Friday, November 20, 2009
Texas: Let's be nice, people.
MARK’S ARTICLE – November 20, 2009 Finding a kinder image for Texas
Today, I thought we’d talk about Texas. It happens to be on my mind because of a talk I just delivered in the Woodlands to the Lone Star Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. The ol’ LS Cot Sot RoT. (I like to form acronyms to help me remember stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t help.)
When first asked to speak to such an austere group, I was quite reluctant. Scared is what I was. Sons of the Republic for goodness sake! No way could I match them in pride for or in knowledge of the State. I was born and raised in Texas, but, sheesh, I’m no Republic’s son.
To be qualified to join the Sons of the Republic, you must first be a son, and then be able to trace your direct lineage back to the time Texas was a Republic -- March 2, 1836 to February 19, 1846. I can only go back as far as 1853.
I’ve probably mentioned this more than once, but my grandpa’s grandpa, Andrew Shannon Hayter, settled what is today known as Arlington, Texas. From 1875-1877 the town was known as Hayterville. (I’m not making this up.)
When the railroad came to town, Great Great Grandpa Andrew not only surveyed the area for the railroad, but he also suggested they change the name of the town. He recommended naming the place after Robert E. Lee’s homestead, Arlington. It’s just like a Hayter. Reeking with humility. About makes me sick.
When I told that story to the Sons of the Republic, they didn’t appear all that excited about it. Hey, one of the guys traced his lineage to Jim Bowie. A surveyor and Presbyterian minister can’t compete with a hero of the Alamo.
Instead of trying to impress the audience with my knowledge an expertise on Texas, I decided to enlist their help in a project. That project being, to improve the image of Texas.
In order to do that I had to establish the fact that Texas does seem to have a bad image. Don’t know if you’ve noticed. You might venture across state lines to find out for yourself. When I asked those in the audience why we might have a poor image, the answer I got was because people of other states are jealous.
I expected that. And, I’m sure it’s true. However, I venture that another reason is that some Texans (a few) act like jerks. I saw a guy at the Fair on the Square in Crockett who was wearing a Tee Shirt with a slogan on the back that read, “I’m from Texas, @#%& You. Only it really spelled out the word.
I just don’t think that’s nice. I would’ve told him so, but he was a big ol’ kid. Way up there he was.
One of my favorite songs of Shake Russell, a Texas gem, is a song he wrote and performed for the TV series “The Eyes of Texas.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKmtby53fT4) Near the end of the song he sings, “The Eyes of Texas, the hearts and the hands, say welcome stranger, Texas means friend.” That guy in Crockett was trying to tell everyone that Texas means “Jerk”. That shouldn’t be.
I don’t really think the Governor’s mention of seceding from the union did a lot to promote the State. Of course, I think he was joking. Might’ve been joking. Bad joke.
Regardless, if we did secede we would be forming a nation with one of the most inefficient Constitutions ever written. The citizens would hafta vote on everything. That’d be okay, I guess, but few Texans vote. In the last election over the Amendments only seven percent of qualified voters voted. The outcome of that election ended up added to our State Constitution. Eleven new amendments.
Our Constitution has well over a thousand amendments. We have possibly the only State Constitution with the word “idiots” in it. Somewhere along page 159 it reads that County Judges shall “…appoint guardians of minors, idiots, lunatics, persons non compos mentis and common drunkards.”
There’s bound to be a legal definition of “idiot” ‘cause, without one, any of us could be guardianshiped on any given day. For all I know, I’m already non compos mentis. What I’m thinking.
Yes, I did some joking around, but that’s pretty much what I do. And, all in all, I was received well.
And, why not? I was just trying to spark a desire to promote a kinder image of Texas. I’m doing my part… even though I am rather miffed that Great Great Grandpa Andrew suggested Hayterville be changed to Arlington. That really ticks me off.