By CHRIS AGEE
Some locals unsatisfied with the current direction of the nation are voicing support of a controversial initiative allowing Texas to secede from the U.S.
“I think it’s a positive thing,” said Bob Hensley, who places most of the blame for America’s current problems in Washington, D.C.
“In general, I’m not satisfied with the federal government,” he said.
Though Americans in more than 20 states have signed petitions requesting their state’s right to split from the U.S., some feel Texas has the greatest chance of a successful secession.
Any petition garnering more than 25,000 signatures within 30 days of its original posting qualifies for a presidential response and more than four times that many people had already added their names to the Texas petition as of Friday afternoon, with the count totaling more than 112,000 signatures.
The petition can be found on the White House website here.
Gov. Rick Perry vaguely hinted at the possibility of secession at a 2009 rally but explained that no reason existed at the time to dissolve the union.
“But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come of that?” he asked. Perry has since spoken in favor of maintaining the nation’s current makeup.
Local, state and federal representatives of Palo Pinto County shared their opinions with the Index, expressing unanimous opposition to the idea.
Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, called it “a terrible idea,” adding he feels those in favor of secession “need to think long and hard about what they’re doing.”
“We live in a fantastic country,” he said. “Maybe the results of the last election did not turn out the way some people wanted but that should be an incentive for them to work harder next time we have an election.”
He said the fall of the Confederacy to end America’s Civil War proved Americans ultimately want a united country.
“We’ve already as a nation made that decision in 1865,” he said.
District 60 Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Granbury, said he understands the sentiment behind the petition drive but does not support its objective.
“In regard to secession, I agree with Gov. Perry who expressed his frustrations with the federal government but also recognized the greatness of our union,” he explained. “In Texas, we believe in state rights and we will continually challenge the federal government when we feel those rights are being violated. However, at the end of the day, we are proud Americans who recognize the freedom afforded to us by a strong republic. I do not believe in seceding.”
Mineral Wells Mayor Mike Allen said the entire debate might be pointless.
“From what I read, it’s illegal to do it anyway,” he said.
If Texas could split from the U.S., Allen said he felt the state could survive on its own, though it would be very difficult.
“I think you start looking at the ramifications of it,” he said, “the currency, the people in the military from Texas, what’s their status?”
He said such potential problems makes the idea of secession unappealing.
“It’s a great idea but it would be almost impossible to efficiently enact,” he added.
Palo Pinto County Judge David Nicklas agreed, saying he does not feel the idea is even feasible.
“My personal opinion is that ... it’s a futile idea and that there’s nothing to be gained by seceding from the union,” he said. “I’m not sure how it would affect us economically.”
Though elected representatives appear to stand firmly against the idea, many locals feel seceding might be the best path for Texas’ future.
“I wish we would,” said Julie Gardner. “I just think it would be in the best interest of Texas to secede.”
Gardner explained countless factors contributed to her opinion on the issue.
Mel Dixon, a local businessman, said he, too, sees an upside in the Lone Star State’s independence.
“I’m for it,” he said, adding he feels there is a wide chasm between differing political ideologies in today’s America.
“I guess we’re hopeless right now,” he explained. “We’re divided right down the middle.”
Marianne Fowler is having a more difficult time deciding where she stands on the issue.
“I’m not on either side,” she said. “I’ve been hoping our country could improve otherwise.”
Should the nation continues its current decline, she said her opinion could easily change.
“If America goes down the tubes, then we have Texas,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.