The leader of the secession movement in Texas says that President Barack Obama’s reelection was a “catalyzing moment” for his organization’s efforts to quit the United States. “I am completely aware that Election Day was a catalyzing moment, but I do not believe that the underpinnings of this are solely about Barack Obama,” Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller told POLITICO. “This cake has been baking for a long time — it’s the Obama administration that put the candles on the cake and lit it for us.” He added: “This is not a reaction to a person but to policy and what we see as a federal government that is so disconnected from its constituents and absolute no regard for what its purpose was.”
A petition for Texas secession has garnered more than 72,500 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon — the most of any of the slew of other states petitioning the White House for secession. (Only 25,000 are needed to garner a White House response.) GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s spokeswoman Catherine Frazier commented on the movement to The Dallas Morning News Monday: “Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it. But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government.” But Miller said he thought the governor’s statement was “ambiguous.” “His statement is about as ambiguous as it can get. Obviously, he’s going to err on the side of caution for him. But my challenge to him is this: Don’t wind up on the wrong side of history on this issue,” Miller said.
Miller said that the national deficit and the economy were some of the major factors that have helped the movement grow. “The federal government is broken beyond all belief. We’re sitting on $16 trillion worth of debt and that’s only one example,” Miller said. “There’s a political, cultural and economic gap, and the longer that we refuse to recognize that gap — the more states will put out to secede the union.” He said he thinks the issue has gone mainstream: “For the longest time, this issue was what people would classify as a fringe issue. It was relegated to the back rooms in the cafés. But in 2008, 2009, what you began to see — the tail end of the [George W.] Bush administration and start of Obama’s — what you saw was kind of interesting. This issue went to being part of the political discourse.”
Miller continued: “As the economy worsened, people began to ask, ‘What if? Why do we need the middle man? Do we believe that we should have more layers of government than we absolutely need? Could Texas govern itself?’ I think really that self-determination is kind of the underpinning to all of this — the ability to provide Texas solutions to Texas problems.” Miller noted that TNM rejects any use of force to acquire its goal. “We walk in the same vein as Gandhi and those guys,” said Miller, who has been involved with the organization for 16 years. TNM is planning a march in Austin for January 2013.
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