A week in America | 24 June 2022

This week, Martin Liptrot, takes a look back on the Texas GOP. Does Texas really want to secede from the U.S.?

Martin Liptrot

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Political parties attract all sorts.

In the UK, the once noble Labour Party has suffered repeated efforts by the ‘hard left’ and those with militant tendencies to overthrow its electable, progressive centre-left agenda in favour of a radical and reactionary mantra built around punishing those who don’t comply with a particular Trotskyite/Stalinist view of political purity.

The Conservatives used to enjoy the support of working folk the length and breadth of the country. Unfathomably for modern psephologists, voters for generations used to routinely return Tory MPs in Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool.

But, slowly, the bank manager, chamber of commerce, Roundtable type of Tory has been marginalized by those seeking to capitalise on and protect the interests of the super wealthy and privileged and been pushed out by activists and candidates adopting an unhealthy and hateful attitude to diversity, tolerance, and all things foreign.

But nothing compares to the Republicans. And Texas Republicans in particular.

Texas Republicans are a queer breed.

Their state has some of the most diverse cities in America, rural and farming communities which feed the nation and multinational energy companies and tech conglomerates which could shape the future.

But rather than embrace this, a hard core seems to find this a cause of angst and wish to destroy it, declaring it ‘unpatriotic’ – code for anything against what they think they believe in – God, Guns and Gasoline mainly.

And the meeting place for such views appears to be the Texas GOP.

Last week, they got together. You can only imagine what that room looked like.

A convention of ‘Karens’ angrily shouting about things they don’t like the look of. Trump supporters in Ten Gallon Hats on ‘two-pint’ heads, and snake oil salesmen in sharp suits hustling for funds and donations.

The first act of the organisers of the Texas GOP Jamboree was to ban some Republicans from attending. A vote was hurriedly arranged, and gay Republicans were uninvited from the gathering.

The wonderfully named Log Cabin Republicans – a tribute to the humble background of America’s first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln – have been representing LGBTQ rights and interests within the GOP for the past 40 years and were rightly miffed.

“It’s clear that inclusion wins” said their Leader, Chas Moran. “Which makes the Texas Republican Party leadership decision to exclude the Texas Log Cabin Republicans from their convention not just narrow-minded, but politically short-sighted”.

Now, don’t get too upset, because the Log Cabin Republicans in recent years have, like the rest of the Republican Party, been taken over by Trump-backing groups and Moran and his crew have spent more of their time in name-calling gay Democrat Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, or fighting to block Gay Rights bills in DC or State Courts, or providing their backing to wannabe-President Ron DeSantis and his horrible ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws.

But, undeterred, the mainstream Texas GOP decided to double down on its attack, tabling and passing a motion which declared: “homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice.”  Nice.

But that was just an ‘amuse-bouche’ for what was to come.

The big-haired women of the Texas GOP and their angry and scared male counterparts, then proceeded to table, vote and pass a bewildering array of political motions which now will become the formal position of the Texas Republican Party, and are likely to be adopted by the State Senate they control.

In one weekend of madness, the Texas GOP:

  • Voted to end any legislative control over the “right to wear arms” and rebuked U.S. Sen. John Cornyn for working as a Republican negotiator on bi-partisan gun safety legislation following the massacre of young children in Texas only a couple of weeks earlier.
  • Declared Joe Biden wasn’t legitimately elected. That Trumpian tick.
  • Described gender dysphoria and transgender as ‘a mental illness’
  • Required school children to be taught that life begins at fertilization and to be shown ultrasound procedures and images of foetal development as part of the GOP’s opposition to abortion.
  • Called for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Lyndon Johnson, inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., had signed this Bill into law to expand scope of the 14th and 15th amendments by banning racial discrimination in voting practices.

But they saved the best for last, and in the final session of the Convention, the Texas GOP;

  • Called for the end of federal income tax and abolishing the Federal Reserve.
  • Called for a 2023 state-wide referendum on seceding from the United States. “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto.” Was the chosen language they approved.

Yes, you read that right – Texas Republican’s hate America so much, they want to leave.

Now a little bit of history helps here. Like parts of California and other Southwest and Western States, parts of what is now Texas used to be part of Mexico in the early 19th Century.

It became the Republic of Texas as part of the settlement of the US-Mexico war and, when new boundaries were drawn, formally applied, and was accepted into the United States in 1845.

I don’t think the intention of Texas Republicans was to re-join Mexico, rather they imagine creating their own nation running along the banks of the Rio Grande. Why, what for, and how this would benefit anyone wasn’t discussed but the voting delegates whooped and cheered the idea of being free from the imperialist grasp of the United States.

Imagine they get their referendum, and like the UK’s disastrous Brexit Vote, choose to go it alone.

The main parties can’t decide if they are for or against it, not wanting to upset electors before a 2024 Presidential campaign.

Fox News provides 24-hour live coverage as its reporters ride along with Nigel Farage and Donald Trump on rented buses endlessly criss-crossing the state from Amarillo to San Antonio before parking overnight in the wealthy suburbs of Dallas and Houston for chicken and steak fund-raisers.

Not only would Texas surely propose to build a Wall along its Southern border to keep Mexicans out, but I imagine, gates will be erected to stop Mardi-Gras bead throwers pouring in from New Orleans to the West, and ditches must be dug to dissuade contact with the liberals of California, the gamblers of Las Vegas and the Rainbow Army of Palm Springs to the Northwest.

But want happens when they win the referendum, and the Secession Party is over, then that first Tuesday of the month, the Federal Pension and Social Security checks don’t arrive?

What happens when the tax for Gasoline, Lucky Strikes and Oreos quadruples and diabetic medication is no longer available?

Suddenly, Mexico and its cheap mail order prescriptions, endless supply of cheap labour and factories churning out guns, ammo and Walmart ready merchandise looks a lot more attractive.

Go on Texas! Vote to Secede! Do us all a favour!

Martin Liptrot

Martin Liptrot is a Public Affairs, PR and Marketing consultant working with UK, US and Global clients to try and ‘make good ideas happen’.

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