There is an old hymn entitled "There's Just Something About That Name". One of the all-time greats, it, of course, references Jesus Christ but I thought about that song as I pondered some recent events. Hopefully steering well clear of anything blasphemous I propose that there is also something, though not near divine, about the name of my state. Say the name "Texas" to almost anyone in the world and certain things come to mind. Certain stereotypes - good, bad, or even wrong - conjure quickly when one mentions the Lone Star state. Cowboy hats, boots, cattle, oil, America's team. They say "everything is bigger in Texas" and maybe some of that is true. Every stereotype has roots in truth.
One perception that consistently runs true is that Texas is a leader. What happens in Texas usually spills over later into the other states and sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes not. Texas consistently leads the nation in home-building, job availability, health care and finding alternative energy sources. Unfortunately we also lead the nation in alcohol-related car wrecks, repeat teen pregnancies, and the number of incarcerated residents. Perhaps some of this could be attributed to the sheer size of the state and we all agree we have areas that need attention but there is little dispute that whatever Texas does it does big. I used to have a football coach that encouraged us to do it 100% even if it's wrong. Texas seems to have that attitude.
A few days ago I heard a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host say that he was surprised that Texas had not taken more of a lead in the right-wing revolt against out liberal national politicians. Now, whether that is true or not one could debate but it made me think about why he would have such an impression. Why would Texas not lead out in expressing the conservative values that are so predominate here in the South? Why would we let other states be the "tip of the spear" in demanding real conservative change in our country? I believe it is at least in part due to our distrustful nature.
For many years I rejected becoming a member of the National Rifle Association. I am always careful about what organizations I support and have never before felt that joining such a group was necessary or even in my best interests. I guess I have always wanted to live in a perfect world where it was not necessary to fight for the right to own grenade-launching military weapons as a civilian. Do we really need to petition Congress for belt-fed automatics and high capacity, high caliber hunting rifles? Do we really need to battle so far to the right just to keep the other side from taking us too far to the left? I finally realized that the answer is a resounding "yes"! We may not need to take our gun rights to that extreme but if we do not push hard then our very basic gun rights are in danger.
I remember my first day of second grade. I walked onto the school ground and a fourth grade boy came up to me right away and said he was going to take my lunch. I started to explain to him that my mother had packed this lunch and that he should get his own lunch but before I could explain this to him he grabbed my lunch and pushed me down. The next day the same boy came to me and again told me he was going to take my lunch. I knew that we could work this out if we could just talk about it but before I could finish my sentence about rightful ownership the boy grabbed my lunch, pushed me down and kicked me in the ribs. The third day of school was different. Again the bully approached me as I walked onto campus but before he could even make his demand I punched him as hard as I could right in the mouth and broke one of his teeth. He never bothered me again.
I learned a huge lesson in second grade and it has stuck with me and benefitted me many times. Sometimes you have to strike harder than the other guy just to keep things even. You cannot trust people to be reasonable just because you are reasonable and sometimes people will not listen to what you say unless you back it up with action. We cannot expect everybody to think the same way we do and it would be nice if we could just explain our different views calmly and expect that the other person would come to respect our side even if they do not agree but you cannot trust them to do that. You cannot always trust that other people have your best interest at heart.
This is a lesson that Texans have learned over the years but it is a two-way street. We have to realize that while in the past we may not have trusted the far right-wing groups to understand our political and religious views and for it to be necessary to align ourselves with such groups but now the far left is going to take our country and even our state to places that we cannot allow. It is time to stand up for our basic rights. Without violence and not in anger but through vigorous and passionate, purposeful and even prayerful protests we need to join the others in showing President Obama and our representatives in Washington that Texans again lead the way in demanding reform and responsibility. It is time to get involved. It is time to put on our hats and boots and tell the kids to feed the cows because we have work to do. There is something about the name "Texas" and we can change our country. It can be done. Trust me.