Scotland may not have followed in Sir William Wallace’s footsteps to free itself from its English bonds, but that hasn’t stopped nearly a quarter of Americans from a little bravehearted hope of their states seceding from the US.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll sought to see if Thursday’s Scottish independence referendum ‒ which failed ‒ inspired Americans to dream of secession from the United States. According to the results, 23.9 percent of those surveyed either strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away from the union.
Both Democrats and Republicans supported the idea of severing ties with the federal government, though the Grand Old Party (along with residents from the West and Southwest) was more in favor of secession than Dems and Northeasterners.
Texas Nationalist Movement president Daniel Miller told RT that Texans are unhappy with how Washington politicos ignore the issues most important to their state.
“One of the big issues in here Texas right now… is obviously the border and immigration,” Miller said.“Over the last eight years, issues related to the border and immigration have consistently polled as the number one concern for Texans, yet the federal government continues to do absolutely nothing substantial about addressing the border crisis or the immigration issues.”
A January 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that about 20 percent of Texas voters said they would support secession because of President Barack Obama’s re-election, and 67 percent were opposed.
“We’ve got so many different priorities here,” Miller said. “When you have these issues, whether it be here in Texas with water or the border or immigration, it’s very difficult to swallow when hard-working men and women here in Texas send their tax dollars to Washington, DC to be frittered away.”
Roy Gustafson, a South Carolinian who lives on disability payments, agreed.
“I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference anymore which political party is running things. Nothing gets done,” the 61-year-old told Reuters. “The state would be better off handling things on its own.”
Back in Texas, Miller wants the state’s legislature to put the secession question on a statewide ballot, and applauded Scotland on their referendum. “At the end of the day,what is important for us is that the Scots were able to go to the polls and have the option to call their own future, to vote for or against independence,” he said.
The Texan noted that the state already funds its own education system, and is the 12th largest economy in the world. He told Reuters that the fact that a free Lone Star State would lose big federal institutions like NASA and multiple military bases was of no concern to him.
But historical scholars and legal analysts say that secession by Texas, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana and other states that have filed petitions to withdraw from the union is a legal impossibility.
Sanford Levinson, a constitutional scholar at University of Texas School of Law, said the Constitution has no procedure that explicitly allows secession.
“Ultimately, it’s a political question,” he told Reuters.
“Simply put, the ruling in the 1867 Supreme Court case Texas v. White makes any state effort to legally secede from the U.S. absolutely pointless,” Voactiv’s Abigail Tracy wrote. “Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase’s majority opinion reads, ‘The union between Texas and the other states was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the states.’ Pretty concrete stuff.”
Tracy also pointed out that the 1845 joint resolution for the annexation of Texas into the United States did not provide a way for the former independent republic to dissolve the merger.
Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, said the independence movement was not realistic.
“Texas tried to secede 150 years ago [during the Civil War] and paid a very heavy price for that,” Jillson said.
Miller is undeterred.
“When Texans are able to establish their own tax policies, their own revenue-generation policies and then spend according to our priorities, what we’re going to find is two things: First, that our priorities are very much different than what the priorities in Washington, DC are,” he said. “And number two, Texas is not only going to be economically prosperous, but very well could be an economic superpower in the Western Hemisphere.”
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