Vital Signs

Where the South Meets the West

Oh, I’m a good old Rebel,

That’s just what I am.

And for this damned Republic,

I do not give a damn!

I’m glad I fought agin it,

I only wish we’d won,

And I don’t want no pardon,

For anything I done!

—Maj. James Randolph, CSA


Not long ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry shocked the nation by announcing that Texas might secede from the Union.  This gave rise to a chorus of wry commentary as well as outraged responses from many who regarded the notion as arcane, if not patently absurd.  Most Americans felt the matter was settled in 1865.  A lot of Texans took it for the braying of a none-too-bright unreconstructed rebel displaying a diehard attitude.  They swallowed such nonsense with the same salty seasoning they might apply to restroom graffiti that declares, “The South’s Gonna Rise Again.”

Apart from the quasipolitical motivations of Governor Perry’s remark, though, his threat turned up the heat...

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