For the first time in four years, Texas Republicans met last week in Houston to adopt a new platform for their party.
And they came up with some 270 planks that ranged from sensible to dubious to, frankly, completely delusional.
Among the latter is full-on support for the widely-believed but totally false idea that Texas retains the right to secede from the U.S. and become it's own independent nation.
In a section of the platform labeled "State Sovereignty," the Lone Star GOP says: "Pursuant to Article 1, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, the federal government has impaired our right of local self-government. Therefore, federally mandated legislation that infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified. Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto."
Not so long ago talk of Texas secession was pretty much confined to the lunatic fringe. But in the past couple of years it's been bantered about by a few obstensibly more mainstream conservatives, including elected officials.
And now it's likely to end up in the official state Republican platform.
It may appeal to the far right of the party, but let's be clear: Secession is not going to happen.
In poll after poll, Texans overwhelmingly want to remain part of the U.S. They would vote down any referendum promoting such a radical move.
If Texas actually were able to withdraw from the U.S., the state would say goodbye to millions of jobs as all federal agencies and military facilities would have to close and move across the border. No more post offices, no more bases, no more NASA -- and no more Red River Army Depot. Federally chartered banks would close and deposits would no longer be protected by federal insurance.
Federal funding is the second-highest source of Texas state government revenue. The state is more dependent on federal money than New York, California, Illinois or Massachusetts. All that funding would stop -- money that helps pay for for education, health care, veterans benefits, infrastructure construction and maintenance, law enforcement and a hundred other things. Texas would have to tote the note for all of it. That means higher taxes all around.
And retirees could say so long to any further Social Security and Medicare payments. Disability benefits would be gone, too.
Oh yeah, Texans would need a passport to leave the state -- even for a quick shopping trip or weekend getaway to Arkansas, Oklahoma or Louisiana.
That's just to start. But there isn't anything to worry about. Even if Texas voters chose to form a new nation, it can't legally happen.
Texas, along with other Southern states, already pulled out of the U.S. once and lost a bitter Civil War because of it. And in 1879, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Texas vs. White that when "Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States."
In other words, no state can secede from the U.S. on its own, even if its citizens vote to do so, though the court left open the possibility of secession if the other states consented.
More recently, the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in 2006 that "If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede."
It's time to put the myth of secession to rest once and for all. The state's GOP should be ashamed for even bringing it up.