Since Barack Obama's reelection, we've been hearing from a bunch of people who are so upset that they want to secede from the Union. Not surprisingly, this sentiment is centered largely around Texas, where there is a widely-held but incorrect belief that the state, unique among the fifty, reserves the right to secede at will.
Look at what happened last time: a massive war killing hundreds of thousands of people, and for what? So they can still want to leave again, 150 years later? Let's not repeat that mistake. Let's just let them go, if they hate this country that much. What do we want Texas for, anyway?
So here's my proposal. Chop Texas into two pieces: the Panhandle, and the rest of it. The Panhandle is the good part of Texas. The Panhandle has Route 66; it has one of the main east-west corridors for truck and train shipping; it has that restaurant where if you can eat the 72-ounce steak in an hour, it's free; it has the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere; it has Cadillac Ranch; it has one-third of the world's helium supply. It has the only assembly and disassembly facility for nuclear weapons in the country. It has Deaf Smith County, which is far too cool a name to let go. It's one of the fastest-growing sources of wind power in the country, of which I'm sure the rest of Texas is deeply ashamed.
The Panhandle, we keep. The rest of it, go ahead and leave. We won't miss it. The Panhandle can join Oklahoma, or New Mexico if it prefers (I'm sure it won't).
The federal government can just pull out. Send letters to all the senior citizens informing them that their Social Security and Medicare benefits will be ending – I'm sure they resent every penny of “redistribution” they get from those programs, and will be happy to be free of them. Fold up the Postal Service and drive all the trucks north. Remove all the military hardware, and blow up the bases on the way out – we can't have that stuff falling into the hands of a foreign government, after all. Pack up the Border Patrol and leave it to the Texas Rangers.
Oh, sure, the Panhandle is one of the most deeply Republican areas in the country. Roberts County voted 92.9% for Mitt Romney. But being Republican doesn't necessarily mean not wanting to be American, and Republicans are more than welcome in the USA. Folks need only move south if they want out – just like people in other states who want out can just pack up and head for Texas.
Texas is the rare red state that pays more in taxes than it receives in federal spending, so it should be able to fend for itself. It's got all that oil, after all. As long as the Texas State Guard, National Guard, and a bunch of well-armed good ol’ boys who remember the Alamo can secure the border against those Mexican drug cartels, it'll be fine.
We will miss Big Bend National Park. When the Republic of Texas sells it to a private company, and the roller coasters and water slides go up, it will be lost forever. A very real but worthwhile sacrifice.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has voted to pursue statehood, so we may not even have to change the flag.
Or, you know, maybe all this secession talk is, as they say in Texas, “All hat and no cattle.”