Why the rest of America could stand to be a lot more like Texas

Go down

Why the rest of America could stand to be a lot more like Texas Empty Why the rest of America could stand to be a lot more like Texas

Post by Ben Reilly on Sun Aug 07, 2016 5:56 am

Mention Texas to someone from another state and they might picture cowboys herding longhorn cattle across the open range, or scheming, wealthy oil barons a la TV’s “Dallas”—or “The Simpsons.” The Lone Star State, which was admitted to the United States after winning its own independence from Mexico, still sometimes seems—as the state tourism slogan goes—“like a whole other country.”

Americans may hold a lot of stereotypes about Texas, but journalist—and Texan—Erica Grieder argues that our country could learn a few lessons from our most misunderstood state. In Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas, Grieder lays out a case for her home state, where despite one of the highest poverty rates in the country and the highest proportion of people without health insurance, unemployment is down, growth is up and a $1.3-trillion economy is booming.

You’re not the first Texan to defend your state’s eccentricities. Why do you think Texas needs to be explained to the rest of the country?

People around the country have a lot of misconceptions about this state. Every Texan has their suite of stories of the reactions that they get when they’re going about the normal course of business somewhere else. The classic jokes are, “Are you carrying a gun?” and “Do you ride a horse around?” I once was riding my bike here in Austin and I saw a horse tied to a bike post, but I think that’s an exceptional mode of transport.

Texas does have a unique history—as you note in the book, it was the only state other than Hawaii to have been an independent nation before it was a state. How did that history make Texas what it is today?

We have a deliberately cultivated cultural value, the idea that we were once independent and we can still have some measure of independence. Even today, people around the state will refer a lot to things that happened in the past. The past has taken on this emotional resonance over time.

There are great stories about the Texas Revolution, great stories about the wildcatters [oil prospectors] during the oil rush. I love [Texas founding father] Sam Houston’s life story, how he stood down as governor rather than join the Confederacy. Texas has a very dramatic history, and it creates a sense of common purpose. I think it helps keeps folks united—we put things in terms of, “Is this good for Texas?” And it’s not as oppositional as it sounds—being pro-Texas does not mean being anti-California or anti-Florida or anti-New York. It’s just that we are very proud of who we are.

Going through the history, there were junctions when things were set in place that are playing out today. The big one was the 1876 state constitution, which establishes a pretty weak governor’s office and makes it hard to raise or spend money. You’d have to amend the constitution to create an income tax.

Texas is different from the rest of the country, but you say it may actually be America “taken to its logical conclusion.” Can you explain?

We have these beliefs in self-reliance, entrepreneurship and bootstrapping. We profess those things quite vocally and quite ardently, compared to most states. I was reading [British-born essayist] Christopher Hitchens’ memoir, and he talks about his early impressions of Americans as these nice, well meaning but sort of vulgar people running around all the time. The way that Britain looks at the U.S. sounds like the way the U.S. looks at Texas. To be fair, we do kind of encourage it, because there’s that Texan swagger. I’m not sure we’re the most diplomatic people in the world. But there is substance to that swagger. We are going against national trends right now, and we’re prospering.

What does Texas have to be proud of?

This is a state where people are able to find opportunity. Texas is creating a lot of jobs across the income spectrum. Our unemployment rate has been lower than the national average every month for years. Our per capita personal income is 97 percent of the national average. Median household income is, similarly, just a hair below the national median. The state’s population growth suggests that people are taking notice—between 2000 and 2010, Texas gained more than 4 million people, of whom about 2 million were Americans from other states. It’s become a cliché to say that people are “voting with their feet,” but there it is. When we talk about how well the economy’s doing in this state, it’s not a mistake or an accident or a mirage. The data that we have is valid and does suggest that something here is working quite well.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-every-state-should-be-more-like-texas-45058258/

Seriously, y'all. Good barbecue, more varieties of tacos than are dreamt of in your philosophy, folks getting along with their neighbors whether they're Mexican or black or Jewish or Thai or Vietnamese -- or (gasp) even Muslim! As-salamu alaykum, y'all.



("Them that don't know him won't like him, and them that do sometimes won't know how to take him" should be our state motto)

_________________
Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.

-Ghandi
Ben Reilly
Ben Reilly
Cowboy King. Dread Pirate of the Guadalupe. Enemy of the American people.

Posts : 26412
Join date : 2013-01-19
Age : 44
Location : Tesco's

View user profile http://www.newsfixboard.com

Back to top Go down

Why the rest of America could stand to be a lot more like Texas Empty Re: Why the rest of America could stand to be a lot more like Texas

Post by eddie on Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:35 am

Interesting article. This bit struck me:

"I think it helps keeps folks united—we put things in terms of, “Is this good for Texas?” And it’s not as oppositional as it sounds—being pro-Texas does not mean being anti-California or anti-Florida or anti-New York. It’s just that we are very proud of who we are."

Well that's just how the English feel. Just because we are pro-England, or the BREXIT big up posse, doesn't mean we are anti-everyone else.

(And your bit in brackets? Could be written about me Wink)

_________________
I left my soul there
Down by the sea
I lost control here
Living free
- Morcheeba
eddie
eddie
King of Beards. Keeper of the Whip. Top Chef. BEES!!!!!! Mushroom muncher. Spider aficionado!

Posts : 38252
Join date : 2013-07-28
Age : 49
Location : England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Why the rest of America could stand to be a lot more like Texas Empty Re: Why the rest of America could stand to be a lot more like Texas

Post by eddie on Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:38 am

It's a great song actually

_________________
I left my soul there
Down by the sea
I lost control here
Living free
- Morcheeba
eddie
eddie
King of Beards. Keeper of the Whip. Top Chef. BEES!!!!!! Mushroom muncher. Spider aficionado!

Posts : 38252
Join date : 2013-07-28
Age : 49
Location : England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum