Sunday, March 06, 2011

Don’t Mess with Texas? Who wants to?

From Today’s Houston Chronicle:

AUSTIN — The Texas Nationalist Movement marked Texas Independence Day with a rally on Saturday at the Capitol urging Texans to save the state by seceding from the United States.

A small but enthusiastic group of Texans gathered on the steps of the Capitol, as an assortment of massive Texas flags blew above them in the chilly afternoon breeze. Outrage was spread evenly toward Democrats and Republicans as leaders of the movement expressed their disgust for the growing national debt and the federal government's treatment of Texas.

"Texas can take better care of itself than Washington," said Lauren Savage, vice president of the movement. "We are here to raise interest in the Legislature of the possibility of secession to cure the ills of America." Members are demanding that state lawmakers introduce a bill that would allow Texans to vote on whether to declare independence.

It’s interesting that Texans are suddenly worried about the national debt. When their former governor was busy invading the world and paying private companies and foreign governments to torture people in dark prison cells around the globe while running up that enormous debt, nary a word was uttered in Texas.

Now, all of a sudden, America has a black (gasp!) president who actually voted against those invasions and is trying to clean up the same mess that George the Unready made in Washington (including the near depression averted only by debt-incurring federal spending) that he made of the companies given him. Now that debt so willingly entered into has suddenly become a big problem. And the only solution is for Texas to secede! Go figure.

Of course, the steady stream of mindless rhetoric coming out of Texas prompts many of us living outside its borders to wonder what we can do to help Texas pack. Would it be so bad if this Tribe of Texas Troglodytes actually departed company with the rest of the nation? Would our nation not be better off without the Tom Delays and Ron Pauls of the world?

Many of us already see Texas as virtually a foreign country to be avoided at all cost, fly over country on a good day. The George Bushes and Rick Perrys of the country could all find asylum (in both senses of that word) in Texas and perhaps Austin could simply be moved to Arkansas improving the latter and freeing the former from the tyranny of heavily armed, frequently intoxicated ideologues.

On the other hand, the thought of the flood of refugees that would no doubt pour out of Texas might overwhelm the rest of the country, particularly those bordering states which decide not to drink the koolaid and go with Texas. I also worry about the possibility of having a nation run by fundamentalists complete with their own version of Sharia law and revisionist history in the middle of our own country. Fly over country could become fly around country increasing travel time and fares. And the chances that Texans might ultimately feel the need to follow their own history and invade the surrounding countries might be too tempting to pass up.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

But I also wonder how realistic it is to continue believing America is one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all given the examples of Texas, Arizona, et al. Increasingly, Americans seem to be saying “I don’t need you.” Indeed, though this blog entry is more than a little tongue in cheek, there’s certainly some degree of that feeling present here much as I regret it. Can we hold it together? Should we? Maybe we all need to go our separate ways. Indeed, maybe we will have little other choice before this is all over.

One of the readers of the Chronicle story mourns the Texas he grew up loving. As a Floridian under the iron fist of the best governor $76 million defrauded from medicare and white wealthy retiree/Southern bible thumper votes can buy, I can certainly relate. But I think of all the things I miss, it is the America I grew up in the 1960s loving and believing in - liberty, justice for all. Asking not what my country ought to do for me but rather what I owe my country.

That America seems to have been left in the dustheap of Reagan's legacy - "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Increasingly, the answer to Reagan’s question is clear “No, things have only gotten worse since you opened the floodgates for selfishness and tribalism. And America is all the worse for it.” Indeed, it's precisely the shift in reasoning from the idealism of Kennedy's 1961 inaugrual to the cynicism of Reagan's 1980 election ploy that may ultimately prove to be the death knell for a once noble experiment in seeking a more perfect union.

Somewhere James Madison no doubt weeps.

The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.
Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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