Governor Perry's flirtation with secession

originally published Aug. 29, 2011. I really enjoyed writing this one and it was very well received. 

This started life as a comment on Jonathan Wolfman's blog a couple of years ago. Recent events have made it more topical. It has been expanded and edited substantially.

Governor Rick Perry has made a few remarks indicating that Texas secession might be a possibility, remarks whose tone indicated he might be sympathetic to those who advocated such a thing.

Interesting. For those of you who are denizens of what would, in that event, presumably become the Lone Star Republic, let's look at what secession would actually mean:

The US military would leave Texas, lock, stock, and barrel. No bases. No presence.

So would NASA. Houston, if we have a problem, we aren’t talking to you about it.

So would the postal service.

So would everyone associated with border control or any other kind of law enforcement. Like the FBI.

Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport would cease to be a major hub because it wouldn’t be an American airport any more.

None of your retired people would get Social Security. Neither would Texans with disabilities. No Texan would get Medicaid or Medicare.

You wouldn’t get a dime of highway funding.

Though some of our major professional sports leagues are international, the NCAA is not. The Longhorns and Aggies would play each other and maybe Rice but you can kiss the BCS goodbye. Most high school football prospects from the 49 States aren’t going to consider such a limited market as Texas, though a lot of the Texas high school prospects will be attracted to the far larger American market. Not only won’t your teams play their current opponents, their recruiting prospects will dwindle to the point where the quality of your college teams is likely to land in the toilet.

While we’re talking about colleges and universities, they can all say goodbye to their US government research money. Also their Pell Grant money. Oh, and out of state tuition just became out of country tuition. Both ways.

These are just some highlights of the consequences of secession, or perhaps I should call them “lowlights.” If Texas becomes a country, Texas will have to take on the responsibilities of a country. By itself. You’ll need:

An army, navy, air force, marines, and coast guard. Along with military academies for all of them.

A currency. If I were you, I’d see how much you can hit Jerry Jones up for to get his picture on your dollar.

A postal service. Employees, stamps, trucks, planes, the whole bit.

A State Department. And staffed embassies all over the world.

An intelligence service.

An FAA. You don’t want all those planes crashing.

An INS. We’d get to shift all our guys from the Texas/Mexico border to the Texas/Oklahoma border, the Texas/New Mexico border, etc. Now our border guards wouldn’t have to be bilingual any more, at least the ones who can understand your accent. Yours would, though.

An EPA. Yeah, I know there are probably some Texans who don’t think you need one but, given how big and powerful the Texas oil industry is, you’d better have one if any of you ever expect to breathe again.

If you want to insure that the food supply and drug supply are safe for Texans, you’d need an FDA. If you don't want your banking and insurance industries to steal you blind, you’d need regulatory agencies for them (such as an FDIC). If you want Texans on the job to keep their arms, legs, and heads, you’d need an OSHA. And on and on.

Oh, and one more thing:

A Constitution. You wouldn’t be protected by the United States Constitution any more. I hope you trust Governor Perry and his friends to write you one. Hey, if Thomas Jefferson and James Madison managed to write one, how hard could it be?

I respectfully submit that secession would be an extremely expensive idea and I do not advise it.

I further think that a man who flirts with such an idea without thinking it through has questionable judgment at best, but the Governor’s judgment may not be the biggest problem here. You see, the thing about most political disputes is that both sides are based on the premise that My Position Is Better For The Country Than Yours. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at opposite sides of Right to Life/Pro Choice, Tax the Rich/Taxes Are All Evil, Separation of Church and State/Teach Intelligent Design in the Schools, even Gay Rights/Don’t Let Gays Marry, Adopt, or Serve in the Military; generally speaking, the people on both sides of each issue think the United States would be better off adhering to their position.

Most political disputes. Not all. Does Governor Perry actually think Texas secession would be good for the United States? If he wants to be President of the United States, this question becomes extremely relevant.

There are two choices. Neither reflects well on the Governor.

1. He believes that Texas secession would not be good for the United States, in which case he is not a real patriot.

2. He believes that Texas secession would be good for the United States, in which case he is not a real Texan.

Though there are certainly a few Texans I wouldn’t mind cutting loose, the United States would not derive sufficient benefit from cutting them loose to make up for the tremendous loss that the secession of Texas would entail.

Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson as foreigners?

No way in Hell.

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