Sunday, April 19, 2009

Secession Talk in the Republic of Texas

Above is a map of how our country would look without our second largest state, Texas. Our country would look kind of funny with a Texas-shaped hole. Americans wouldn't be able to drive cross country on Interstates 10, 20 and 40 without going through customs. This is just one problem of many that would occur if the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, was serious about his talk of secession.

On Wednesday's Tax filing day deadline that Republicans, through their propaganda network the Fox News Channel and think tank lobbying groups, used to hold teabagging protests against Obama's budget plan, the Texas governor actually said the following:

"Texas is a unique place. When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that...My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We've got a great Union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that."

I find it sad that there is still talk of secession, particularly when we have a historical president who shares some important things in common with Abraham Lincoln, the president whose election in 1860 did cause Southern states to secede from the union over the issue of slavery (or as the Southerners claim: "states rights"). On April 1st of this year, the state legislature in Atlanta, Georgia actually passed a bill in the Senate that granted the state of Georgia (my former home) the right to secede from the union. When I read this, I was shocked. What is going on in our country? Why no talk of secession when the 2000 election was unlawfully resolved in the popular vote loser's favour? I imagine that if Gore had lost the popular vote and the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, conservatives would be up in arms and perhaps talk of secession from the Union. When they can't get their way, they sulk like children on the playground do. Get real.

What I learned in the Bush years is that if you protest against a Republican president for any reason at all (of waging illegal war, of the use of torture, of spying on American citizens, of violating civil rights and international treaties and laws, of operating concentration-type camps, of denying due process guaranteed by our Constitution, etc.), you are considered unpatriotic and you need to "love it or leave it." On the flip side, if you protest against a Democratic president, you are patriotic, and talk of secession isn't considered treason. In the conservative mind, treason is a label that only applies to disobedient liberals who dare say that the Republican president is not wearing any clothes. We're supposed to drink our Kool-Aid and fall into the mass delusions of a Republican president's fantasy world view, even when such policies and beliefs go against standard norms previous presidents have followed (Bush's father, after all, had the good sense to keep the neo-conservatives locked in the basement like the crazies they are).

The double-standard is baffling and outrageous. I just wish that conservative people could be honest with everyone and admit to their own biases and to hold their own people to the same standard that they hold Democrats to. I'm not against holding Democrats to a high standard, because I believe its important to only have good, ethical people in government. Thus why on my blog, you have read my critical posts against John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, and Rod Blagojevich, all Democrats who violated certain principles and committed gross acts of hypocrisy. As far as they are concerned, I hope none of them are ever elected to public office again. They had their chance and they blew it. There are plenty of up-and-comers who can fill their shoes. When it comes to Republicans, they defend the indefensible and keep their bad seeds: Senator Larry Craig, Senator David Vitter, and Congressman Mark Foley (who lost reelection in 2006 because the voters and not his party threw him out). I would respect the Republican party some if they held their politicians to the same high standard they hold Democrats. But they don't. It's always the good American people who end up throwing the rotten Republicans out (such as Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, Mark Foley).

So...about this secession talk. I find it strange that Texas, of all places, would be wanting to secede from the Union. Texas, after all, is majorly responsible for the mess our country is currently in. They were the state that gave us President George W. Bush, who was so thoroughly incompetent, inexperienced, incurious, and uneducated that Texas voters should have not even voted him Governor in 1994. Our country has had three presidents from the state of Texas (or at least made it the adoptive home): Lyndon B. Johnson, George Herbert Walker Bush (who originally hailed from Connecticut and owns a family compound in Maine), and George Walker Bush. These three presidents have been some of the most war mongering presidents our country has seen.

Lyndon Johnson expanded the war in Vietnam from Kennedy's commitment of a small number of military advisors. That war went well for him. After hearing nightly taunts by protestors of "Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" and seeing how divisive his presidency became, he announced in the spring of 1968 that he would not seek nor would he accept the nomination of the Democratic Party to run for another term.

George Bush senior committed troops to invade Panama in 1989 to go after a former CIA-employed drug thug Manuel Noriega. In 1990, one of his diplomats had told Saddam that the U.S. had no interest in the Iraqi dispute with Kuwait, which some believe signaled to Saddam that it was okay for him to invade (the rest of the story goes that the whole thing was designed to give the U.S. an excuse to go to war so that we wouldn't have to slash our military budget in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War). So, in 1991, we got our victorious Gulf War and liberated Kuwait from Saddam's army. After calling Saddam "worse than Hitler", Bush wimped out and decided to leave him in power rather than continue onward to Baghdad. Finally, after losing the election in 1992, Bush committed the U.S. military to another disaster. He ordered the invasion of Somalia. So, that's three military actions during his four year term.

His son, George W. Bush, ignored CIA briefing memos warning of Osama Bin Laden's determination to strike the U.S. with acts of terrorism, then milked the 9/11 tragedy for all he could by enacting some of the most repressive and un-Constitutional powers our country has ever seen. He launched a war in Afghanistan that we're still in and when the neo-conservatives complained about the lack of good targets to blow up, he moved on to invade Iraq without any provocation on Saddam's part. Had Iraq been the cakewalk promised by Cheney and others, he might've rolled on into Syria and the neo-conservatives wet dream of Iran. I think it was Richard Perle or Paul Wolfowitz who had said: "everyone talks about going to Baghdad these days, but real men go to Tehran." It seemed like the kind of locker room jock-boy taunt to see if Bush was "man enough" to do what they wanted him. We'll never know how close they might've come to war, but I like to think that Condoleezza Rice was the saving grace who convinced Bush not to (I've read that she and Rumsfeld didn't get along, and since she wasn't a neo-conservative, she wasn't part of that group desiring war against Iran).

Besides engaging our country in expensive wars and military actions, Texas has also given our country Enron and its brilliant accounting scheme that magically takes money from hard working employees and puts that money into the pockets of the executives who lived large until the company went bust in the most spectacular crash (a foreshadowing of the financial crisis to come). In politics, war, and finance, it seems like Texas is responsible for the mess our country is in. There's just something Toxic about Texas, which should rename the state Tax'us.

If that weren't enough, Texas gets federal disaster money each time they experience flooding (which seems like every summer), tornadoes (it is part of Tornado Alley), and hurricanes (with Rita in 2005 almost hitting Houston, the fourth largest city in the country). Think of the money our country would save if we didn't dole out disaster aid to this state every year.

A current crisis that is brewing regards the increase in violence in the Mexican city of Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso. Drug cartels are waging a war against the police and military that the corrupt and ineffectual Mexican government can't handle. Especially not with guns and dollars flowing freely across the American border and into the hands of the cartel in the border cities. If Texas secedes from the Union, they would not have U.S. Border Patrol agents and the U.S. Military anymore. They would have to fend for themselves with their militia groups. If we remember what happened at the Alamo, the Mexicans kicked their Texan asses, so for all their macho talk, Texas couldn't function without being part of the United States of America.

True, Texas might have lots of oil, but considering how much money they take from the federal government, I think they have no right to bitch and complain about the federal budget being too large. It was their beloved governor who became president that squandered the surplus that Clinton left behind, and set about ballooning the debt that got us into this mess. Launching two wars with two tax cuts was not the smartest idea, either. Never in the history of our planet has any empire waged a war without increasing people's taxes. Its simply not done. War is expensive and it has to be paid for somehow. Putting it on a national credit card issued from a Chinese bank is the dumbest idea anyone could come up with. Now that Americans have gotten the bill from Bush's excess, they have balked and don't want to pay. Too late. You wanted these wars and tax cuts and you accused the liberals who protested against them of being traitors and "surrender cheese monkeys."

If Texans truly want to secede from the United States of America, I say "good riddance!" Don't let the door hit you on the way out. We'll see how you handle the border wars with Mexico. And if you do become an independent country, I hope you make George W. Bush your "president for life." You deserve one another. Blood-thirsty for war, corrupt in business, disaster-prone of Biblical proportions. Yeah. Our economy would do so much better without you in our Union.

I'm hoping, though, that Texans will view their current governor as the kind of loopy extremist they don't need and decide to elect Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as their next Governor. She's the one McCain should've picked for a running mate instead of Sarah Palin. The women of Texas are plenty tough, but they have one good thing in their favour. They don't have machismo, which is what often gets men into trouble (ego that writes checks the body can't cash). We've seen all too painfully what happens when tough talk is not tempered by reason. I hope to God that Texans come to their senses. Governor Rick Perry is a dangerous demagogue who joins the pantheon of pathetic Republican politicians who don't have a fucking clue about anything.

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