Most Likely to Secede

On tour with the Texas Nationalist Movement.

September 2015By Comments

Illustration by Nicki Longoria

Although its name evokes an evangelical church or a parish hall, the Center for Life is actually a natural health clinic tucked behind a Dollar General on San Antonio’s North Side. Still, despite its secular setting, the building’s conference room doubled as a revival tent on July 18, when the Texas Nationalist Movement’s Take Texas Back tour stopped by.

Shirtsleeves rolled up, TNM president Daniel Miller paced in front of a large banner depicting the Alamo as he reminded his fifteen listeners why Texas should secede from the United States. “Texans are sick and tired of being governed by bureaucrats we didn’t elect, forcing policies on us that we don’t want,” he proclaimed to supportive murmurs of that’s right and mm-hmm. “There is no solution for Texas other than independence.” At least two people answered back, “Amen.”

The Take Texas Back tour, a month-long effort to spread the gospel of Texas independence, has visited nearly two dozen cities across the state. At each stop, from a Comfort Suites in Midland to the Beijing China Buffet in Palestine, TNM has trained petitioners to collect the 75,000 signatures necessary to get a referendum on secession added to the 2016 state Republican primary ballot. The referendum would ask Governor Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session to discuss including another version of the referendum on next year’s general election ballot. Because Texas doesn’t have voter-led ballot initiatives, Miller explained, this roundabout process is the only way the people can get the chance to vote on independence, a concept supported by 36 percent of Texan respondents in a 2014 Reuters poll. The ballot-box approach is notably calmer than the tactics of an earlier secessionist movement, the Republic of Texas, which took two Fort Davis residents hostage in 1997, leading to a week-long standoff with state troopers.

The Texas Nationalist Movement, which was formed in 2004, claims more than 200,000 members (some of whom signed up for free on the group’s website). Twenty thousand of them have joined since June 1, though Miller said the tour was planned long before the early-summer Supreme Court decisions that galvanized some new members.

The court’s decision on same-sex marriage, along with the recent backlash against the Confederate flag, motivated 38-year-old Brandon Burk­hart, of San Antonio, to attend the July 18 meeting. “That goes against the beliefs of Christians, Catholics, and others, and you can’t tread on someone else’s rights,” Burkhart said. “There’s only one thing that stands above Texas in my book, and that’s God—and I think they go hand in hand. Texas has always blazed a trail for everyone else in rights and freedoms.” For 63-year-old Guy Franceschini, of Devine, the appeal of Texas leaving the union is opting out of “a communist agenda that’s being dictated from D.C.”

Miller, who runs an online Texas music radio station when he’s not agitating for independence, is patient with questions. Newcomers often wonder how Texas will form a military, establish a currency, and negotiate the status of resources like Fort Hood and Big Bend National Park. But it won’t be a violent process, he said, pointing to Scotland, which last year voted down a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. No one had expected British troops to intervene if that had passed. And what will become of the Texans who were content being Americans? “Independence is no panacea,” Miller acknowledged. “Never will one hundred percent of the people be satisfied with one hundred percent of the decisions. But at least they will be our policies, they will be our decisions, they will be expressions of our political will.”

Asked what he’d miss most about being an American, Miller barely paused. “I really can’t think of a thing.”

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  • Regina Cowan

    I’m more than ready!

  • Harvey Wallbanger

    Sounds like something to look into.

  • Tiffany Goehring

    Let’s go Texas Can’t wait.

  • Justin Craft

    Just love the sarcastic tone of the author…

    • onceproudamerican

      Socialists abhor the idea for freedom…. Government always ‘knows’ best….

      • dan6

        Well, i think it’s not clear just what opinions, if any, the author has. I sort of doubt that she sees herself as a socialist. But i also doubt she sees herself as just trying to reinforce a herd mentality even though that may be exactly the effect of her writing.

        For example, she notes that Miller was asked interesting questions —- she even repeats them (what about currency? what about the forts?) —- but she does not relay his answers.

        Surely some glimpse of Miller’s thoughts would have been much more informative than just noting the picturesque nature of the spots he’s speaking at, or the size of the small crowds.

        In a way, she exhibits the essence of our very American non-newsy news stories, focusing on the horse race aspects of any political contest rather than any ideas involved.

        But Miller’s actions prove he knows the way of the main stream media (MSM): he’s telling his story to small groups, one at a time, as he must.

        And maybe something will come of it.

        We’ll see!

      • Indiana Pearl

        Fascists do too . . .

  • Ric Rob

    Secession could benefit Texas considerably. Would you like to see why?

    http://www.seceder.com/Texas

  • onceproudamerican

    According to the Texas Constitution the ‘Union’ no longer exists as no one could credibly argue that our right of self-government has not been greatly impaired: ARTICLE 1. BILL OF RIGHTS

    That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare:

    Sec. 1. FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE. Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.

  • Roger Jordan

    I just found their website http://www.thetnm.org
    The lawlessness going on in Washington is a disgrace and it’s time We The People took control of the situation! I’m all in!

    • Ric Rob

      Good for you, Roger. The movement needs for more folks to start placing blame where it’s due…

  • Jim

    Yes, Texas will be a great nation, again.

    • WUSRPH

      The last time it was an independent nation Texas was bankrupt, constantly threatened by the invasion and begging the US to take it in….I suggest the same is likely if it were to ever become independent again.

      • Jim

        I suggest that your statement shows ignorance. Things are much different today than almost 200 years ago. Texas would have the 12th highest GDP in the world and fully able to defend herself.

        • WUSRPH

          Texas has that GDP because it is part of the economic union called the United States of America. There could be more than serious effects should it leave that shielding structure……First of all, it is would have to work out trade and tariff, etc. agreements with the US, which might not be too willing to be “friendly” in light of Texas having told it to go to Hell. The same would have to be worked out with all our other trading partners. You do not just flip a light switch and say everything will continue as it has in the past….Markets would be disrupted…The major parts of our economy would be owned by FOREIGNERS (US)…we would have major expenses now borne by the national govt. and a whole ton of other problems that make any idea of an independent Texas less than practical. Those who believe it can be done are those who are capable of believing more than a dozen impossible things before breakfast….

          • Jim

            No, Texas would grow much stronger without the socialist tentacles of the federal government holding us back. The US would be forced to trade with us because we produce goods that they need.

          • WUSRPH

            Dream on….what are you going to do when all those NEW YORK FINANCIERS start throwing their weight around since the will OWN OUR ECONOMY…..NATIONALIZE THEM?

          • Indiana Pearl

            “Socialist” . . . Do you know what that means?

          • Terry GodLion

            Amen,
            Texas is the ONLY state that GIVES more money to the Federal Govt than it RECEIVES.

          • Robert Courtemarche

            Really? Last time I checked there were 32 states that give more than Texas and receive less.

          • Terry GodLion

            Different sources I guess.

        • Indiana Pearl

          No military bases, no federal aid to education – universities, public schools, research institutions, no federal highway system, no FDIC bank assurances, no VA or govt. real estate loans, no fed support of poor people at public hospitals, no school lunch program, no SS, no Medicare.

          Texas without the feds is busted.

          • Jim

            Texas would get to keep the military bases that are already developed on its land. Most Texans in the military would be happy to become soldiers for Texas instead of the imperialist US. The federal aid to education is minimal…it mostly consists of free lunches. We don’t need them there. The FDIC bank assurances are part of the socialist policies that I am complaining about. The existence of the FDIC holds down the interest rates that you and I receive when we place money in the bank, and thereby discourages saving. Research institutions are not the duty of the govt, those should be privatized anyways. The federal highway system gets its money from a federal gas tax. We could take the exact same amount as the federal gas tax currently is, and do a much more efficient job of running our own highways because there would be no federal middle man nor extra federal regulations that cost more and don’t help anything. I expect that an independent Texas would start its own form of VA loans, and the cost to this is small. Other govt loans should not exist anyways. The existence of Fannie and Freddie is pure socialism. It is not the job of the govt to provide hospital care for the poor–charity can do a much better job. Social security and medicare are still available to all citizens of the US who live outside of the US.

            You may notice that most of your concerns about independence come from liberalism. If you want to keep such socialist policies in place, then you certainly would not want independence. However, if you want to live in a society that is socialist, I suggest that you are living in the wrong state–California is calling your name.

          • Ed Hino

            you guys are delusional We are fighting in iraq and the middle east over there oil you think wdc is going to allow you to control the eagle ford and barnet shale and oil comPANY refineries you folks dont know diddly sqUATTHEN YOU HAVE THE MEXICAN WHO HAVENT FORGOTTEN THERE LAND WAS STOLEN FROMTHEM AND THEY WANT THERE SPANISH COLONY BA CK ,THERES 1.7MILLION VETERANS INTEXAS THINK ON IT DONT YOULOOK STOP POSTING THIS CRAP ONHE INTERNET PLUS ,THENTHERES THE STI PUL ATIONTEXAS CANBREAK UP INTOFIVE STATES WHO WOULD FOLLOWYOU FOLKS INSECESSIONNO ONE READ THE TEJANOS SOUTH TEXAS BOSSRULE INSTARR COUNTY HOW GREAT IT WAS UNDER THE CONFEDERACY MEXICO SAVE YOUR HILLBILLY ASSES

          • Terry GodLion

            Mexico invited folks to Texas,before it was Texas, WHY?, to keep their butts from being murdered by the Comanches.
            NO One stole anything, Mexico gave it to them.
            The reason for Texas breaking from Mexican rule was the idiots wanted to disarm them.
            Just like 1776.

          • UnreconstructedRebel

            Hey Ed. Do all your readers a favor and take an ESL course.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You make assumptions with no evidence. If military veterans have no retirement, VA hospitals, Medicare, or SS, they’ll leave for more a supportive environment where their service is valued.

          • Indiana Pearl

            And who’s going to collect the gas tax? You guys need to think about this a lot more.

          • Terry GodLion

            The state.

          • Harvey Wallbanger

            The fed is already busted there, 18 trill in debt and all.
            Texas without the feds is a Texas without the debt.

          • Ed Hino

            texas got bailed out last recession damn you dumb dude obama gave rickperry 28billion to balance the budget
            out of the tarp 775billion

          • Harvey Wallbanger

            Any proof?

            I’ll wait.

            Meanwhile:
            The Bailout Scorecard

            Last update: Aug. 24, 2015

            Altogether, accounting for both the TARP and the Fannie and Freddie bailout, $615B has gone out the door—invested, loaned, or paid out—while $390B has been returned.

            The Treasury has been earning a return on most of the money invested or loaned. So far, it has earned $283B. When those revenues are taken into account, the government has realized a $57.3B profit as of Aug. 24, 2015.

            I couldn’t find where any of that went to the Texas state government. Will you?

          • Terry GodLion

            It didn’t,maybe that’s why.
            We are the only state to my knowledge that MUST have a balanced budget, and a slush fund (last I heard it was 17 billion).

          • Terry GodLion

            LOL, Texas was never IN the 2008 Recession.
            The TARP funds were all given to Banks on Wall street.
            The Federal Reserve( a corporation, nothing to do with the US Federal Gvt, EVER) and the Wall St bankers sucked up that cash.
            Fed loaned to to the Banks @ 0%, and then they stopped loaning it, so they could collect the 2% interest from the Fed for it being IN there asset columns.

          • Terry GodLion

            Soon to be 22 Trillion before barahack continues to murder the Union.

          • UnreconstructedRebel

            It apparently never occurs to liberal nitwits who repeat this mindless argument that the taxes to pay for those federal programs come from the States in the first place. Without the burden of sending taxes to DC, Texas could easily use the same funds to support whatever social-welfare programs were appropriate; hopefully, none.

      • Terry GodLion

        12th largest economy in the world, doubt you can compare the times.Oil,open water ports, agriculture,infrastructure, and 27 million and counting.
        And we could form a military of our own easy.

        The US of A (alias D.C.),is a cancer on the nation.
        Don’t know of who would threaten us, except the bondage bankers in NYC, and the puppets in the upper echelon of the let over remains of what WAS a great nation.
        The NWO order gang has destroyed this nations, mores, and values.
        Time to get back to God, and natural law and sovereign citizens, not SERFS.

  • UnreconstructedRebel

    “Newcomers often wonder how Texas will form a military”. Switzerland seems to have managed to form a military. How will poor Texas, with a population and an economy 3 times the size of Switzerland ever manage? The stupid is running pretty deep in the author’s attempt to ridicule Texas independence.

    • Indiana Pearl

      The Swiss Army . . . my blood runs cold.

      • UnreconstructedRebel

        You want to look up how many times they’ve been successfully invaded in the past 700 years or so? Maybe you could start with wikipedia.

        • Indiana Pearl

          “Because of Switzerland’s long history of neutrality, their army does not take part in conflict in other countries.”

          — Wikipedia

          But they’ve got a really great knife . . .

          • UnreconstructedRebel

            And they’ve been successfully invaded how many times? By Louis XIV? Napoleon? Hitler? Hint: None of the above.

    • disqus_6ifxqvwzzY

      The Swiss live at the top of some pretty tall mountains whose passes can be closed at a moment’s notice. There’s some deep stupid here, alright? Wanna guess where I think it resides?

  • Doc2222

    I hope Texas does secede…then we can build a big ol’ fence around it and keep all you arrogant illegal aliens out of the United States. We don’t want y’all coming over here, raping our women and stealing all of our jobs. And don’t none of you wetbacks even think about swimming across the Red River and stepping foot into Oklahoma! And don’t be digging any tunnels underneath it in order to smuggle none of your illegal drugs here, neither! That’s right! All of you barbecue bellies better just stay on your own side of the fence! And don’t even THINK about trying to sneak into Colorado…everybody knows that if Texans were meant to ski, BS would be white! Forget the Alamo!! Maybe Canada will let the Cowgirls join the Canadian Football League just so they’ll have someone to play besides Houston. Yeah, go ahead and secede! Nobody wants to mess with y’all, anyway!

    • Harvey Wallbanger

      Well, OK then.

  • Jed

    i have a tattoo on my shoulder that is a map of texas, filled in with the first official flag of the republic of texas (blue with yellow star). above this sits the word “secede,” in red.

    and i still think these guys are clowns.

    • Oliver Angus

      I declare you today’s winner of the internet. Well done Jed. Well done.

  • jammerjim

    Yes, because becoming a oil-based Theocracy has worked so well for other parts of the world. Jackasses.

  • disqus_6ifxqvwzzY

    Texas can’t secede. The Civil War settled that, and it’s a good thing. I would not want to live in a nation founded by screwballs.

    • Ric Rob

      How about in a nation run by ’em?

      http://www.usdebtclock.org

    • onceproudamerican

      What part of the Constitution says that? Hint – only voting ‘settles’ things and nothing in the Constitution grants Congress or the other States any ‘say’ in the matter – see the 9th and 10th Amendments.. Even Lincoln agreed self-determination is a human right:

      “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. ” Abraham Lincoln

      • disqus_6ifxqvwzzY

        Dream on. A dream is just another form of delusion.

  • NEO Stephens

    See ya! Don’t let the fence hit you on the way out. And make sure to send back all those Billions you get in federal dollars before you leave.

    • Harvey Wallbanger

      Send back? We sent the money to them in the first place.
      Enjoy your 18 trillion in debt.

  • Angelo_Frank

    The whole concept is ludicrous. With no Social Security or Medicare a whole bunch of these traitors would die off. Millions of military retirees would relocate along with the departing military bases creating a financial abyss in Texas. U.S. corporations would relocate unwilling to deal with the chaos and loss of qualified employees from other states. Another words, y’all would be hosed and begging to come back. Oh, one glitch, it’s illegal for the State of Texas to secede according to a 1867 Supreme Court ruling.

    • Ric Rob

      Evidently you believe that folks would prefer to live in a land with abundant federal taxation & restrictions? Such folks won’t be missed in an independent Texas… Texas can do just fine, by the way:

      http://www.seceder.com/Texas

  • Angelo_Frank

    Simply put, the ruling in the 1867 Supreme Court case Texas v. White makes any state effort to legally secede from the U.S. absolutely pointless. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase’s majority opinion reads, “The union between Texas and the other states was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the states.” Pretty concrete stuff.The joint resolution for the annexation of Texas by the United States also has no mention of Texas’ right to break from the union.

    • Harvey Wallbanger

      “Simply put, the ruling in the 1867 Supreme Court case Texas v. White makes any state effort to legally secede from the U.S. absolutely pointless.”
      If it happens, I imagine we won’t be to concerned about this. I doubt we cared much if Britain said what we were doing was illegal back in 1776 or os.

    • onceproudamerican

      Actually that matter ‘at bar’ was NOT the clear right of any State to leave the Union… the passage you quote is mere ‘dicta’ as it has nothing to do with the matter at bar.

      “Walter Williams, a distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University has written on the secession question on a number of occasions. In his understanding secession is indeed legal. He noted at one point that before the War Between the States a constitutional amendment was proposed by some Northern congressman that would prohibit secession. He then points out that there would have been no point in offering such an amendment if secession had already been unconstitutional. You do have to admit that he has a point.”

  • Mike Crognale

    And the MILLIONS of us who are retired drawing Social Security or Military retirement pay will be immediately cut off. I love Texas. This is a stupid idea. We are part of the Union.

    • Harvey Wallbanger

      “And the MILLIONS of us who are retired drawing Social Security or Military retirement pay will be immediately cut off.”
      Speculation. For example, payments for Social Security come from current payers. I imagine we can continue on as it is now, but with Texas doing the administration.
      And we’re instantly out that 18 trillion out federal government thinks we owe.

      • Jed

        you think an independent texas will immediately set about to reconstruct the very welfare state that they abhor so much today?

        talk about speculation …

        • Harvey Wallbanger

          Yep. It’s all speculation until it happens. Where is it in record that Texas abhors a welfare state? How can a state ‘abhor’ to begin with?

          • Jed

            um, i think it is recorded in the state party platform.

            are you from here?

          • Harvey Wallbanger

            You think it is?

          • Jed

            that was sarcasm.

            if you’re trying to argue that texans love government spending on social programs, you’ll need more than a few well placed question marks to make your case.

            until then, looks to me like you’re all hat no cattle.

          • Harvey Wallbanger

            “if you’re trying to argue that texans love government spending on social programs,”
            I’m not trying to say anyone loves anything.

            What I said was “For example, payments for Social Security come from current payers. I imagine we can continue on as it is now, but with Texas doing the administration.” as a response to Mike Crognale’s suggestion that: “the MILLIONS of us who are retired drawing Social Security or Military retirement pay will be immediately cut off.”

            I think it is a valid solution to his perceived problem.

  • Robert Courtemarche

    Holy crap Texas, just go. Have fun making an economy when oil is $45 a barrel.

    • Harvey Wallbanger

      Enjoy your 18 trill in debt there, Robert.

    • onceproudamerican

      Have fun when China and Russia perfect their scheme to make the US Dollar irrelevant in the world economy just about the time the FED inflated stock bubble bursts. Texans will be wise to ‘decouple’ so they can steer clear of the wreckage the FED/Congress/POTUS and the welfare state has insured…