Exploring The Secessionist Impulse in Texas


Cindy Casares Portrait

“Sovereignty or Secession” Rally in Austin, Texas on August 29, 2009.

Lately the media has made much of Texas secession, a so-called movement made popular again by Governor Rick Perry who likes to throw the idea around now and then and one that gained much steam when President Obama was re-elected in November.

Take for example, Texas’ most prominent secessionist, Larry Kilgore of Arlington. Kilgore, who ran for U.S. Senator as a Republican candidate against John Cornyn in 2008 with the platform, “Secession! All other issues can be dealt with later,” made national headlines when he legally changed his middle name to SECEDE (all-caps included) after the president defeated Mitt Romney. Kilgore used the publicity stunt to announce that he’d be running for governor in 2014. I, for one, look forward to the “Punish Porn Crime! Deuteronomy 25:1-3” bumper stickers.

Then there was the secession petition submitted to the White House website. The petition received the requisite 25,000 signatures within days and went on to collect over 100,000 by the deadline. The White House says it will respond to any petition that receives 25,000 signatures in 30 days, but Governor Perry has said that Texas will not secede, because he “believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it.” Oh, how the mighty have flip-flopped.

Last week, one pro-secession group, the Texas Nationalist Movement, took things a step further by announcing their own political action committee “signaling the organization’s most significant venture into the legislative process in pursuit of Texas independence” to date. Which leads me to wonder, are these people serious?

Once upon a time, secession talk was a joke to brag about the size of Texas, both geographically and economically. This most recent wave of secessionists, however, is a direct result of President Obama’s re-election. The fact that those screaming “secession” the loudest are overwhelmingly white, conservative, southern men, leaves me with the impression that a) they’re serious, (or they think they’re serious. I doubt the vast majority have the cojones), and b) that racist nativism is the fuel to their fire.

Which is what makes the idea of an independent Texas so funny. What these angry, white men don’t seem to realize is that if Texas breaks off from the rest of the United States, it will instantly become a nation in which people of color are the majority. According to the 2010 census, Texas grew the most of any state in America and 95 percent of Texas’ child population growth occurred among Hispanics.

With those demographics, it woudn’t be long before Texas is no longer a red state. And if you think there’s too much Spanish spoken in Texas now, just wait until we don’t have to communicate with Washington anymore. Spanglish will be the official language of Tejas in no time with breakfast tacos being the official food. Lastly, if you’re into blaming President Obama for the economy, Market Watch says leaving the U.S. will throw any Southern state into a desperate recession, leaving citizens paying more in taxes than they do now and receiving less in government services. Those poor secessionists will find themselves in the very situation they sought to avoid by leaving the U.S. Where will they secede to then? The Republic of The Woodlands? PlanoLand? To paraphrase the words of a guy who talks to chairs, Go ahead. Make my day.