponents but, thanks to gerrymandering, didn’t get a majority of the seats.
Anyway, of all those states sending in secessionist pleas, Texas, as usual, was Number One, with 125,746 signatures. But Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, issued a report to Texas saying that America was created as a “perpetual union,” and cited several reasons why the Lone Star State couldn’t once again be lone. This caused others to ask as one: “How could that many Texans be so chapped at Obama’s victory?” What non-Texans fail to realize is that it doesn’t take an unpopular political victory (here) to get us salivating to secede. Texans would sign a secession petition because the Cowboys were no longer America’s Team or “Dallas” was no longer on TV, or it’s Wednesday. Indeed, there has been a secession movement in Texas ever since there was an annexation, without success.
So let’s stop batting around ill-informed e-mails. First, the Texas Annexation Joint Resolution – it was NOT a treaty and there’s a big difference – does not allow Texas to secede from the Union. That legend won’t die if you drove a stake deep in its heart. Gov. Rick Perry said in 2008, “When we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation. And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.” Someone must have read the Guv the law, not to mention history, because Perry has changed his tune – drastically.
Even John Steinbeck in “Travels With Charley,” wrote, “Texas is the only state that came into the Union by treaty. It retains the right to secede at will.” Steinbeck notes other Americans have heard Texans threaten to secede so often that he formed an enthusiastic organization, The American Friends for Texas Secession. He wasn’t far off the mark; a number of signees of the cut-Texas-loose petition were non-Texans, which is rather humiliating.
The Annexation document does allow us to split into four more states – five Texases – but this differs from what our schoolchildren vow each day: “I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.” The annexation agreement also allows us to retain our public lands including six leagues into the Gulf, with all that oil and gas underneath. And oil beneath those public lands in West Texas bankrolled UT and A&M.
When it comes to Austin vs. Washington, Texas is a “tax donor state.” Using the latest figures available, for every dollar Texans paid to the federal government in federal income taxes, the state received approximately 94 cents in benefits. This is only income taxes. What skewers the figures is that we have so many military bases bringing in federal dollars. Speaking of the military, we donate more than money: 22,022 Texas troops were killed in World War II, a higher percentage than our share of the national population; another 3,415 Texans died in the Vietnam War. That’s also a higher percentage. As usual, we were a donor state.
Yes, you can buy bumper stickers reading “Secede” — one for $2, or three for $5. Yes, Larry Scott Kilgore, a perennial Republican candidate from Arlington, announced he was running for governor and would legally change his name to Larry Secede Kilgore, with Secede in capital letters. But with all the hoopla about secession, we might get the idea that an overwhelming number of Texans want to leave the club. Don’t let the squeaky wheel get all the attention.
Press articles show a 2009 Rasmussen Reports survey determined 31 percent of Texans say the state has a right to secede. They are wrong and don’t know it. However, just 18 percent of Texans would actually vote to secede. That 18 percent figure is the exact same as the percentage of all Americans who say they favor allowing their state or region to secede from the nation, according to a 2008 Zogby poll. As North Dakota goes, so goes Texas. In addition, three-fourths of Texans say they oppose secession. Then we have those who would secede from the secession: Caleb M. of Austin started his own petition on the White House Web site. He asked that, “in the event that Texas is successful in the current bid to secede,” the federal government should allow Austin to withdraw from Texas and remain part of the United States.
As mentioned before, this Texas secession business is nothing new. A Texas Congressman, Jim Collins, once introduced a resolution in the U.S. House: “And in conclusion, if Texas citizens favor the establishment of the Republic of Texas, I would ask that both the Senate and House in the U.S. Congress be provided the opportunity to confirm this transfer of authority to the Republic of Texas.” — April 13, 1978. That’s right, 1978.
Ashby succeeds at firstname.lastname@example.org