Despite state mythology, Texas can't secede

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AUSTIN, Tex. – Gov. Rick Perry appears to have given new life to the state's two-decades-old tourism promotion – Texas: It's like a whole other country.

The empathy Perry has shown this week to those spitting-mad-at-Washington secessionists had newscaster Geraldo Rivera calling him "grossly irresponsible" and ripe for impeachment, while former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said that Perry was being a righteous governor "standing up for the sovereignty of his state."

What is certain is that Perry has struck a chord. And it is aimed at Texas' ultimate mythology – that because it began as a country, by gum, it could go it alone again.

Unlike Texas, said state Rep. David Swinford, "other states know they don't have the right to secede. But that has been built into the Texas fabric, so we have the right to talk about it."

A poll of 500 Texans released Friday showed that 31 percent believe (incorrectly) the state retains the right to form an independent country. And another 18 percent said, given the opportunity, they would vote for Texas to secede.

The fact is, the treaty under which Texas joined the U.S. provides that it could be divided into five separate states. But it is not empowered to leave the union, a question that the Civil War seems to have settled once and for all.

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