IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, THE EIGHTY-THIRD session of the Texas Legislature was called to order last week (lawmakers gather only every two years). Naturally, members buckled right down and went to work. First, the Senate devoted two hours to a resolution honoring John Whitmire’s forty years of service. Senator Troy Frazier spoke fondly of his friend and reminded colleagues of the famous “Onion War,” when the two lawmakers took turns hiding extra fajita toppings in each others’ desks.
More importantly, of course, supporters of the Texas Nationalist Movement made it clear they weren’t taking President Obama’s recent rejection of their petition for secession lying down. Despite being rebuffed by the White House in a terse statement, the dream still lives.
Leaders of the group (which garnered 125,746 signatures) met with their elected officials, including Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, to outline their position. You can boil it all down to something like this: We don’t like President Obama because he’s black. We think, because he’s black, he’s not a true American. He’s a Muslim or somethin’. And you can’t fool us. We know he has a plan to take away our guns and cowboy boots.
In other words, the group still hopes to find a path to secession.
At first blush, you might be thinking, “This is a really stupid idea; and those right-wingers must be wearing their cowboy hats too tight and blood clearly isn’t circulating through their craniums.” Then, you examine the possibilities and see a certain genius to the plan. Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss assured fellow lawmakers that he wasn’t going to be pushing for separatism “this session” but noted proudly, that if Texas did split away, it would be the “14th-largest economy in the world.” In fact, if Texas was a country it would have a GDP greater than Canada, that other nation with a border on the United States.
Certainly, nationhood would require adjustment. But, yes, it’s doable and perhaps desirable for all concerned. On one hand, George W. Bush would need a visa to enter the great nation he once led, and Democrats could have great fun blocking him at every turn. On the other hand, Bush might be barred by the U. S. Constitution from serving a third term in office. Now? New country. He starts all over. Texas will lose the Johnson Space Center, of course; and Lockheed Martin will lose its contract to build 2,400 F-35 fighters for the Pentagon. And considering that each plane is worth at least $100 million that’s going to put a dent in the Texas GDP in the weeks and months following creation of a new nation.
Still, what dreams must dance in Texas Nationalist Movement heads. “We can pass laws to end all abortions.” “We can ban gay marriage for all eternity.” “We can arm all teachers and janitors with machine guns and give principals rocket launchers.” Texans can build that wall along the border with Mexico they’ve so long been wanting. Of course, Oklahoma may be building a wall of it’s own to keep illegal Texans from sneaking north in search of better employment.
As recently as 2010, Texas tied with Mississippi as the state with the largest percentage of its workers earning minimum wage.
Some changes will truly matter (no more social security checks; no more Medicare or Medicaid; an no more federal funds to close a $6 billion dollar hole in the budget–yeah, Texas happily took that much in 2011). Others will be less fundamental. Professional sports realignment, for example, will be necessary. In the new Texas Baseball League there would be two divisions of one team each:
TBL Northern Division - Texas Rangers
TBL Southern Division - Houston Astros
The good news for Astros fans would be that every year their woebegone team would still make the Texas World Series.
The same scenario would apply for the Texas Football League (TFL). America, as a nation, will gain immensely because no sportscaster will ever again refer to the Dallas Cowboys as “America’s team” and as a bonus, we would rid ourselves of Jerry Jones forever. In the TFL the Cowboys would compete in the Western Division, the Houston Texans in the Eastern. Texas Superbowl I will be held at the Alamo, or something.
College football will be radically altered, too, as schools compete against each other for the first Texas National Championship. Will the University of Texas win the title in 2014? Or will it be Texas Tech? Or Texas A & M? Or Texas Christian? (Clearly, Texas State University will have to change its name.) At least it won’t be Alabama or some damn school from Oklahoma.
Health care may or may not improve. (It can hardly get worse. Texas currently ranks 48th out of fifty states.) Still, Texas Tea Party types will never have to worry about Obama or his sinister plan to pay their doctor bills. South of the border (new) Obamacare will be dead.
Some things won’t change at all. Texas already leads the nation (old) in wind power produced and executions. Now Texas will lead the nation…um…Texas will be a nation…uh, Texas will have a lot of executions. Look for no-new-taxes-for-Texans lawmakers to suggest using wind power to fire up the state electric chair.
CERTAINLY, IF THE TEXAS NATIONALIST MOVEMENT can pull this off the possibilities are limitless. Texas has Neiman Marcus and 1/4th of the known oil reserves in what for now we call the United States of America. Separation allows them to consider joining OPEC. The women are already pretty. So Texans are good with that. Texas has produced all kinds of beauty queens, Miss Americas, Miss Teen Americas, Miss Universes, and 2/3rd’s of the original Charlie’s Angels, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith. Anna Nicole Smith was born in Houston, which goes to show that even boobs are bigger in Texas.
Finally, you may recall that Texas gave us the brains (George W. and Rod Paige) behind No Child Left Behind. Texas also gave us famed education reformer, Wendy Kopp, founder of the unfortunately named (for now) Teach for America. But if we do let Texas go, the international rankings for the United States in education are sure to soar. When it comes to learning, and we in no way mean to connect this idea to the Texas Nationalist Movement, Texans seem to be a little dumber when we compare results for the 2012 Scholastic Aptitude Tests: Texans scored 474 in math, 499 in reading and 461 in writing. Students in Vermont, by comparison, scored 519 math, 523 in reading and 505 in writing; and they and their parents had a nasty tendency to vote by large majorities for the reelection of President Obama.
In any case, speaking of education, don’t forget: if Texas goes, we also rid ourselves of Governor Rick “Cement Head” Perry.