I am visiting friends in Texas a state I have always admired and got to know when I was posted at our Consulate General in Monterrey, Mexico, about 80 miles “south of the border.”  In fact, the friends I am visiting. I met while in Monterrey. 

I had a pleasant meeting with a group of the “leisure class” made up of Texans and transplants from other states.  No surprise the transplants, since Texas  enjoys the fastest population growth rate of any state and at 26 million stands second only to California in total population.  When I asked, the entire group replied that they would like to see Texas separated from the USA.  They noted that the state’s economy is larger than that of many countries and indeed at $1.3 trillion it is larger than that of England. 

Texas also leads the USA in exports having been the largest exporter of goods among the 50 states for the last seven years.  It also enjoys an unemployment rate of 6.5%, which is below the national average.  It is a leading state in high tech industries as well as traditional ones such as energy and agriculture.  Its main port, Houston, is the sixth largest in the world.  It has three of the US’s ten largest cities, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.  In sum the state is well placed to operate as a separate economic unit. 

Of course the many other links with the remaining 50 states argue for staying in the union, not least of all providing lots of “cannon fodder” for its powerful college sports teams.  But one hear’s lots of calls for the state charting its own course and seeking its own destiny.   And maybe it could do well as an independent country.  However, for the time being one should take seriously the saying, “Don’t mess with Texas.”