‘Texas will do as Texas decides’

Somebody wrote in — “blogged in?” forgive me, I’m an old newspaper reporter — to the Democratic Daily claiming Debra Medina really isn’t a secessionist.

Medina is an uber-conservative candidate for Texas governor in 2010. The correspondent claims Medina’s recent speech at the Texas capitol in Austin proves she’s not a disunionist. Her words suggest otherwise.

Medina teamed up with Larry Kilgore, another far-right wing GOP gubernatorial hopeful, at a rally sponsored by the Texas Nationalist Movement.

The group is for Texas leaving the union and makes no bones about it. Hence, you’d think an anti-secessionist would shun a gathering the nationalists put on.

Kilgore is a flat-out secessionist. At the rally, he said he hated the American flag and the federal government.

Admittedly, Medina’s message was more nuanced. “We will restore Texas sovereignty or Texas will do as Texas decides,” she concluded.

“Or do as Texas decides?” That’s about as subtle as a Mack Truck, my granddaddy, God rest his soul, used to say.

The crowd of about 200 — apparently all nationalists or nationalist- sympathizing white folks — understood Medina’s implication: “decides to secede.” They loudly clapped and cheered her.

Medina also said nice things about “nullification,” “interposition” and state “sovereignty.” The secessionists of 1860-1861 did, too. They used all three ideas to justify disunion and rebellion against our lawfully-constituted government.

Of course, secession really was rooted in white Southerners’ fears that Abraham Lincoln and the “Black Republicans” would end slavery. My guess is not too many Texas nationalists voted for our first African American president.

Anyway, the doctrines of nullification and interposition held that a state had the right to nullify – or interpose its will to stop — any federal action it deemed unconstitutional. In other words, the secessionists argued that ultimate sovereignty rested with individual states – not Washington.

President Lincoln and the Union states — including my native Kentucky — disagreed. Our troops — including 90,000 to 100,000 Kentuckians, white and African American — settled the issue on the battlefield. They whipped the Rebels from Texas and the 10 other Confederate states.

We are a federal republic, not a confederacy. My guess is most Republicans agree, maybe even most Texas Republicans.

In any event, the Civil War was the bloodiest war America ever fought. “We are aware — we understand — that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war,” Medina said.

“We?” Again, the crowd was clued in. They whooped and hollered some more.

So “…do as Texas decides;” “nullification,” “interposition,” “sovereignty.”

Maybe I’ll believe Debra Medina isn’t a secessionist at heart when hogs fly and kids don’t shoot hoops in the Bluegrass State any more.

Nah, not even then.

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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a native Kentuckian, a professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance journalist. He is a member of the American Federation of Teachers and the Kentucky Education Association/National Education Association. He is the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, which he describes as "a strictly non-partisan chronicle of our political past from Gov. Isaac Shelby to Gov. Ruby Laffoon."
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4 Responses to ‘Texas will do as Texas decides’

  1. Mr. Craig, I agree with you that Mr. Lincoln “whipped the Rebels from Texas and the 10 other Confederate states.” However, If the people of Texas vote for independence, are you willing to come kill us? Do you really believe the US government is incapable of negotiating a peaceful separation of assets and liabilities with seceding states? Why do you want to force Texas to be part of the US? Lincoln may have “settled the issue on the battlefield” in 1865. However, 2010 can be different. Let’s work together on a peaceful breakup that amicable to the US and the seceding states.

  2. Hart Williams says:

    I’ll bet you’re one of those types who still call it “The War of Northern Aggression.”

    One thing about loonie Tejanos: they can say the craziest stuff in such a way that it almost sounds reasonable. You’re still talking treason, but positing a virtual impossibility to make it SOUND as though you’re rational.

    Trust me, Mr. Kilgore, you’re not. You’re simply insulting, and, frankly, trollish. Mere felicity of expression makes your views no less distasteful and repulsive.

    As for re-arguing the Civil War, I presume that you’ve read Aesop’s “The Fox and the Grapes.”

  3. Michael Schustereit says:

    It’s not about the Civil War or North vs. South. Its about the last 16.75 years
    of political shenanigans and bipartison posturing in Washington D.C. The erosion
    of individual rights and the trampling of the rights of the states has been a progressive
    action one so gradual and infernal that most people can’t even detect what is going on.

    To me the basic premise is reduced federal government, stop legislating from
    the bench, rein in the power of the President, and bring our troops home. Let’s
    use the free market to do its job and weed out those companies which don’t have
    the common sense to steer clear of ruin. I want to be responsible for me and my
    family not the investor who didn’t read his disclosure statement or the people who
    won’t get off the couch to help themselves. I understand people need a helping hand
    every once in a while but when it goes on for years and years, kid after kid, and
    I have to pay higher taxes so a bureaucracy can dole out food and direction to
    them it irritates me. Is that an irrational response, I don’t think so.

  4. Hart Williams says:

    It’s not an irrational response, sir, it’s a nonsensical response. You merely spout the same tired canards that Republicans have spouted since Herbert Hoover. There’s nothing here that couldn’t have been heard at a Goldwater rally in 1964.

    Of course, he voted against the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, and Medicare and Medicaid, just like the GOP managed to be on the wrong side of every great social issue of the XXth century.

    But, I guess simplistic rhetoric trumps failed policies, proposals and positions. During the entire Vietnam War, the one group that both Democratic and Republican presidents could count on was those “Free Market” champions. Ditto every war since.

    Ditto every disastrous deregulation and ripoff.

    Explain your bold “Free market” freedoms to those retirees whose entire pensions were lost in the Enron debacle. In the S&L meltdown of the late (Reagan) 80s, in the most recent wave of bank failures, in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.

    Tell them how the “Free market” is going to replace their life savings.

    Or, what if it were YOUR life savings? Should we turn as callous ann jaundiced an eye on you as you turn on all others?

    The simple fact is that the “free market” has never been free, and the depredations of the last ten years, and the “S&L” crisis of the 1980s are the BEST POSSIBLE ARGUMENTS against an unregulated free market.

    Haven’t you been paying attention at all? The “16.75 years” line has to be some attempt at appearing “even-handed” but, frankly, the greatest erosion of civil rights in this country has come at the hands of “anti-terror” and, before that, from “anti-drugs.” And the vast majority of that legislation has come from “free-market” advocates.

    This ridiculous notion that you are only going to be responsible for your family and not the “couch potato” is just the same tired argument Ronnie Reagan used to whip up the morons with using his “welfare queen in a Cadillac” mythology:

    the idea that some hard-working schmuck (you) is being duped by an Evil Negress (or Couch Potato) who is forcing you to support the Weight of the World (Atlas Plugs) on your broad, muscular, entrepreneurial, freedom-loving, patriotic shoulders.

    And I can tell you this, buddy: You have never faced a major medical crisis in your family that cost you out of pocket.

    But you will.

    And then, these words will be the bitterest tonic you ever drank. We will all toast your brave freemarket fearless libertyousity, and watch you sink into financial oblivion without a soul to know or care that it turned out you WEREN’T an Island, you weren’t a Howard Roarke, designing buildings with pencils he manufactured himself, on paper he made himself, building the edifices with steel he made himself from coal and then coke and iron ore he dug himself, then smelted himself, using tools he machined himself, and, finally, driving the materials to the worksite himself in trucks he built himself, fueled from wells he dug himself, and piped to refineries he created by himself to give his trucks diesel to finish building the buildings that only he himself lived in, lit and heated by electricity he generated himself.

    Bravo. You are an island. You stand alone.

    You are definitely a rock.

    And, seemingly, you reason like one.

    There are still deserted islands for Complete Individualists like yourself. Flee to them. But only take those things that you yourself have made from scratch.

    Wouldn’t want to impinge on anybody else’s “individualism.”

    There’s your “secession.”

    Good luck with it.