Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Texas Tea Party: Are These People For Real?

Last Wednesday, Rick Perry made an appearance in Austin at one of the many "tea parties" held around the nation, protesting the current administration's spending policies. After his speech, he actually told reporters that Texans may get so fed up that they will want to secede from the Union! He must be joking! With the new rise to secession talk, which obviously will never happen in a million years, my boyfriend and I were curious as to what basis these people actually think they can legally break away. He found a website called TexasSecede.org. They are basing their entire argument on one paragraph from the 1876 Texas Constitution (our current document). Here is what they quote on their website:

"Texas is a free and independent State ... All political power is inherent in the people ... they have at all times the inalienable right to alter their government in such manner as they might think proper." 
— Texas Constitution (1876)

Please note the all important first ellipses. Because the line that that ellipses represents is the damning evidence that secession was no longer possible, once we joined the United States. Now, here is the original paragraph as it reads in the actual document:

Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States."

The words "All political power..." actually are the beginning of Section 2. Some may argue that it does not specifically state that we are subject to the President of the United States, but by saying we are subject to the Constitution, I think that argument would not stand up in court, as the Constitution covers the office of the President. And, to take it a step further, the Constitution of 1869, declared the Constitution of 1861, when we joined the Confederate States of America, null and void. It specifically denounces the power of secession. This was passage was required to appear in the new state constitutions by Andrew Johnson in order for the Southern states to re-enter the Union. Here is Article Twelve, Section Thirty-Three of the '69 Constitution:

"SECTION XXXIII. The ordinance of the Convention passed on the first day of February, A. D. 1861, commonly know as the Ordinance of Secession, was in contravention of the Constitution and laws of the United States, and therefore, null and void from the beginning; and all laws, and parts of laws, founded upon said ordinance, were also null and void from the date of their passage."
Granted, we no longer use this constitution, as a current one replaced it in 1876, however, it is clear that secession is not our sovereign right, nor is it legal to do so. For us to in fact withdraw from the United States, we would have to wage war. Do these people actually want that? They actually want to personally fight for their sovereignty? They have asked Obama to keep his hands out of their pockets and to re-read the US Constitution. Well, I think they need to take a good look at their own state constitution before speaking out of turn. Perry is clearly just trying to drum up voter support from the [very] right winged Texans, but I think he took it too far. No sense getting people so riled up, when seceding not even a possibility. Who actually still believes that secession is a good idea? Obviously the authors of TexasSecede.org do, because if you read their Q & A section, they have some very interesting answers to the common questions that are posed to their group. 

Personally, I don't think we've given Obama's new policies enough time to take effect. This nation is not a little tugboat, we are a giant freighter, and can't simply turn on a dime. It will be a long and painful recovery before substantial results are seen. This is major surgery we as a nation are undergoing- we can't be expected to be back on the playing field in full force in a couple of weeks And for that matter, I don't really have any better ideas, and it doesn't seem that anyone else does either, so until we do, let's keep the criticism to a dull roar. 

*PS. Thanks, Chad for the history lesson!

1 comment:

  1. I think you should share your thoughts with the governor, as well as the press (if any are still in business). Calling these politicos on their wild statements is one way to make them perhaps more prudent about what propaganda they spew to the public.