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Mathis: Texas secession movement reveals contempt for fellow citizens

Why do Republicans hate America? Settle down, settle down. I’m just kidding. Really. Those thousands of Texans have signed a secession petition because they hate Obama more than they love their own country? They’re a clear minority in both their state and in their party. Once the pain of losing the presidential election subsides, many of the signatories will eventually feel duly sheepish about their hasty action.

Still, the secession movement didn’t come out of nowhere.

In the hours and days after Obama’s re-election, there were plenty of Republicans who started the hard task of looking at themselves and their party and asking hard questions about why the GOP has lost four of the last six presidential elections — and five of six, if you go by popular vote counts. But too many of their conservative colleagues gave themselves over to petulance instead, deciding, that America had proved itself unworthy of the conservative vision.

You probably heard it in the comments of your Republican friends that “America was getting the government it deserved.” And it made itself most explicit in Mitt Romney’s declaration this week that the Obama campaign essentially bought his majority vote with “gifts” to various constituencies — as though the Wall Street billionaires who supported his candidacy were merely altruistic, expecting no gain in return.

Many Republicans have convinced themselves, then, that they lost because of the moral superiority of their ideology, that Americans just aren’t up for the grizzled Ayn Randian self-reliance it requires.

It’s an attitude both contemptuous and contemptible, and it’s easy to see how it would eventually express itself in a secession petition.

If Texas wants to leave, let it: It’s not worth another bloody Civil War to keep the Union together. In the meantime, Republicans will have to rein in the contempt for their fellow citizens if they want to again earn their votes.

Joel Mathis is a writer in Philadelphia.