Certainly no first day of a Texas legislative session would be complete without the appearance of the Texas secessionist movement.
The nationalism movement in Texas has existed since the early '90s, splintered into various subgroups and was fueled by future presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry's comments back in 2009 regarding secession. The movement has yielded an online petition and a 2014 gubernatorial candidate: Larry Secede Kilgore.
The crowd that gathered on the north steps of the Texas Capitol during a rainy noon rally on Tuesday were members of the Texas Nationalist Movement, headed by East Texas native Daniel Miller, who authored the self-published book Line in the Sand.
"These folks came through the weather, on their own dime and their own time," said Miller, who was kibitzing with members around noon. "We put the word out. There's no doubt that this has a higher profile than it has in the past."
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The nationalist movement claims about 250,000 "freedom loving" members across both states and countries, according to its Web site. The crowd at the Capitol, however, was more modest, just over 100 or so. Members intended to fan out to the offices of elected officials, asking for a non-binding referendum: "That the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation."
According to materials presented to lawmakers, the federal government has foisted thousands of laws, mandates and agencies upon Texas in violation of the Constitution. They also claim violations of the Tenth Amendment, requiring Texas to pick up the tab for laws passed by the federal government.
"I'm on fire for this," said attendee Louie Rey, who lives in McKinney. "I think this country is on the wrong path. I think that Texas, as an independent nation, can carry the torch for limited government. I think it can carry the torch for Christianity in our schools. And I think it can carry the torch for conservatism."