In a communiqué notable for its bravado if not its import, the leaders of the antigovernment Republic of Texas (ROT) told the world in October that they have secured 42 acres on which they plan to build their "Provisional Capitol."
From this patch of land in Dewitt County, the group that says Texas never really joined the union will pursue its quest to convince Americans that their state is actually an independent nation.
To that end, they plan a home for the "General Council," an official state archive, and buildings to serve as meeting places "for various committees and branches of the Provisional Government and a symbol of the increasing growth and entrenchment of our independence movement."
Actually, ROT hasn't made too much real political progress, although a ROT faction did manage to get into a week-long standoff with several hundred Texas Rangers in 1997, ending with the death of one ROT member. But it has made a series of announcements that have at least the ring of authority.
In July, for example, the General Council announced that "the Republic of Texas Provisional Government is pleased to announce that Texas' newest Embassy and Consulate will open July 10, 2000, in Barcelona, Spain."
That news, like the September announcement that Daniel Miller had replaced Archie Lowe as president of ROT, was virtually ignored by the mainstream U.S. and foreign press.
Of course, some reporters may be thinking about the last ROT "embassy." It was there, in Ft. Davis, Texas, that ROT factional leader Richard McLaren held several hundred police and reporters at bay after followers kidnapped a neighbor couple. McLaren is now serving a sentence of 111 years in prison.