Texas Republicans Pitch In

Fort Davis, Texas--In a tragic turn of events, private citizens in Fort Davis, Texas, have taken up arms against the U.S. government in response to President Clinton's calls for increased volunteerism in America. Clinton's remarks, which were made in conjunction with the historic Presidents' Summit for America's Future, may have touched off a wave of violent insurrection throughout the heartland.The Texas Republicans, not to be confused with Texan Republicans, have taken two hostages as "prisoners of war" and are currently engaged in a standoff with law-enforcement agents in the sleepy, West Texas resort town of Fort Davis. The Republicans' leader, Richard McLaren, claims that Texas was never legally annexed to the U.S., thus forcing him to volunteer as the head of the new, independent Republic of Texas. While liberating states from the Union may not have been specifically enumerated in the President's "Summit Declaration of Commitment," a document signed by four former ex-presidents including Nancy Reagan, it certainly does not violate the spirited ethos of the Summit. Big Problems for Little Government"The era of big government may be over, but the era of big challenges for our country is not. And so we need an era of big citizenship. That is why we are here." President Bill Clinton, Independence Hall, Philadelphia Of course, no state could offer up bigger citizens than Texas, where the U.S. government--at any size--has proven to be more than McLaren's Republicans can bear. As Clinton's advisors scramble to distance the administration from the violent standoff in Fort Davis, it is unclear whether or not other concerned citizens will take up arms. The crisis appears to stem from the vague and impassioned rhetoric of the Presidents' volunteerism summit, which beseeches individual citizens to assume responsibility for the social programs that have recently been dismantled under Clinton's Welfare Reform bill.An Uncertain Future for American VolunteerismUntil now, separatist militants operated on the fringes of the American political scene. The President's Summit may have changed all that, by delegating both the authority and mandate of the state to private groups and citizens. While Clinton's support for the Summit may have been little more than a transparent attempt to shift attention away from the already devastating effects of his recent anti-poor legislation, he may be remembered as the president who ushered in an era of secession. The ambitious tone of the Summit may have lead citizens to conclude that the U.S. government is no longer in existence. In order to satisfy the terms of the Summit's "Declaration of Commitment," which include feeding the poor, housing the homeless, hiring the unemployed and otherwise caring for the infirm, private citizens and their associations may also have to collect taxes, print money, and secure the nation's borders. However, no specific mention was made during the three-day conference as to how existing law enforcement branches would deal with volunteer zealots like the Texas Republicans who have been drafted to serve as private "governmental agencies." The Fort Davis standoff could not have come at a more inopportune moment for the Summit's mastermind, Bill Clinton. As the first democratic president to serve two-terms since Franklin Roosevelt, Clinton planned to dedicate the new FDR memorial on Washington's mall this weekend. Instead, he may have to retract his rhetorical exhortations on volunteerism and dissuade Americans from taking an active interest in their communities, lest the example of the Texas Republicans repeat itself in cities and towns across America.

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