I agree with the general sentiment behind Texas Governor Rick Perry's consideration of the secession "option": I'm as mad about the overreach of the federal government as anyone! But at the same time, I don't think it's appropriate to talk as if secession is on the table. Millions of Americans have shed their blood and died to preserve our country, and talk of secession insults their sacrifices.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!" ...

Perry called his supporters patriots. Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.

"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

He said when Texas entered the union in 1845 it was with the understanding it could pull out. However, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas negotiated the power to divide into four additional states at some point if it wanted to but not the right to secede.

The secession question was settled 150 years ago, and remains settled. We're all Americans, and we're all in this together. Suggestion to the contrary does much more harm than good.

Instead of secession, Governor Perry and other similarly-minded state officials should push for the return of the Senate to its original purpose: representatives of the various states to the federal government. The 17th Amendment changed how Senators were selected: instead of being chosen by state legislatures, they are now directly elected by the whole population of each state. This populist change is more democratic than the original intent of our Founders, but has severely diluted the states' power to check and control the actions of the federal government.

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