It’s hard to believe, but Donald Trump may not be the biggest embarrassment the Republican Party has to deal with this election year. Not as long as there’s a place called Texas.
It seems that 22 local GOP conventions in Texas have passed resolutions calling for a vote at the party’s state convention on whether that state should secede from the Union. According to a story in The Houston Chronicle, this number is up from 2012, when only one local convention endorsed the idea.
Now, normally, if someone started babbling about what a good idea it would be to repeat the mistake of 1861, people would quietly start edging away. But this is Texas, and this is the Republican Party circa 2016.
This is the state where the people of the right wing claim to revere the U.S. military but freak out and claim it’s an “invasion” when that military begins conducting routine maneuvers in the state — and their governor buys into the paranoia to the point where he sends the state militia down, just to keep an eye on things.
And lest we forget, this is the party that’s about to nominate a delusional, blustering reality show host to lead the Free World.
This is also the party whose dominant right wing still lionizes Allen West, whose chief of staff once loudly declaimed on camera that “if ballots don’t work, then bullets will.” So the rise of secessionist sentiment — or any kind of lunacy for that matter — in either the GOP or the Lone Star State should come as no surprise.
So will the Texas GOP actually vote for secession? The party establishment hopes that it never even comes to a vote. But then again, the establishment hasn’t been racking up a lot of victories against the rising tide of bat-spit craziness that’s engulfing their party.
So yeah, it could happen. And what if it does? And what if the Republican legislature and the aforementioned governor go along with it? Would Texas actually try to secede? You wouldn’t normally think such a thing would be possible, but then again, would you normally think the words “Republican front-runner Donald Trump” would ever be said with a straight face?
Well, if they do try to pull out of the Union — again — we’re going to have to close the military bases. Goodbye, Forts Bliss and Hood. Goodbye, Fort Sam Houston. Goodbye, Lackland, Randolph, Goodfellow, Laughlin, Sheppard and all the other Air Force bases, great and small. Goodbye to the Naval Air Stations at Corpus Christie, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie.
Sorry, Texas. I’m sure all those base towns will muddle through without the money and jobs the military brings to them. People will just flock to places like Killeen and Wichita Falls once the terrible occupying force of the U.S. government is gone.
Oh, and you’re going to need to find someone else to help you keep the Houston Ship Channel clear, because I wouldn’t expect the Army Corps of Engineers, those tools of a tyrannical regime, to keep dredging it for you.
This leaves the question: What do we do about Austin? Despite being the state capital and thus a locus for all the craziness that is Texas politics, by all accounts, it’s still a pretty cool place, what with that “Austin City Limits” show and the South by Southwest Festival and all. Maybe we can make it into a sort of 1950s Berlin-style enclave and supply it by air with weed and arugula.
There are lots of other details to be worked out. We’d need to arrange safe passage, for instance, for Willie Nelson. But in the end, we could let Texas be a sort of Promised Land to which all of those disaffected, angry, paranoid and just plain crazy right-wingers could settle. A sort of Israel for wingnuts.
Or here’s an idea, and one that only seems crazy in the context of these crazy times: The Texas GOP, and the Republican Party in general, could grow a spine, stop tiptoeing around these lunatics in the hope of keeping their votes, declare in no uncertain terms that any talk of secession or armed rebellion is outright treason, and kick these nuts to the curb.
Of course these secessionist idiots have a First Amendment right to babble their anti-American nonsense, but the Republicans don’t have to give them a forum.
Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage. His newest novel, “Ice Chest,” is available now.