“Critics ignore where the world is right now,” said Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement. “We have to educate people that the independence of Texas is an inevitability.”
These big words come from a small office in Nederland, Texas, where volunteers play the role of activists. With signs hanging from cars and T-shirts declaring independence, common Texans are standing against the federal government.
They represent the TNM – a group dedicated to freedom for Texans and their state. They are educated and rational, but this hardly softens the sincerity of their language and their passion.
These are not the same freedom hunters who fought to their deaths at the Alamo. They are not the Texans who rejected the Union to become part of the Confederacy in 1861. Most importantly, they are not the secessionists, like Republic of Texas president Richard McLaren, who was convicted of plotting to kidnap a Texas couple and then had a standoff with authorities.
The pride and outspoken nature of the group are personified in their president Daniel Miller.
Miller and his followers, including 2,600 people who have liked his page on Facebook, are united to educate and connect Texans from across the state who want independence.
Robert Newell, a retired painter from Harelton, Texas, is among Miller’s supporters.
“Texas has been a Republic once in our history and (has) every right to become an independent Republic once again,” Newell said. “We need to be rid of the Yankees on the west coast and New England to prevent them from dictating to us what we Texans must and must not do.”
Miller and his wife own a private radio station which helps not only to put food on the table, but broadcasts his message. Self-employment has given him the time to run his organization for the last 15 years.
The Texas Nationalist Movement is the largest and oldest group for Texas independence. In 2002, several smaller groups joined the movement under one banner and one leader – Miller. He contends that the evidence for upcoming Texas independence is overwhelming and not the musing of radicals.
“People throw the Civil War in our face. I check my calendar and it says 2011, not 1861,” Miller said. “To say it can’t be done ignores decentralization and delocalization as an international trend. There were 54 countries after WWII, and there are now 192.”
A 2009 poll by Research 2000 showed that six in ten Texans say their state would be “better off” as a nation of its own.
“There is a significant portion of Texans who already have this in mind; 48 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents, and 15 percent of Democrats think Texas would be better off as its own nation (according to the poll),” Miller said. “Our first task is to organize these people to a political force. That’s where we had to go. We then want to dispel a lot of the rumors and the misinformation out there.”
Miller cites John Naisbitt’s book Megatrends to validate his argument.
“The world’s trends are pointing to economic interdependence and political interdependence,” he said. “All are existent here and in process here in Texas.”
But Texas politicians don’t seem keen on discussing the issue. And they turned down the movement’s resolution to put the idea of Texas secession to a non-binding state vote.
So Miller has to think counter-politically. His small, semi-open headquarters has become a hub for Facebook and Twitter dialogue and planning – the same method Egypt and Tunisia used to start their revolutions, though Miller is not looking for violence – but maybe similar final results.
“We are very technologically driven and are engaged in every form of social media you can imagine and some you probably can’t,” he said. “Beyond the technology, there is a certain amount (of activism) you have to do in person. We meet with people one on one, and we speak to student organizations and groups.”
Cary Wise, membership director for the TNM, uses broadcasts and podcasts to deliver his message. On his show, he observed that the younger population is far less likely to be supportive of Texas independence. He offered a solution for what he sees as a loss of interest.
“We gotta be loud and we gotta be proud,” he said. “That means taking your Texas attitude back.”
Even with all the media and personal interactions being utilized, the TNM’s best asset may lie in paper pages.
Miller complied all his research and ideology in his book, A Line in the Sand. He has diagnosed himself with a “chronic case of writer’s block,” but he was able to finally publish the work
“It’s something that really encapsulates our teaching and our beliefs about who we are in two book covers.”
The real issue motivating Miller and his Tex-patriots is disagreements with the federal government. He claimed that secession wouldn’t be running from the government but running to potential government, but he was quick to list his grievances with the Obama administration and Congress. Miller speaks like a prophet, declaring future doom and both inviting and alienating large chunks of people.
He said the government “has grown in size and oppressiveness. The federal government is entirely responsible for the death of the Union.”