When Susan Cammack sent out court orders for a case, she probably wasn’t anticipating ending up with a fine and probation for it. But this wasn’t just any ol’ court—this was the Republic of Texas court, and Cammack, a member of the separatist group, had tried to summon a Texas judge and banker involved in the foreclosure of her home. Instead, it was Cammack who was found guilty of simulating the legal process last week.
Cammack just wanted them to understand that as a citizen of the Republic of Texas—or a “Texian”—she believed that her land doesn’t belong to the United States. She may not have actually expected the judge and banker appear in court, but she certainly couldn’t have foreseen that local, state, and federal officials would show up to the group’s Valentine’s Day 2015 meeting in their place. About 20 officers, including the FBI, interrupted the gathering to search and fingerprint the 60 Republic members in attendance and confiscate their cell phones and recording devices.This all seems bit heavy-handed for a misdemeanor. According to the Houston Chronicle, even Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer, who led the raid, said it was a “show of force.”
But he felt justified in his actions considering the group’s most infamous incident. In 1997, the Republic’s former president Rick McLaren had a week-long standoff with about 300 state troopers after taking Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe as “prisoners of war” in a declaration of war with the United States. During the standoff, members of the Republic of Texas fired at state troopers, and one member of the group, Mike Matson, was shot and killed. McLaren is now serving time behind bars, but this incident has left the group with a reputation that makes at least one sheriff wary.
Current President John Jarnecke says the members of the Republic of Texas aren’t the same people they were in 1997. And though they’re still trying to gain independence, they’re now going about it nonviolently and (mostly) legally. So if the Republic of Texas don’t consider themselves to be the violent threat they were in the nineties, who are they now? Well for one, they don’t consider themselves to be secessionists. In the New York Times Jarnecke stated, “We in the Republic do not need to secede, because we never ceded it to [the US] to start with.”
Well, that makes sense. Why would you need to secede from a country you weren’t legally a part of in the first place? And that’s the rational the Republic offers on their website:
Seceding is the reversal of “ceding” some land to another. The republic of Texas never ceded its land to the United States, and that is very clear in the Annexation Agreement between them. What was changed was the form of government in Texas, and that can be changed again. The lands of Texas still belong to the republic of Texas to this day, including submerged coastal land for 12 leagues out into the Gulf, confirmed by court cases.
And the Republic of Texas is prepped and ready for when power changes hands again. Not only do they have their own government (Cammack is the Representative for Bexar County) and their own currency, but they’re even trying to establish international relations with the hopes of being recognized as a sovereign nation.
One such outreach attempt is a letter sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations, dated August 28, 2015, and published on their website. In it, they wish to “one again establish friendly relations with all nations” and also call attention to their “continued discrimination and persecution by the United States, the State of Texas and their agencies…”
The Republic of Texas just wants to exist peacefully as a country on the land that belonged to Texas before the 1845 annexation. And yes, that includes land that is now part of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
The Republic is an interesting mix of Texas bravado, Bible Belt mentality, frustrations with “big government,” and just enough of a disconnect with reality to try to establish a separate country through sheer willpower. But it’s hard to know how seriously they expect to be taken when on their own website they dismiss abortion, gun violence, and same-sex marriage as the tools of “lawyers and politicians to divide and conquer We the People.”
On the plus side, their citizenship application looks like a breeze. If the ID card application they have posted is up to date, the only requirements for membership is an address that proves you’ve resided within the Texas Republic (again this includes land in five states outside of Texas) for the past six months.
So it might be a good option of you’ve got aspirations to take back the country, and aren’t a fan of big government. Besides, they could probably use the additional members; there are quite a few vacancies in their legislative and judicial branches. Just maybe don’t subpoena anybody.