On hearing that Texans had proposed secession from the United States of America, one's first thought was "A dream come true." Who among the other 49 states has not observed, at one time or another, "This would be a pretty good arrangement if we could drop Texas"? Arkansans, because of proximity, have been particularly observant in this regard. Even Lincoln, dying in Ford's Theater, was heard to say "I should have let Texas go."
Loud, pretentious, greedy, vengeful — that's the better class of Texan. The worse — the George W. Bushes, Dick Cheneys and Rick Perrys — are still further down the social ladder. Not our crowd, for sure.
Gov. Perry has talked openly for some time about the possibility, if not the desirability, of secession, and now, at last count, some 83,000 Texans have signed a petition to the White House seeking permission to withdraw from the Union. It's not clear whether they want to be a separate country or revert to Mexican rule — Mexican administration would be more efficient, and more just, probably — but either way, we wish them Godspeed.
Always high-strung, the Texans have been spooked into even more confused belligerence by the re-election of President Obama. To be fair, they are not the only ones inexplicably alarmed by the prospect of another four years under the leadership of this bland executive. There could hardly be a less likely tyrant, yet here is U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, Republican of Pennsylvania, near hysteria over the contraceptive coverage in Obama's Affordable Care Act: "I know in your mind, you can think of the times America was attacked. One is Dec. 7, that's Pearl Harbor Day. The other is September 11, and that's the day the terrorists attacked. I want you to remember August 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those two other dates." (He may be confusing Obama with Osama. Pennsylvania is Rick Santorum's home state.)
A date that would truly live in infamy would be the day Arkansas turns its old people out of nursing homes to forage for themselves, rather than expand the state's Medicaid program, as the Affordable Care Act calls for. State Sen. Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, who will be president pro tem of the new Republican-majority Senate, says that day won't come, even though Republicans are cool to Obamacare. But Lamoureux is reputed to be near-reasonable, a member of a splinter group in his party. What do the Raperts and Hollands say?
Gov. Mike Beebe is gamely trying to persuade Republican legislators that the state's impoverished elderly are worth a few dollars more alive than dead. Quite a lot more, if intangibles are factored in. Sentimental value, you know, that sort of thing.