Recently, Heather Cox Richardson, history professor at Boston College, reported that the Texas Republican Party platform included calling for a vote “for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.” It seems that the idea of the secession of Texas raises its head nearly every year.
The following commentary was originally published in 2009 and has been modified only to bring some of the contemporary players into the picture.
It probably wouldn’t be so bad for the rest of this country to have Texas secede. Of course, we’d have to suspend construction of the fence between Texas and Mexico and move it north to separate Texas from New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. When that happens, the Texas panhandle should be incorporated into Oklahoma, just so that state won’t have such an odd shape.
Of course, that would place Amarillo in Oklahoma, but Texas is too big anyway and can afford to lose a little section. The other positive aspect of annexing the panhandle to Oklahoma would be that the U.S. would still have good access cross country via Interstate 40, which follows the route of old U.S. 66 across that section of Texas, without having to pass through a foreign nation.
Also, the U.S. wouldn’t have to send another billion dollars into Texas the next time a hurricane wipes out the Gulf coast.
Look, what has Texas done for the U.S. recently? Texas gave us three presidents, none of whom was very competent at the job — and it provided a place where the last president to be assassinated was shot down. Texas has also given us Ted Cruz, several Congressmen who left in disgrace, (Jim Wright and Tom DeLay), and Enron. And of course, virtually every tornado that twists its way across the heartland is spawned in Texas. If Texas secedes, maybe we can impose an import duty on all tornados which originate there and enter our territory.
It would be pretty costly to build a fence to separate Texas from the rest of us, but if all Texans are as paranoid as the Texas legislature, we can probably convince them that the U.S. is about to invade and they will likely foot the bill for the fence.
Naturally, following secession, it will be necessary for this country to thoroughly vet all the residents there before we could ever be expected to issue any visas for them to come here since they would no longer be legal residents of the U.S. And we might even end up treating Texas like Cuba and simply refuse to do any business with them.
The Dallas Cowboys would have to form a new league in their newly independent country and they would be no more likely to play against U.S. teams than would the Canadians. The other professional sports teams — the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers — would all be out in the cold or looking to play other teams in their new “country.” Boy, would that be a hit on the prosperity of their professional sports!
The rest of the country would be a bit richer when 38 Texas congressmen are removed from the federal payroll. At $174,000 per person, the U.S. would be $6,612,000 richer every year. And considering how many natural disasters strike Texas and require federal funds to fix, we would probably be in the plus column. And it’s hard to see the downside of having 24 fewer Republican members of the House and two fewer Republican senators, especially when one of those is Ted Cruz.
Texas should fare pretty well as an independent country. There are 193 countries that are smaller in area than Texas, including France and Germany, and that would only change by 5 countries, with the panhandle given to Oklahoma.
Perhaps the only downside would be that Texans (or whatever they choose to call their new country) would be able to claim bragging rights for having the only three foreigners ever elected president of the United States.