The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Texas Republicans want to secede? Good riddance.

A Donald Trump cutout stands at Patriot Mobile display at the Republican Party of Texas convention at George R. Brown Convention Center on Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Houston. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)
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The Lone Star State does not have the best track record as a sovereign power. The Republic of Texas survived only 10 years from independence to annexation by the United States in 1845. Texas seceded during the Civil War — and, with the rest of the Confederacy, was crushed.

But, as the saying goes: If at first you don’t secede, try, try again. The Texas GOP now wants the state to vote on declaring independence.

And the United States should let Texas go! Better yet, let’s offer Texas a severance package that includes Oklahoma to sweeten secession — the Sooner the better.

Over the weekend, while many Americans were celebrating the 167th anniversary of Juneteenth (when Union Gen. Gordon Granger, in Galveston, Tex., delivered the order abolishing slavery) the Texas Republican Party voted on a platform declaring that federal laws it dislikes “should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified.”

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The proposed platform (it’s expected to be approved when votes are tallied) adds: “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto.” It wants the secession referendum “in the 2023 general election for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

Yee-haw!

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Of course, protections would have to be negotiated for parts of Texas that wish to remain on Team Normal. Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and parts of South Texas would remain in the United States, and they will need guaranteed safe passage to New Orleans or Santa Fe, along with regular airlifts of sustainable produce, accurate textbooks and contraceptives.

But consider the benefits to the rest of the country: Two fewer Republican senators, two dozen fewer Republican members of the House, annual savings of $83 billion in defense funds that Texas gets. And the best reason? The Texas GOP has so little regard for the Constitution that it is calling for a “Convention of the States” to effectively rewrite it — and so little regard for the United States that it wishes to leave.

In democracy’s place, the Republican Party, which enjoys one-party rule in Texas, is effectively proposing a church state. If you liked Crusader states and Muslim caliphates, you’ll love the Confederate Theocracy of Texas.

The Texas GOP platform gives us a good idea what such a paradise for Christian nationalists would look like. Texas would officially declare that “homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice.” It would redefine marriage as a “covenant only between one biological man and one biological woman,” and it would “nullify” any court rulings to the contrary. (The gay Log Cabin Republicans were banned from setting up a booth at the convention.) It would fill schools with “prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments” but ban “the teaching of sex education.” It would abolish all abortions and require students to “learn about the Humanity of the Preborn Child.”

The Texas Theocracy, which maintains that President Biden “was not legitimately elected,” would keep only traces of democracy. It wants the Voting Rights Act of 1965 “repealed,” and it would rewrite the state constitution to empower minority rule by small, rural (and White) counties. It would rescind voters’ right to elect senators and the Constitution’s guarantee of birthright citizenship.

The Texas Theocracy would probably be broke; it wants to abolish the federal income tax, “Axe the Property Tax” and do away with the estate tax and various business taxes. Yet it is planning a hawkish foreign policy! The platform argues that Texas is currently “under an active invasion” and should take “any and all appropriate measures the sovereign state defines as necessary to defend” itself. It imagines attacks by a “One World Government, or The Great Reset” — an internet-born conspiracy belief — and proposes “withdrawal from the current United Nations.” The Theocracy would put the “wild” back in the West, abolishing the minimum wage, environmental and banking regulations, and “red-flag” laws or waiting periods to prevent dangerous people from buying guns.

Above all, the Confederate Theocracy of Texas would be defined by thought police. It would penalize “woke corporations” and businesses that disagree with the theocracy over abortion, race, trans rights and the “inalienable right to refuse vaccination.”

Government programs would be stripped of “education involving race.” Evolution and climate change “shall be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change.” There would be a “complete repeal of the hate crime laws.” The Texas Revolution “shall not be ‘reimagined’” in a way the theocracy finds “disrespectful.” Confederate monuments “shall be protected,” “plaques honoring the Confederate widows” restored, and lessons on “the tyrannical history of socialism” required.

In their platform, the Texas Republicans invoked “God” or the “Creator” 18 times and “sovereignty” or sovereign power 24 times. And the word “democracy”? Only once — in reference to China.

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