All kinds of slanderous accusations have been thrown by the opponents of the Texas Independence Referendum Act: treason, sedition, illegal, and so on. Aside from the obvious Inigo Montoya response that “I do not think it means what you think it means,” Texas nationalists have plenty to say.
The TNM has spent decades fighting for Texas independence, and decades fighting misinformation. Rather than repeat all of the arguments here, let’s instead focus on one particular point of recent misinformation, the idea that a Texit referendum will somehow break up the United States immediately and result in war.
It is 2023 not 1861, and things are much different. In 1861, sectional and political differences led to secession and ultimately war. By the time the secession vote was held in Texas, six other states had already seceded. War began three months later. In those secession referendums, the results were nearly immediate. If the vote passed, the state had declared that they were no longer part of the United States.
The Texas Independence Referendum Act is nothing at all like 1861. There are no other states ahead of us, for one. We’re not riding a wave of “I quit.” We’re planning ahead on what a solo venture might look like. The TIRA does indeed call for a vote on the question, “Should Texas reassert its status as an independent nation?” What happens next is not some kind of “Texit Tuesday” we’re-outta-here rage quit tantrum.
In 1861, Texas seceded to join a coalition of other seceding states. In 2023, our goal is very different, full and total autonomous independence. We’re not leaving to join some confederation, we’re leaving to go at it on our own terms. We’re leaving to fulfill Sam Houston’s suggestion that “Texas will again lift its head and stand among the nations.”
When the referendum results indicate that voters choose that Texas should indeed become independent, that independence is not designed to begin immediately. The TNM has said all along that Texit is a process, not a single event. Every single media outlet who says that TIRA proposes a “secession referendum” is either misinformed or malicious. When the referendum passes, a bipartisan legislative committee is formed to investigate and plan for what Texas independence will look like. If journalists would actually read the bill before they wrote about it, they’d understand.
The committee is tasked with considering constitutional amendments or revisions, new laws that may be required, negotiation of transitional issues with the United States government, and considerations of multinational agreements. Each of these issues has specified sub-components within the bill. When the committee has investigated these things, it is obligated to bring a report to the legislature that includes a strategy for achieving Texas independence within 24 months of the initial referendum.
Opponents of Texas sovereignty have poked fun at the idea that Texas would leave and be left high and dry with a multitude of issues. These folks are at best mistaken, at worst malicious. The TIRA charges the legislature with addressing and proposing a solution to many of the most important issues associated with breaking away from the United States and sets a designated time period for that transition to occur. There is no plausible scenario where the TIRA vote is held and then suddenly overnight we’ve got to figure out currency, military, law changes, international relations, and so forth in order to be independent the next day.
In the previous legislative session when Biedermann filed HB 1359, the opposition used the bumper sticker phrase “Texas should lead, not secede.” While it rhymes, that’s the slogan’s only virtue. The one who would carefully plan an escape route from a burning building and then execute that plan is indeed a leader. The one who sees that the ship is sinking and rallies people to the lifeboats is a leader. Texas’ forging of a unique path toward independence from the US Federal Government is leadership at its finest. We’re not jumping on a secession bandwagon, and nobody but the opposition is calling for war.
Some have poked fun that we’d have a referendum to “ask the legislature to consider” secession. The strategy has been carefully chosen based on best practices from separations worldwide. The goal is peaceful and calculated transition. The alternative is to vote on Tuesday and be independent Wednesday morning with no preparation or plan for critical transition issues. A referendum like that, which is not what the TIRA proposes, would indeed be more likely to result in problems.
Are we ready to leave, sure. Are we throwing middle fingers and rage-quitting on referendum day? Absolutely not. Texas will be independent and successful not from a referendum alone, but from a well-considered transition process based on a mandate from the people. That’s what the TIRA provides. Will the United States be “split” in the process? Yes, but the change will be much more like sending a child to college than it will be like a messy divorce, so long as the US treats Texas fairly. To send a maturing state out on its own as an “adult” country with a plan is substantially different from a hodgepodge messy red vs blue “divorce” where everyone loses and chaos abounds.
While no metaphor accurately captures every angle, the child leaving home metaphor carries another truth worth exploring. College kids are stereotypically famous for getting by. They’ll sleep on a couch they found in an alley. They’ll eat ramen 6 days a week. They don’t always make good choices in the short term, and they make mistakes in their inexperience, and yet, five years later, maybe ten, they’re fully functioning adults. Twenty years later perhaps they’ll have children of their own ready to leave home. We tend to not judge our parents or grandparents by their college years. In the same way, the maturing of Texas from an independent young nation to a mature independent state firing on all cylinders will be a process that will take some time. We may worry about our college kids and their choices, but we let them go, and ultimately survive and thrive.
Those of us who advocate for Texit expect a carefully planned transition, but we also expect hiccups and growth opportunities. I want Texit for myself, sure, but I want my children to grow up in a free Texas that’s better than the current state of Texas as a US subsidiary state. I expect to tolerate some difficult times on that journey, but those difficulties only strengthen my resolve.
Those who say Texit will be “too difficult” are no different than those who sit on the couch because exercise is “too hard.” Sure they’ll miss out on the effort and even the pain, but they’ll miss out on the benefits. The TIRA sets out a reasonable path through the effort and the struggle, a path that will ultimately lead to Texas standing tall among the nations of the world.