Thursday, March 2, 2006

Texas is free!

"Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word... A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner" -- John Steinbeck

Exactly 170 years ago today, a group of fellas got together near where my grandmother lives today and decided slaves were a good thing, and Catholicism was not. They agreed to declare their independence from Mexico and -- thanks to risky strategy and under-the-table assistance from Andrew "I'll Bust Your Ass With My Cane" Jackson -- by the end of May they had themselves their very own country.

The Republic of Texas lasted for nine years and 11 months. It even had an embassy in London, in Hammersmith -- a bit of a walk from the restaurant that is an ironic favorite of Jenny and the boy. But a crippling war debt (Hmm, Texans running up war debts... that sounds familiar), forced the fledgling republic to abandon its sovereignty; it was annexed and became the 28th state of the United States.

The fact that Texas is not a sovereign nation-state has never been clearly communicated to the people of Texas. It is arguably more a separate entity from the United States than is Canada. It certainly has more people who are fiercely proud of where they're from. Have you ever heard a song about Winnipeg? Who pines for Thunder Bay?

A recent survey by Texas Monthly found that 70 percent of Texans would be in favor of seceding from the United States. It almost certainly would never happen, because there are far too many money-making opportunities in running the United States. But there are people actively working to reclaim Texas' sovereign status. An Interim Government of the Republic of Texas has set up shop in the nether reaches of northeast Texas and pumps out nationalist radio via Radio Free Texas.

Perhaps out of some strange sense of duty, I spent much of the day listening to Radio Free Texas, which isn't nearly as shitty as I expected. If genre-stretching country music is good (which is debatable), the station is a quality source. It certainly provided a number of great country music lyrics:
- "DHS 'bout to take my kids."
- "It's hard to dress a woman on $5.15 an hour."
- "I may not be hung like the horses, but the horses are sure hung like me."
- "Texas is the place I want to be and I don't care if I ever go to Delaware, anyway."

Considering the quality of the federal republic to which Texas presently belongs, I can't say I'm 100-percent against seceding. At the very least, though, I want a Texas passport.

Celebrating Texas Independence Day is pretty easy. Primarily, you need two things: meat and beer. The more you have of these things, the better. Ideally the beer should be Shiner or fizzy piss, but we're not picky. Similarly, beef is the meat of choice, but if you want to throw rabbit and quail on the grill, hell, man, that's your right. Once you've consumed as much of these things as you can possibly stand, go outside and do something stupid. If you manage to bust out a tooth, break your nose, or land yourself in jail, your Texas citizenship form will be issued immediately.

  • Random fact: When I was a boy, freshly transplanted to Minnesota, I regularly claimed to be a direct descendent of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar. This is an all-out lie.

    Crystal said...

    Happy Texas Day Chris Cope!

    Shawn D. Mickschl said...


    We went on the tour of the Spoetzl Brewery when we were through there. My wife doesn't drink beer, so I got twice the amount of free samples.

    Same thing happened in Milwaukee at the Miller tour and in New Ulm at the Schell tour.

    I love my wife!

    Shawn D. Mickschl said...

    I forgot to tell you I liked your quick subtitle change to

    "Home of Jingjing the Death Panda"

    I make a motion for reconsideration.

    Chris Cope said...

    I've definitely thought about it, Shawn. I think the blog as a whole could use a little newness.

    mo** said...

    Oh god, and I thought Quebec was bad :)
    Happy Texas day to ya'll

    Me Over Here said...

    And Happy Texas Day to you as well!

    One of my ex-boyfriends, from Nebraska, used to always ask me how things were "in the United States of Texas". He was just jealous, as Texas is the best state out of all 50.

    So, here's to beer, meat, and egocentric Texan thinking.

    Huw said...

    What a terrific trio of days there's been. I have been too overrun for any of them, so am going to spend the weekend barbecuing my good self some leek pancakes to make up for it.