In-Your-Face Independence, Texas Style

I could easily write eight to ten, 5,000-word blog-posts explaining to my readers extensively and factually why many/most modern Texans are stubbornly, ferociously audaciously proud to be from Texas or to be a born-n-bread Texan. Foreigners on other continents may not be aware of how many Americans in other states basically know or know all too well how very boastful modern Texans can be. Since the advent of radio, TV broadcasting, and the internet we Texans have built-up for better or worse—frequently worse in my opinion—a national, if not international, reputation of having large things in Texas. It is true. There is no shortage of BIG in the Lone Star State.

I for one, as an 8th-generation Texan, am often sickened and nauseated by this “big” attitude. It is audacious self-promotion. And here is the BIG reason why I feel this way.

A bit of Texas history about one of its earliest flags. In my header above the flag on the left is a well-known and long taught highlight in Texas schools’ Social Studies classes between 4th-grade and 12th-grade. The spirit of that independent rebellion against Mexico, before being annexed by the United States only a few years later, represents how BIG Texans boast of their freedoms and liberties, even against Washington D.C. and a liberal United States. But calm down, don’t worry, the history of our long embedded (or inbred?) arrogance is for another later five or ten blog-posts. (wink)

In my local newspaper The Dallas Morning News, they reported yesterday how Dallas residents, as well as the DFW Metroplex are contributing to slowing or “Flattening the Curve” and eventually stopping the deadly COVID-19 pandemic:

What happens when a percentage of the population ignores government lockdown decrees or pleas for social distancing?

“It’s true that under normal circumstances, you’ll have a lot of people who are resistant to government dictates and control,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. “Under emergency conditions, those people become dangerous.”

“But if you have people who are talking about a ‘deep state,’ or socialism or a government takeover — while we’re trying to cobble together from the local level to the national level a response to an absolutely unprecedented pandemic — those people are not just foolish,” Jillson said. “They are dangerous.”

Government leaders have to “be as straightforward and direct and truthful as possible with the American public,” Jillson said. “So that the 90 percent of the public that is reasonable can rally to those instructions and bend the curve on this virus.”

White Rock Lake in Dallas on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

White Rock Lake in Dallas on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 – image by Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer

I must be fair, however, about over-generalizing and faulty identification of who is “Texan.”

Since 1963 and more so the last decade and a half Texas has been one of the fastest growing populated states in the country:  currently #2 in GDP and #4 in economy size. This means over the last decade or so many currently living in Texas were not born here. Because of three attractive, compelling reasons non-Texans move here or have recently moved here years ago. Those are 1) many new corporate businesses move and headquarter here, i.e. jobs, 2) no state income tax, and 3) cheaper housing by national comparisons. The point being that anyone living here who wasn’t born here are obviously not natural Texans. Consequently, I shouldn’t include those non-Texans in our long history and why we are so audaciously, arrogantly proud, right? Yet, in the big picture of our current world-wide, deadly pandemic, where one was born or how many multiple generations preceded you here is irrelevant. Or is it?

Despite the measures, the city received at least 853 calls about large gatherings in the past week. According to the mayor’s office Tuesday, authorities gave out 150 violation notices, which are similar to warnings before a citation is issued.

The U.S. Surgeon General warned Monday that rebels and scofflaws of social distancing put their fellow Americans at risk.

“I want America to understand — this week, it’s going to get bad,” Dr. Jerome Adams said on NBC’s Today show, denouncing those not obeying social distancing guidelines.

“This is how the spread is occurring,” Adams said.

flatten the curve diagram

Flattening the Curve – Image: © CDC

Any rational, well-educated person with a solid grasp of medical sciences in microbiology, virology, methods of airborne infectious diseases, and how highly contagious those are shown repeatedly throughout humanity’s post-classical and modern history, would ask and should ask these flouting rebels, skeptics, and deniers What the F*CK are you doing and thinking!? Apparently they’ve forgotten or ignored America’s 1918-1920 Swine Flu or Spanish Flu that was also an airborne, highly contagious virus like COVID-19 and in one single month killed 200,000 Americans. In the end, it claimed 675,000 Americans and an estimated 50-million world-wide. Perhaps our President should keep mentioning those 50-million victims of “The American Virus” in his press conferences? Pompous Texans should too.

Why are so many Texans ignoring the factual, confirmed histories of deadly, fast-spreading pandemics? Did those preceding generations of your Texas family not pass down the horrendous details or show you the actual death-certificates from your family tree?

Outdoor concerts and festivals are banned in most locations. And those restrictions weren’t sitting well with Rev. Horton Heat, a popular Dallas-based rockabilly band, which posted a livid message on its Facebook page about a week ago.

“Reverend Horton Heat is NOT cancelling ANY gigs because of COVID-19.”

The band made it clear that it wasn’t their call to cancel its gigs, and encouraged fans to “push back,” in a post trumpeted on its Facebook page.

“I encourage everyone who lives in a jurisdiction where local governments are restricting rock and roll to push back,” the band said. “Write emails and call your local government agencies to remind them that we have the right to assembly. They can’t stop rock and roll!”

TX motto t-shirt

Widely popular meme in Texas, especially by Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy

Co-founder and current member Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath guitarist and lead vocal of the band is a native-born Texan. He does indeed represent that audacious, arrogant historical Texas rebel pride.

But it isn’t just three-generation, five-generation, or six-generation native Texans flouting their rebel disobedience to county and state authority, it is even our Lt. Governor Dan Patrick as well, who like all of the Bush’s is not a native-born Texan!

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick agreed, saying Monday the country should go back to work, suggesting “grandparents” like him, who are at higher risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19, should sacrifice to keep the country out of economic trouble.

“My message is that ‘Let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it,’” Patrick told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “And those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country.”

I am both stunned by the medical-virological ignorance and denial here, and yet at the same time not too surprised by many fellow Texans showing off their cockiness in the face of ‘too much government intrusion,’ a popular opinion over the decades by most established Texas families and businesses making up this Red-state.

There are factual data-sets in several parts of the world—not just in New Orleans, Louisiana—supporting those restrictions ordered by government leaders listening to and heeding epidemiologist’s desperate warnings and admonishments to why it is critical to social-distance as well as follow all washing, disinfecting protocols while at home. As reported by Sky News yesterday, this is what happens when citizens, businesses, entertainers, and governments do NOT take epidemiological science serious. The headline:  Coronavirus: Champions League match a ‘biological bomb’ that infected Bergamo, experts say.

That match was between Italian club Atalanta and Spanish club Valencia. As a result, not only did Italy become the epicenter of COVID-19 infections and deaths, but Spain is now experiencing the same and soon will catch Italy’s mortality rates. The Sky News article goes on:

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t have known. No one knew the virus was already here. It was inevitable.”

More than 7,500 people have died after contracting coronavirus in Italy, where there are more than 74,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 650 people have died in the last 24 hours in Spain, taking the total past 4,000.

Cases there rose by more than 8000, bringing the total to more than 50,000.

To the overly proud rebels, skeptics, and deniers in Texas by Texans, if you don’t care to believe the actual medical data, science and virology, or the long repeated world history of known pandemics and the hundreds of thousands of deaths from plagues, or how highly contagious and lethal airborne flu viruses are then perhaps it will only take the death of an immediate family member, perhaps your own child or parent, to wake you up to reality. Why even risk it? Why… when by all your rebellious behavior all of you could easily cause are hospitals overflowing beyond capacity, the supplies and medical items which raise your safety and your loved ones’ safety… run out? Or the oxygen-breathing machines to fight the deadly pneumonia from COVID-19 are all in use and no longer available for yourself, your children, or parent like many are experiencing right now in Italy and Spain? Why?

Why chance it? To prove what a proud, independent, Come Take It From Me, cocky native Texan you are? How would that epitaph look on your gravestone or your 8-year old child’s or one of your siblings? There quickly comes a point when self-absorbed ignorance and pride can never outweigh a loved one’s life, premature life when you were informed in time of avoiding it. Imagine that regret for the rest of your life.

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Supplement March 28, 2020:
Crowds Flood Dallas Trails During First Weekend of ‘Stay Home’ Order — Allie Spillyards, NBCDFW.com reporting (the actual camera footage in the news video is not just astounding, but very disturbing as well; watch it)

Supplement April 3, 2020:
With visitors still bunching up in parks, Dallas officials plead: Don’t make us shut them down — “It looked like a Mardi Gras party.” Hayat Norimine and Obed Manuel, Dallas Morning News reporting

Some Businesses Using Loopholes To Stay Open During Coronavirus-Related Shutdowns — Ginger Allen, CBS Local.com reporting

————

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A State of MinE

Lone Star Nation

Steve Dunwell – Getty images

In Texas we are known to do things big. We tend to favor and flavor life robustly and then give our opinions about it, solicited or not, whether one likes it or not. It is a state of mind and a State of mine. And yes, whether I like its earned reputation and personality or not, doesn’t matter to Texans too much either. That’s also the meaning behind the Lone Star.

As such, I pay my humble tribute to my great, robust, opinionated Lone Star State because I can. I am an eighth-generation Texan — which means we were here well before the state was stolen away from Mexico — and have much to share about it. I will list a few definitions, and explanations of how we speak and what it means, or could mean. I feel this is an accurate self-portrayal, albeit parody, of my beloved rural Texas minus the guns, the horns, the beseeching “Lord in Heaven” for sure, and the Good ol’ boy yee-hawing.

 

The Meanings of Inept, Useless
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Common:  having or showing no skill; clumsy.

In Texas:  1 – He/She could screw up a two-car funeral. 2 – He is such a numbskull, he bought a suit with two pairs of pants, then burned a hole in the jacket. 3 – If she’d been cooking for the North, the South would have won the war!

The Meanings of Slow
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Common:  moving or operating at a slow speed; not quick or fast.

In Texas:  1 – He’s so slow he could gain weight walking. 2 – He was behind the door when brains were passed out to the room. 3 – If it gets any greener (stopped at a traffic light) it’s goin’ to grow!

The Meanings of Dead, Deceased
(line break)

Common:  no longer alive; not moving.

In Texas:  1 – He/She gave up their fiddle for a harp. 2 – The devil’s comin’ round with the bill. 3 – He/She swallowed the wrong pill. 4 – His/Her moving picture went dark.

The Meanings of Poor
(line break)

Common:  lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society; of a low or inferior standard or quality.

In Texas:  1 – Broker than the Ten Commandments. 2 – He lives on the other side of across the tracks. 3 – We’re so poor we can’t go window shopping or ‘draw’ breath in the bank.

The Meanings of Unacceptable
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Common:  not satisfactory or allowable; intolerable.

In Texas:  1 – Like hugging a rose bush. 2 – I’d rather play leap frog with a unicorn. 3 – I’d rather pick cockleburs out of a skunk’s ass. 4 – I’d rather use sandpaper than toiletpaper. 5 – He got caught in his own loop South.

The Meanings of Fast, Brilliant
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Common:  moving or capable of moving at high speed; exceptionally clever, quick-witted, or talented.

In Texas:  1 – He/She gets there in one-half less than no time! 2 – Movin’ like he was goin’ for the luncheon after Sunday service. 3 – She’s a walking encyclopedia inside a labotomy lab.

The Meanings of Advice, Tips
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Common:  guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative.

In Texas:  1 – Never call a man a liar just because he knows more than you do. 2 – Never sign anything by neon! 3 – There’s never a good time to have your gun jam. 4 – Just give me the bacon without the sizzle. 5 – Don’t jump off your horse and saddle to kill the rattle snake without your rifle outta the sleeve on the saddle.

The Meanings of Immoral, Wild
(line break)

Common:  not conforming to accepted standards of morality.

In Texas:  1 – They’ll wrap around you like a sweet-potato vine. 2 – He was born on the wrong side of the blankets. 3 – They’re hitched but not churched. 4 – His lips ain’t no prayerbook. 5 – They ate supper before they said grace.

The Meanings of Yonder
(line break)

Common:  at some distance in the direction indicated; over there.

In Texas:  1 – If ya leave by daybreak, you and your horse will arrive as the biscuits rise or the dinner-bell sounds. 2 – He’s bored and yonderin’ (as in daydreaming; drifting away and yawning).

The Meanings of Celebration
(line break)

Common:  the action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social, activity.

In Texas:  1 – Let’s shoot out the lights. 2 – We’ll go to town… or at least the far pasture. 3 – Let’s hallelujah the county! 4 – Throw your hat over the windmill. 5 – Let’s wear our Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes! 6 – We’re gettin’ happier than gophers in soft dirt.

I have all of my 35 or more cousins in Texas, but these three cousins grew up in a rural town outside of Austin. We spent a lot of time together growing up. They loved to hunt many sorts of wild game on huge thousand-acre ranches. On this particular all-day hunting trip, having walked around for miles, tired and hungry and having not shot anything but the wind with each other, they wanted to get back to the truck immediately for my Aunt’s excellent home-cooking. There was one problem. They’d moved so many times they weren’t sure if the truck was one way or another.

They argued, not rude or abhorrently, but each not trusting the other’s sense of direction. It also did not help they laugh and talk with each other making none of them a stealthy hunter in the least. Greg, the heavier slower walking brother was certain their escape was that way about a mile or two because of where the Sun moved all day and was now nearer the westerly horizon. Clay wasn’t so sure and wanted to one-up Greg as brothers do. “Due to the fall season,” Clay explained, “shorter days, and Earth’s rotation,” he claimed with an irrefutable tone “if we walked faster (glaring at Greg) this direction we’d find the truck a lot sooner.” Billy, the more tired and hungry brother, and argueably the one with more common sense, was not going to be outdone by either of them and said “Well, if the Sun is over there Greg, and the Earth is rotating faster than you walk, and Clay you say the truck’s in front of us, then why not we just sit here arguing until the truck comes to us?

Ah yes. My beloved state of Texas. Nothing like it or us cowboys inside it, anywhere in the world. We are indeed in some state of mind. o_O

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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