OpinionTop of the Ticket

Some rules for Texas secessionists before they depart from us

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There may be secessionists in all 50 states, but Texas can boast of the biggest cohort of independent-minded (unhinged?) folks who want to cast off the "tyranny" of the federal government and go it alone.

Well over 100,000 Texans have signed a petition to the president of the United States requesting that he let the Lone Star State depart from the Union peacefully and amicably. The last time Texas and 10 other states tried this, of course, a rather nasty fight ensued –- the 150th anniversary of which the nation is observing right now. 

Abraham Lincoln was not keen on letting the slave states go. He sent armies south to bring them back into the fold and that should have settled the issue. But one secessionist website insists otherwise: "The South's rejoining the Union at the point of a bayonet in the late 1860s didn't prove secession is ‘not an option’ or unlawful. It only affirmed that violent coercion can be used, even by governments (if unrestrained), to rob men of their very lives, liberty, and property."

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These folks now warn that the government in Washington has grown so oppressive that the U.S. is on the verge of becoming just like Stalin's Soviet Union or Mao's China. Thus, secession is the only option.

Now, the prospect of moving ahead in this country without having to put up with paranoid fruitcakes who equate the EPA with the KGB and President Obama with Hitler is alluring. If we could put them all in one place and let them go, it would be a day of jubilee. But, even in states such as Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina where tens of thousands of people have also signed petitions to secede, there are too many other good folks who should not be cast adrift. In particular, it is doubtful the black Americans in those states would be especially anxious to return to some sort of rebooted Confederacy. That did not work too well for their ancestors the last time around.

Still, if we want to say Lincoln was wrong and secession is an open alternative, Texas looks like the best place to give it a whirl. After all, the state was an independent country before joining the Union, so Texans have been there before. Additionally, Texas standing alone would be the 15th biggest economy in the world. Unlike Alabama and most other red states, it could get along fine without an inflow of tax dollars from the blue states.

However, there have to be some guidelines to this deal. Texans cannot just get up from the table and leave a bill for somebody else to pay. Texas must pay its share of the national debt. It was a former governor of Texas who racked up the major part of that bill by giving his rich friends a huge tax cut and then buying two wars and a prescription drug plan on credit.

Also, the new Republic of Texas must provide safe passage to all the Texas liberals who may want out. We do not want to see Austin become another West Berlin isolated in a vast, hostile territory.

The next thing: Texas does not get to have nukes. We do not need Texans, with their famously itchy trigger fingers, fingering a nuclear button.

And one more stipulation: When the Latino population finally reaches a majority in Texas and decides to head a little further back into history by reuniting Texas with Mexico, all you secessionists cannot come crying to us, pleading to be taken back into the United States. 

By then, we will be done messing with Texas. If you are upset, take your grievances to Mexico City.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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