Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Texas Independence Day!

The Republic of Texas was an ephemeral empire. Like the spring bluebonnets, it bloomed, blossomed, and blanched with the sands of time. But also like the state flower, its scent lingers in the hearts and imaginations of every Texan. A moment ago I referred to Texas nationalism. Many outside the state would, no doubt, find that remarkably pretentious, but those who live here understand the truth of it. Texas existed as a nation for ten years; Texans got used to the idea; and nationalism is a difficult habit to break. The novelist John Steinbeck perhaps said it best:
Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.
March 2 is a day to celebrate Texas distinctiveness. Now I'm not saying that Texans are better that other folks, but I am saying that we're different. And if a people consider themselves different, they are. March 2 should be to Texans what St. Patrick's Day is to the Irish. But what if you are a Tejano. Should you want to celebrate the day that Texas separated itself from Mexico. You bet! Even as early as 1835 Tejanos were distinctive from other Mexicans. The ranching culture that developed in Texas produced its own clothing, its own music, its own customs, and its own food. Gringos call it "Mexican food," but all one has to do to put the lie to that assertion is to eat the food in the interior - or try to. It is rather bland and not nearly as good as the Tejano food (we might as well call it what it really is) right here at home. We sometimes call it Tex-Mex, but in truth, it's all Tex and precious little Mex. It is found nowhere else on earth. How many things might we say that of? Tejano music is not Mexican; it is not American. It is Texan and is found nowhere else on earth. Tejanos also speak a variety of Spanish called Tex-Mex. But try using it in Mexico City, or worse yet, in Seville. Again, it is a unique language and is found nowhere else on earth. Truth is if you're a Texan - be you brown, black, white, yellow, or red - you don't rightly belong anywhere else. Steinbeck nailed that too. "A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner," he observed. That applies to Tejanos as much as, probably more than, other Texans. After all, whose family has lived here the longest?
Preach it! Be sure to go to the link and read the entire article if the subject of Texas Independence interests you. It's far from simple and Dr. Hardin writes about it very well.

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