Juneteenth has been an official state holiday in Texas since since 1980 but yesterday it may have been awkward for some teachers to explain why there would be no school today. "No school today but the state legislature will not allow me to explain why. Have a nice 3-day weekend though."
Texas has always been militant and even Orwellian about having control of its history. The other day I listened to Bryan Burrough, author of a new book, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth, on NPR. The story of the Texas creation narrative that Burrough and his co-authors explain is fascinating-- like the failure to address the key role of slavery in the story and the turning of washed up miscreants into valiant heroes-- but what I came away from the interview was how the Texas state government has been systematically forcing educators to teach an Anglo-centric/anti-Hispanic story that was mostly propaganda.
The Texas government has long embraced revisionist history to serve its own goals and today's idiotic Republican nonsense about "critical race theory" is no different.
One of the lead ups to the Civil War was when the slave-holding states started harping about a legal theory called Nullification that they claimed-- and that ne-Confederates still claim-- gives them the right to pick and choose between which federal laws they will obey and which they will ignore. In other words, a state was the right to nullify any federal law it deems unconstitutional, as South Carolina attempted in the early 1830s in regard to two tariff acts. South Carolina went as far as mobilizing troops to oppose expected federal enforcement.
The slave-holding states' elites have a long, ugly history of insisting on a weak federal government and after they lost on the issue of slavery itself, they have never been at a loss for issues to fight over. This morning Glenn Thrush and Nick Bogel-Burroughs looked at the current contours of the battlefield: guns. "Missouri," they wrote, "has become the latest state to throw down a broad challenge to the enforcement of federal firearms laws, as Republican-controlled state legislatures intensify their fierce political counterattack against President Biden’s gun control proposals. A bill signed by Gov. Mike Parson over the weekend-- at a gun store called Frontier Justice-- threatens a penalty of $50,000 against any local police agency that enforces certain federal gun laws and regulations that constitute 'infringements' of Second Amendment gun rights."
At least eight other states-- Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia-- have taken similar action this year, passing laws of varying strength that discourage or prohibit the enforcement of federal gun statutes by state and local agents and officers.
The new law “is about protecting law-abiding Missourians against government overreach and unconstitutional federal mandates,” Mr. Parson and the attorney general, Eric Schmitt, said in a letter defending the law on Thursday to the U.S. Justice Department. They said the state would “reject any attempt by the federal government to circumvent the fundamental right Missourians have to keep and bear arms to protect themselves and their property.”
...With Congress in the hands of Democrats, pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association are turning to the states. A growing number of Republican-sponsored gun bills are making their way through state legislatures, all with the purpose of easing restrictions and oversight in anticipation of Mr. Biden’s next moves.
Among the most significant are new laws in Tennessee, Iowa and Texas that now allow most adults to carry firearms without a permit.
Some states are pushing through all-in-one packages. Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana, a Republican, signed an extensive relaxation of the state’s gun laws, including a provision that allows guns to be carried onto university campuses and into the State Capitol.
Critics say the concept enshrined in the new Missouri law and others like it-- state laws that attempt to undermine federal ones-- is a legally shaky but politically potent strategy deployed in the past in the South to resist antislavery and civil rights laws.
“The fire was really lit under my Republican colleagues when Biden was elected-- we’re back to the whole they-are-coming-for-your-guns thing we saw under Obama,” said State Representative Tracy McCreery, a Democrat from the St. Louis area who opposed the bill.
There is a widespread view among legal scholars, and even some supporters of the so-called Second Amendment Sanctuary strategy, that any attempt to supersede federal law would violate a clause of the Constitution that says federal law takes precedence over conflicting state laws. In West Virginia, where a law similar to Missouri’s went into effect in May, the state’s Republican attorney general created a legal defense team to coincide with its enactment.
...On Wednesday, Brian M. Boynton, an assistant attorney general who leads the Justice Department’s civil division, wrote to Missouri officials asking them to clarify several aspects of the law by Friday, including whether it was intended to block the use of the national background check system or to prevent local police officers from asking federal agents to trace a gun.
“The public safety of the people of the United States and citizens of Missouri is paramount,” Mr. Boynton wrote.
In their response, Governor Parson and the attorney general said they were not trying to nullify federal laws but were instead keeping local police officers from being used to enforce those laws. They said they would not allow the federal government to “tell Missourians how to live our lives.”
...“We will fight any attempts from the federal government to encroach on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Mr. Schmitt said.
Schmidt, an obscure right-wing state Senator and homophobic fanatic from a 91% white district southwest of St. Louis, was appointed Attorney General by Parson and is now running for the open Missouri Senate seat. Tarred as the establishment guy, he is working overtime-- including with this new gun nut position-- to compete with the fringe-element Trumpists, Eric Greitens (who has been endorsed by nationally-known fascists Sebastian Gorka, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Joseph DeGenova, Victoria Toensing and Rudy Giuliani) and Mark McCloskey, as the fave of the Missouri GOP's dominant QAnon crowd. Nullificant leads to dissolution. Do you think a shallow, slimy careerist like Eric Schmidt could care less?
Suppose voters were asked whether they support succession for their states. Most of the states likeliest to opt out of the Union are beggar-states that take more than they contribute and that drag the country down and hold it back from progress. And my guess is that many Americans would be delighted to see states like Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky and Alabama go their own way.