When gigantic Alaska joined the Union in 1959, it squelched the source of Texans’ very special chauvinistic pride. Our homeland was still the best state and all that: but not the biggest. Even those consoling jokes about being the “largest inhabited state” acquired a hollow ring after oil rigs showed up on the arctic North Slope and Braniff— Braniff!—started flying direct from Houston to Fairbanks. Plainly, now, the palmy days are gone. Texas is just another state. Inter plura unum .
Such an indignity shouldn’t happen to the proud descendants of independent frontiersmen. Texas occupies more land than fourteen of its sister states combined; it has more people than sixteen combined. Others may tout their diversity, but Texas can prove it: deserts, swamps; oil, cattle; NASA and dirt farms. On a half dozen economic indicators, Texas has more than enough strength to be a country in its own right.
So why huddle back in the crowd with the other forty-nine? It’s time for the Largest Fully Thawed State to start looking over its options—boldly, brashly, narrow-eyed, like W. C. Fields with a pair of aces. Should Texas take advantage of a controversial, 130-year-old law and divide itself into five states, marching in quintuplicate on the Potomac? Or just go it alone as an independent country, leasing a choice spot on Massachusetts Avenue for an Astrodome-shaped Embassy? Pick a card.