Texas seceding from U.S. a talk that won't die soon - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Texas seceding from U.S. a talk that won't die soon

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LONGVIEW/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - "No"... That's essentially how President Obama responded last month to more than 100-thousand Texans petitioning to separate Texas from the rest of the nation.

But as CBS 19's Jimmy Isaac reports, that hasn't slowed the movement.

"People are getting very angry," says Keith Rothra, an adjunct professor of government at LeTourneau University and Kilgore College. He also chairs Gregg County's Republican Party.

"People are calling me and asking me questions like, 'What should we do? What should we do?' My answer is, 'Clearly, secession is not an answer,'" Rothra said.
Talk of secession has grown in recent years. A petition for Texas secession on a White House website has attracted more than 125,000 signatures. And the Texas Nationalist Movement, led by former Gregg County Constitutional Committee chairman, Daniel Miller, has grown. Its membership has shot-up by 400-percent, since the November presidential election.

"We need to fight the fight, and do it legally," says Rothra. He also says secession isn't the legal answer -- but as some Texans feel their rights for personal freedom, gun ownership and privacy threatened, they are looking for ways to fight back.

Rothra says the legal way to fight back is through congress.

"The right of executive orders has existed since Jefferson, but it's only because those executive orders have not been stepped in and overridden by Congress," Rothra said. "And Congress is our answer to an overpowering presidency, to an overpowering court, the checks and balances that are there. It is not secession that's the answer.

Opponents of the secession movement say other factors fuel some Texans' desire to leave the Union. They say talk of secession is fueled by elected leaders who seek political gain.

"I think that elected officials have seized upon that," says Vik Verma is a Gregg County Democratic precinct chair. He says groups like the national rifle association have fed what he calls hysteria for secession.

"I think that we have a lot of officials who have sensed the nativist discontent of many people, particularly here in Texas, to the election of President Obama in 2008 and again in 2012," Verma said.

In January, the White House said no to petitioners' desire for Texas secession, saying the nation's founding fathers established the U.S. as a perpetual union. Also in January, Texas Nationalist Movement leaders met with the lieutenant governor -- proof that talk of Texas as its own country won't die soon.

Rothra and Verma agree that all Texans should become better educated on states' rights and how to deal with adversity in government.

"First and foremost, we're a democracy. We have elections. Whoever wins elections, that's how we get to decide who goes on," Verma said.

"We need to demand of our government in whatever position, at the national level and the state, that they abide by the Constitution and the laws, and the problem we have is that they are not, and when they don't, eventually, the people are going to rise up in anger. And that will be a sad day for not only Texas, but all of America," Rothra said.

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