by Steve Hammer
Fare thee well, Texas
After our most recent democratic elections, in which the president of the United States was fairly re-elected, certain citizens are expressing their disagreement with the results by threatening to leave the United States altogether.
Among the states where secessionist fever has taken hold is Texas, where "Secede!" bumper stickers are hot items and politicians are trying to align themselves as being the most eager to leave the United States.
I feel their pain. After fraudulent results in 2000 ended with the Supreme Court picking one of the leading intellectuals of Texas, George W. Bush, to be president, I called for Indiana to secede from the United States and start a freedom zone where none of Bush's policies would be obeyed.
Through secession, Indiana could have saved lives that we ended up losing in the great Oil Wars of the early 2000s. Instead, we ended up bearing the burden of the Bush policy of bankrupting the government in favor of tax cuts for the rich.
Yes, we suffered mightily during the Era of Bush as we absorbed news of state-sanctioned torture at Abu Ghraib, neglect that caused loss of life during Hurricane Katrina and the mounting death counts of soldiers in the various wars.
Indiana made a mistake not seceding from the United States and joining Canada in the 2000s. So I understand the urge that leads Texans to want to leave the United States.
Let's assess the situation from a purely economic point of view. What would happen if Texas left the U.S.? The rest of America would actually see a net positive. The nation would save billions by closing the many military bases in the state and reassigning the personnel elsewhere. Since the rest of the United States would no longer have to protect Texas from a foreign invasion, we can work on making the remaining 49 states safe.
We would also lose the tax revenue from the businesses still located in Texas, which would be a loss. That loss would be more than offset by the stoppage of welfare, Social Security and other benefits devoured by the citizens of the former state of Texas. More than 47 percent of Texans receive some sort of government assistance that will have to be paid by the secessionist government.
There would certainly be some unforeseen difficulties arising from the departure of Texas from the United States, but we would get by, perhaps even stronger than before. We would also gain a vacation destination in the independent nation of Texas. Guns would be legal and mandatory, leading to plenty of weekend getaways involving AK-47s and target practice.
What the nation of Texas won't be able to do very much about is the issue of its ethnic minorities, many of whom will not take kindly to the imposition of a fascist military state. Hopefully the local authorities will draw up some sort of plan to quell the inevitable rebellions.
What Texans seem to be angriest about, if one takes the secessionist news stories at face value, is what they see as the rejection of fundamental democratic values in the last election: Nothing says "unfair election" more than a freely held vote with opposing candidates offering a clear choice.
If losing Texas is the price we have to pay for the re-election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, well that seems like a relatively minor price to pay for the restoration of economic justice, universal health care and a foreign policy where war is not the instinctive answer.
Let's take one last look at the 2012 election results before passing judgment on Texas. Votes are still being counted in many parts of the country three weeks after the election, so the totals could change slightly, but Obama won almost 64.5 million votes to Romney's 60.3 million. The percentages shape up this way: Obama 50.8 percent, Romney's 47.49 percent.
That's up slightly from the election night returns and experts predict Obama's total to rise slightly as additional absentee and provisional ballots are tabulated. Even given the current totals, it appears that the president won more than 4 million more votes than Romney including Texas and 5 million more without it.
So what secessionists in Texas seem to be saying is that democracy is overrated and that the duly elected winner lacks legitimacy. In that case, we don't need a dictatorship state in our great southwestern region and we should facilitate the exit of Texas from the Union.
We should be so lucky to rid ourselves of the nuisance of Texas, a state now known not for its cattle and cowboys but for its extreme political views and its stubborn insistence at being a sore loser because their millionaire venture capitalist candidate lost the presidency. Good riddance.