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Honor the Texas flag…

March 2, 2011 1 comment

I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.

I admit, I said that a couple of times in high school – But I never felt any personal devotion to the state, however I’m not the best source seeing as I’m not a native Texan. I thought that after 4 years of saying ya’ll, drinking Dr.Pepper, eating barbecue, and going to football games every Friday I had become Texan enough, but oh no I was wrong. Today was March 2nd, and as hundreds of Facebook statuses gushed – it was Texas Independence Day.

We’ve discussed Texas ideologies and what makes Texas different from the “deep south”, but today I couldn’t help be feel a cynical as so many celebrated the battle that took place 175 years ago. I was angered by the way history has been so warped into a single perspective of the white men who fought for “freedom”. It has been mentioned in class already that one of the main reasons for the revolt against the Mexican government that at the time owned Texas was their refusal to adhere to Mexican laws concerning the abolishment of slavery. This was more than 30 years before slavery was abolished in the U.S.

I wanted to understand what drove people to celebrate and cherish this day in Texas, and I came across an article on Rick Perry’s campaign website – this excerpt was particularly interesting.

“On this date in 1836, forty-four men (“Texians,” they were called back then) signed their names to a remarkable document that laid out the case for Texas independence.

Life, liberty, property, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms were all at stake. These were the principles those Texians spelled out in their Declaration. Ridding Texas of tyranny would mean nothing if another form of tyranny took its place– the Texas Revolution was guided by the same spirit that influenced the American Revolution just two generations before.”

Then I compared the excerpt above to that of a blog of a former professor and journalist I met at a conference this past weekend. He writes about the history of Texas from a Latino perspective rather than that of Rick Perry…

“But the facts remain, the Texans had lots of help from Tejanos that were later discriminated against then, to add insult to injury, were driven off the very same lands they fought for!

Enter our hero of the day, Col. Juan Seguin. This early leader was a former member of the Texas Senate and mayor of San Antonio. He recruited Tejanos to help boost the troops inside the Alamo but was sent to recruit additional volunteers prior to the Mexican Army overtaking the chapel and killing most of the men inside….

So how was he treated after the war? Well, certainly the Hispanic Honeymoon was over and Col. Seguin and all of the other Tejanos were labeled as “traitors” and most fled to Mexico (the country where many had not  even been born; they  knew  little of the language and  had no allegiance to that government). In fact the 1836 Texas Constitution institutionalized this caste system thereby denying citizenship and the right to own property to those who did not participate in the war against Mexico  … huh? For most of the Texans, this translated into freedom to mistreat all of those with a Spanish surname. Personas non gratas in the land they fiercely fought for alongside their anglo counterparts.

Soon, Texas became just another Southern state, complete with slaves and on the horizon, an army of mean hombres that would be called Texas Rangers”
I know this was a long post – but I just can’t grasp the need for celebration especially while taking this class.

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