The Democratic Caucus leader of the Texas House responds to Rick Perry's suggestion that Texas could consider seceding from the United States.
Comments by Rep. Jim Dunnam
I love Texas.
I am fortunate that my great-grandparents moved to Texas over 100 years ago, and I am deeply proud of our state.
Every 2 years, my colleagues in the Legislature and I spend time away from our families trying to make Texas a better place. I am honored and privileged to do so.
However, I am also an American. And I am proud to be an American. There is even a song I like that says that – you probably know it.
Every Texas elected official takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I take oaths seriously, and that one most of all. And every day during the legislative session we pledge “allegiance” to the flag of the United States.
We even require every public school child to recite the pledge — every day. That is “one nation, under God, indivisible.”
Yesterday, our Governor had the opportunity to disavow anti-American rhetoric of secession. He chose not to, and instead he chose affirm those who believe and actually contemplate that our nation is divisible.
What do I say to my youngest daughter when she asks “why do I recite the pledge every day at school, if our Governor doesn't believe it?”
Hopefully Gov. Perry simply made a mistake; a mistake I call on him to correct by unequivocally declaring that our nation is one and indivisible, and that talk of secession from the union is thoughtless and reckless.
Perhaps he did not understand that words are important and that talk of secession carries heavy meaning.
Some hear this talk and associate it with racial division – an issue that caused over 600,000 Americans to lose their lives in a Civil War.
Others are incited by this kind of reckless rhetoric. I believe that the role of Texas Governor is to lead us to a better place, not stoke the fires of divisions.
Talk of secession is an attack on our country. It is the ultimate anti-American statement. Serious discussion that we would even contemplate dividing our country, the greatest country in the world, shows lack of judgment — and any words from the Texas Governor will be taken seriously. Finally, such statements — particularly in a time when we are at war overseas, with over 4,000 American lives lost, and thousands in combat as we speak — are both offensive, irresponsible and not the words of a patriot.
I am surprised that Governor Perry would reinforce a sentiment that is so clearly anti-American. He should choose his words more carefully unless they are intentional, and if his words were intentional, they should be condemned.
You cannot lead a state that is part of a nation by trying to divide that state from that nation.
We live in a time when ill-thought words can stoke emotions. And today we have 100,000 Texans who have just lost their jobs, through no fault of their own. A time of economic recession and possible depression. We just came off a presidential election. In times like these, our leaders should strive toward unity, not pander to the divisive elements in our society.
Our Governor should be focusing on striving to lower homeowners insurance rates, lower college tuition, improve our public schools, provide better access to health care for working families and leading our state and our nation through this time of trouble. He should not be attending fringe political rallies; he should be offering and advancing solutions. There will be time for Rick Perry to run against Kay Bailey Hutchison after session is over. He should put the good of our state above his ambition to serve another term as Governor.