AUSTIN -- As head of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Daniel Miller of Nederland believes it's time for the Lone Star State to sever its bond with the United States and return to the days when Texas was an independent republic.
"Independence. In our lifetime," Miller's organization proclaims on its Web site.
When Gov. Rick Perry suggested that some Texans might want to secede from the Union because they are fed up with the federal government, the remarks drew nationwide news coverage and became fodder for late-night comedians.
But to Texas separatists like Miller and Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Kilgore of Mansfield, secession is no laughing matter. Nor is it exclusive to the nation's second-largest state.
Fanned by angry contempt for Washington, secession movements have sprouted up in perhaps more than a dozen states in recent years. In Vermont, retired economics professor Thomas Naylor leads the Second Vermont Republic, a self-styled citizens network dedicated to extracting the sparsely populated New England state from "the American Empire."
And on the other side of the continent, Northwestern separatists envision a "Republic of Cascadia" carved out of Oregon, Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia.
While most Americans dismiss the breakaway sentiments, sociologists and political experts say they are part of a larger anti-Washington wave that is rapidly spreading across the country.
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