The Lower 47

It was 20 years ago today that Texas seceded from the United States. At the time, many Texans thought things would get better if they jumped ship. And they did get better – for the USA.

When NASA moved its space center from Houston to Cape Canaveral, it robbed the former state of thousands of high-paying jobs as well as a lot of much-needed brainpower. The joke at the time was that the move dropped the average IQ of Texas 11 points. When the Defense Department closed all its Texas bases, the economy got even worse. At the time of secession there were 110,000 active military in Texas, with another 85,000 in the reserves. The money from their paychecks disappeared overnight. Mail delivery stopped and tens of thousands of U.S. postal workers were suddenly unemployed. Even with all its oil, Texas still couldn’t afford to maintain highways and waterways. FEMA stopped all work on Galveston, and the damage from subsequent hurricanes has not yet begun to be repaired. Crop support, Medicare and Medicaid stopped, as did unemployment insurance, food stamps and support for public housing. The country of Texas couldn’t afford to pay high school football coaches $1 million dollars anymore. Many of them quit in disgust.

In the war with Mexico (see the War of Mexican Reunification, 2015, commonly called The Two Day War) the former state’s only defense was a group called the Minutemen. Named after the original Minutemen of Lexington and Concord who fought against the best army in the world, the modern Minutemen only fought unarmed day laborers who were trying to cross the then-border to get low-wage jobs. They were quite successful against undernourished women and children, but the new Minutemen folded like a cheap cell phone when faced with the Mexican Army.

The Mexicans quickly passed “Spanish Only” legislation that forbade any signs or documents to be in any language other than Spanish. There are no bilingual classes in public schools, putting Anglo children at a great disadvantage. If an Anglo gets arrested, there is no requirement that he be provided with a lawyer or a translator. While many older Anglos still speak English at home, their children often pretend not to understand it. At best, they retain a word or two like “thanks” or “Merry Christmas.” They are embarrassed of their parents’ poor command of the language. Public schools now have soccer teams, and football is no longer played in Texas.

The saddest part is that thousands of Texans still wash up on the shores of Louisiana and Florida, malnourished and destitute, begging to be let back into the United States. What to do with these illegal aliens is still being discussed in Congress. Should they be sent back to where they came from or should they be given some kind of amnesty? The wall the United States built around Texas to protect the border states of Oklahoma and Louisiana from illegal Texans is expensive to maintain and not 100 percent secure. Each year, thousands of Texans either climb it or tunnel under it looking for more lucrative jobs than they can get at home. Many Americans are afraid that if the wall comes down, the United States will be flooded with uneducated, illegal Texans who refuse to assimilate into the American culture.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2009, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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