GRAYSON CO, TX-It's an issue that's dividing Texoma. Thousands of people in both Texas and Oklahoma have filed petitions to secede from the United States, but it's Texas' petition that's getting national attention.
More than 100,000 people have signed the Texas petition and the movement seems to be picking up steam. So we tracked down the leader of the Texas Nationalist Movement to find out why so many are backing the petition and a local professor who explains why he thinks it'll never work.
A petition asking permission for the state of Texas to withdraw from the United States had Texoma divided.
"The federal government has gone so far and there's so many different rules and regulations and orders being written that got people scared, scared to death," said Texoma Patriots' Kaaren Teuber.
"I don't think it should happen. I mean, look at the border wars we have now and everything from Canada on. I can't imagine having to get a visa just to go to Choctaw or Shreveport or I mean, go anywhere," said Texoman, Mark McLain.
"It does show that a whole bunch of people are very unhappy with the direction of their government."
Texas Nationalist Movement Executive Director, Cary Wise supports secession.
"Everything has gotten out of control and so yes, I'm very much for, that's why I'm a member of this organization, getting back into a constitutional republic," he said.
But Grayson College History Professor, Dr. Chase Machen said secession is not possible.
"I think it's quite ridiculous and it's troubling in the fact that I don't think people are thinking this through long term and obviously they don't know their history," he said.
Wise said there are no laws written forbidding any state from leaving the U.S.
"I always tell people that if secession were illegal, we'll be paying taxes to London, England right now and Mexico City because both of those are independence movements because the government got too oppressive," he said.
Machen said Texas can't secede since it was annexed to be 28th state in 1845.
"People seem to forget that Texas seceded once before, they're part of a Confederacy that lost and it came back to the Union. They came back to the Union and sworn an oath of allegiance. It's over," he said.
Wise said Texas has a strong enough economy to hold its own if it should separate from the rest of the nation.
"We've sent roughly $300 billion a year to Washington DC and get a portion of that back. We take small percent ages that are averages around the world and even for the U.S.A. We can certainly stand our own military for our own defense."
But Dr. Machen disagrees.
"Yes, Texas' economy's great no doubt about it. But we rely upon other states for our trade outside of the state," he said.
And that's not the only issue raised by the proposed secession.
Sherman resident, Robin Grant wonders what would happen to federal programs like Social Security and Medicare.
"People in Social Security will have to be self sufficient and where will all that money be coming from?" She asked.
"Social Security is a contract between you and the federal government. Now, right now, even if you retire in Brazil they'll still send you your social security check. So why would they not do that if you wanted to go live in the independent nation of Texas? They should hold up their end of the bargain," said Wise.
"If we're all gonna pick up all the social programs somebody's gonna have to pay for it. And if we're independent, it's gonna be the people of Texas. Where's that money gonna come from? It would hurt," said Machen.
While Wise said he doesn't expect the petition to be successful, he said it's gotten people on both sides of the issue talking.
"It's gonna be interesting to see how the president responds to this now that he's gonna have to respond," said Machen.
"I mean, we're part of a nation this way, why would we want to change it?" Said McLain.
Forty-eight states total have drafted petitions to secede from the U.S. We've contacted the White House for a comment about the petitions, they released a statement saying:
"Every petition that crosses the 25,000 signature threshold is reviewed and receives a response. As a general rule, we don't comment on the substance of those responses until they're issued to the petitioners."
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