TEXAS STATE GUARD: "UNFRIEND MEMBERS OF BANNED ORGANIZATIONS"
Is the Texas State Guard spying on its own troops to ensure they hold the "correct" political views? Who decides which politics they're allowed to support?
A memo purportedly sent via e-mail from Major Gen. M.A. "Tony" Rodriguez, commander of the Texas State Guard, told commanders to warn troops that associating with members of the Texas Nationalist Movement, even on Facebook, was prohibited.
"Please start putting the word out that the TNM (Texas Nationalist Movement) is one of the banned organizations and they jeopardize their TXSG membership by this association," reads the e-mail memo, a copy of which was obtained second-hand by the newspaper The Gonzales Cannon.
A formal media request e-mailed to the Texas State Guard's Public Affairs Office asking for a copy of the list of "banned organizations" went unanswered.
However, the public affairs officer for the Texas Military Forces says the memo was intended to enforce the message that guardsmen may not endorse political causes when in uniform — not a prohibition on private political activity.
"We have to avoid the appearance of endorsing any political, religious or other organization while in uniform," said Col. Amy Cook, public affairs officer for the Texas Adjutant General's Department, which oversees the Texas State Guard and Texas National Guard.
The Texas Nationalist Movement, which seeks an independent nation of Texas free from the United States, has for several years encouraged members and others, especially veterans, to volunteer for duty with the Texas State Guard. News of the memo came as something of a shock to the organization, TNM President Daniel Miller said.
"We have had some of our members who are also in the State Guard contact us with a large amount of concern, and it was very disturbing to see this memo," said TNM President Daniel Miller. "Basically this memo is saying that they're going to watch what you post on Facebook, even your private, civilian opinions. We've referred the issue to our attorneys."
What may be the issue, Cook said, is the appearance of guardsmen endorsing TNM's political views while in public — such as pictures of guardsmen posing with Texas Nationalists at this year's Texas Independence Day celebrations.
"As members of the Texas State Guard, while representing the Texas State Guard, they should not give the appearance of supporting something that Governor Perry has said he does not support (seceding from the union)," Cook said.
"That was his (Rodriguez's) intent ... You cannot tell someone how they conduct themselves as private citizens, especially since they're all volunteers," Cook said. "You can do anything you want as a private citizen, but when you're representing the state guard, a state agency, you cannot endorse any cause or stance. We have several legislators who are members of the Texas State Guard."
Cook noted the Guard has been especially sensitive to political issues since the revelation that a member of the TXSG, former Marine Micah Hurd, had been the author of a "secession petition" on the whitehouse.gov website which went viral and drew more than 100,000 signatures. Hurd was not and is not a Texas Nationalist.
Miller said he understands and agrees with the idea that service members need to avoid demonstrating a public endorsement of political causes, but wonders if TNM was singled out.
"I understand their concern about the pictures, but when it's a public event and you have lots of people around, how do you control what the perception is?" Miller said. "A lot of these guys knew one another already, they are friends and neighbors.
Would there be this kind of concern if the guardsmen took a picture with Organizers for Obama? I'd like to see this list of 'banned organizations.'"
As an old Marine, I understand part of the state guard's view here: obviously, you want order and discipline in the ranks. But we're talking about a mainstream political organization, not some racist or "anti-government" group.
(Yes, I said it: the Texas Nationalist Movement is not "anti-government." Granted, they're not pro-Washington — but they're not at all opposed to whatever government the other 49 states want. The TNM fully and wholeheartedly supports the United States Constitution, which is why they believe Texas or any other state has a fundamental right to determine its own destiny ... because Washington has irrevocably violated that document.)
The progressives have been very good at promoting the idea that anyone who to leave the Union means to be an "enemy" of the U.S. Everything the TNM does and says exposes that lie. Our vision is of an independent Texas that is a friend and ally of the United States, not its enemy.
Members of the TNM believe strongly in working with and through our existing political system to accomplish their goal of achieving nationhood for Texas.
There are a number of TNM members who are part of the various armed forces serving the United States — loyally. A healthy segment of Texas Nationalists are veterans who bled for the flag the progressives wrap themselves in (when they're not defacing it).
Texas Nationalists also serve in law enforcement, they run businesses, they take part in local government, and there's one or two of us who run newspapers. TNM members have promoted issues with state and local legislators, they've sought office as candidates, they've met with high state officials to lobby for their cause. "Rebels" don't tend to do that.
I agree that members of the Texas State Guard should, in the future, be careful who they party with when they're in public. We don't want our state agents to give any appearance of favoritism (even though Texas Nationalists are more fun at a barbecue than, say, ACORN).
But telling volunteers who are donating their time to help defend the rights of the people of Texas that they can't hold political beliefs of their own ... that's just not right, General.
For More Information:
Texas Nationalist Movement