Texans' secession talk brings negative national reaction


by By WAYNE SLATER / The Dallas Morning News


Posted on October 14, 2009 at 11:18 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 21 at 4:07 PM

AUSTIN, Texas - When Rick Perry raised the possibility of secession, it sparked a firestorm inside Texas - some embraced his call for states' rights, some were passionately opposed.

But one group is nearly unanimous in telling the governor that Texas should leave the union: The rest of the country.

"Don't let the door hit you in the you-know-what on the way out!" wrote Summer Lovelace of Fergus Falls, Minn.

"Secede - good riddance," wrote Paul Bernard of Laguna Beach, Calif.

In calls, letters and e-mails to the governor's office, both sides in the secession debate have made their opinions known to Perry. Inside Texas, a state that correspondents are quick to note was once a republic, there's plenty of pro and con about the virtues of sovereignty.

"When I learned you had suggested the possibility of Texas seceding from the USA, at that moment you won my vote!!" wrote Margaret Seehafer of Tyler.

Lynda Smith of Arlington had a different take: "You have made the people of Texas the laughing stock of the nation. You do not have my vote. End of discussion."

But the view from outside Texas, according to letters and e-mails to Perry's office that The Dallas Morning News obtained under Texas' open-records law, overwhelmingly bids the Lone Star State a fond adieu.

"Buh bye!" wrote William Ghormley of Vancouver, Wash.

Perry triggered debate of secession in April, when he fired up a "tea party" protest in Austin with an anti-Washington speech that prompted the flag-waving audience to shout, "Secede!" The governor, a Republican, never advocated leaving the union, but he said: "If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."

On Aug. 29, supporters of Texas independence held a rally on the Capitol steps and demanded that the governor call the Legislature into special session to authorize Texans to vote on leaving the union. Perry did not attend.

Allison Castle, the governor's spokeswoman, said Perry's intention was to point a critical finger at the federal government, not to encourage abandoning the U.S.

Activists urged supporters to call the governor's office on Sept. 2. A spokeswoman said Perry's office got 36 calls - 34 in favor of secession, two with no position.

Letters and e-mails during the run-up to the "Sovereignty or Secession" rally and the days that followed were rife with secession fever.

"We need to start gathering armies & secede from the US union," wrote one Perry supporter identified as C. Smith of Corpus Christi.

Some Texans built on Perry's anti-Washington message.

"Our nation has been turned over to people who have been planning socialism/communism/fascism for a long time and they finally have a low-life in office to do their bidding," wrote Simone Haden of Conroe.

Others cited the electoral advantages for Perry, who is wooing his party's hard-right base to fend off a GOP primary challenge by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

"If you continue to support the Constitution and states rights, you are a shoo-in," wrote Joan Stanley, a nurse from Marion.

But plenty of Texans were not in the Perry camp.

"You are embarrassing our great state," wrote Bellaire resident Felicia Konkel. "Are you really that desperate for acceptance that you would pretend to consider this ridiculous issue?"

And this from Paul Stiverson of College Station: "Those sorts of outbursts are making all Texans look like a bunch of inbred rednecks, and I don't appreciate that."

If Texans are split over whether to split, there's no debate from the rest of the union.

"Please go away soon," wrote Californian Eileen Flanagan, who even volunteered to build a fence to separate the new nation from the U.S.

"There's lunacy afoot in your state," wrote Robert Jordan of Los Gatos, Calif.

One writer informed the governor he was changing his driving plans to avoid the Lone Star State.

And then there was this kiss-off from Michael Pardys from Illinois, home of Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama and the indicted and impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich: "Our country would be a nicer place without you."