The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Attn: President Barack Obama
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
RE: Texans Petition to Secede
United We Stand: Divided We Fall
Dear Mr. President:
There have been recent published reports about some Texans desiring to secede from the Union. The most recent includes today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s editorial. At last count per this writing, there are now 116,070 signatures on a petition for such purpose.
Though this number hardly represents the majority of Texans, we recognize that all citizens are entitled by the First Amendment of the Constitution the Right to Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances.
Seeing that you have obligated yourself to a response on a petition with more than 25,000 signatures, I would like to weigh in on your deliberation on this issue, and advise you not to make the same mistake made by President Abraham Lincoln. Instead, you should learn from history, because this secessionist movement in Texas is not unprecedented.
When Texas seceded from the Union in 1861, only one-in-four Texans owned slaves. This minority usurped the authority of Governor Sam Houston, the revered father of Texas, who opposed the secessionist movement. Lincoln even offered Houston military help to suppress this uprising. But, for the sake of peace within the state, the governor acquiesced to the rebellious minority who subsequently evicted him from office by force on March 16, 1861. He was replaced by Lieutenant Governor Edward Clark.
It is no wonder that this portion of Texas history hardly appears in the history books. Otherwise, it would reveal the illegitimacy of the Confederate government in Texas. The Ordinance of Secession was never put before the majority of the citizens of the state, lest they would have opposed it like the governor.
A little known fact is that Texas held large pockets of abolitionists, prior to and during the Civil War. And though that state was separated from the Union, it was divided against itself within. There were pro-Union Texans actively fighting against the Confederacy throughout the war.
In the end, African-Americans survived, with the help of their abolitionist allies, and not necessarily by the grace of Abraham Lincoln. Likewise, we believe Texans of abolitionist heritage will survive this secession movement also, despite economic cuts and scale backs by the state to our community.
We wish no part in these hostilities, nor do we concur with this petition for secession. When we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and ourselves to be One Nation, under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All, we express our true patriotic colors. Those who pledge allegiance and wave their flags at every public event, and then turn against the United States, are hypocrites, because you cannot cling to two masters: Old Glory and the Confederate southern tradition.
I do not believe most Texans hold the same sentiments of Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County, who says, “Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way.” What is at issue is this: If the rest of the United States cannot concur with Texas, then the rest of the states can go their merry out. Texas is big enough to take care of itself. So says the petition:
Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union.
Please note also that the petition requests “peaceful” separation. Otherwise, suggesting the violent overthrow of the U.S. would be as seditious and criminal as an Al Qaeda plot. Therefore, so far, the petitioners are within their rights. But the minority does not have right over majority rule as the usurpation of power in 1861. Whereas the Texas Ordinance of Secession was never put before the citizens of the state, no such petition to secede should ever be enacted with the concurrence of the will of the majority living in the state.
Therefore, Mr. President, my advisement would be to let Texas vote its way out of the Union. If there are counties that still cleave to the Union, they should be allowed to. El Paso and Houston are already drafting petitions to secede from the state of Texas. So also is Austin.
The mistake made by President Lincoln was trying to forcefully hold the Union together. Texas is already separated from the Union by continued resistance to federal authority and policies. The basis of the petitioners’ grievance is this: The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending.
But when a Texan, George W. Bush, was in the White House, turning a surplus economy into a deficit, there was not a peep in Texas about secession. The petitioners’ desires to separate themselves from continuing economic “difficulties” ignores the true origin of our economic woes.
How can these petitioners gripe about economic conditions, on the one hand, and boast about the state’s economic solvency, on the other. If Texas is doing so good economically as they boast in their petition, then on whose behalf are they complaining? Do they assume guardianship of the rest of the United States to speak on their behalf? And how can 116,070 petitioners speak for the entire state of Texas and the entire American people?
If Texas truly wants to secede, then let it be by democratic referendum. If passed, the state of Texas should then be regarded as a foreign government. Abolitionists should not be forced to pledge allegiance thereto, nor have their freedoms by armed forces or treats of lynching, as in the past. Instead, pro-Unionists living in the state should be treated as patriots abroad.
We would support the federal government closing its facilities and moving to other states. Federal contracts to the defense industries should be cancelled. Federal construction should cease. And, federal grants and aid should be cut off or doled out on an as-needs basis, as to a foreign government.
It is not necessary to be overly concerned about pro-Union citizens in the state, as Abe Lincoln did in 1861. We will survive, though divided we fall.