Overdosing on Texas Pride

I live in Texas now, and it has done well for my family.  I don’t dislike Texas, but I will say with full openness that the ethnocentricity of many Texans come off as arrogance.  I will also add that I will not live here forever.  Texas is one of FIFTY states, and many Texans I encounter spend more time stating things like “Texas is really its own nation, and the rest of y’all can go to hell.”  However, there ARE good things about Texas as well.  This post is in response to this article, in which I’d like to share my own feedback on the points it makes.  (Please use the link to read the entire article for reference if desired.)

In the article, it covers TEN REASONS WHY TEXANS LOVE TEXAS.

1. We have options.

Article:  Texas has it all–rivers, piney woods, the beach, big cities, deserts, hills–you name it, we have it and this is a big factor in why Texas is so awesome, well one factor anyways.

Gina:  Well, “beaches” is a stretch.  If you’ve been to any beach on the west coast, off of Florida, even off the east coast, you’ve been to a beach.  The beaches off of Texas are NOT a place where you can really do “beach things”.  And if you’re off Galveston, be prepared to be grossed out by the water.  

And if you want “hills”, be prepared especially if you’re from the west coast, that these hills are tiny.  They are NOT hills by most state’s definition.

One key missing factor – mountains.  And be prepared to drive 3-4 hours to get to the next “factor” of fun.

2. Texas is Friendly.

Article:  Texas is a friendly place, everyone knows that.  We may carry guns y’all, but we ain’t gonna use em’ unless we got to.

Gina:  I have to agree, Texas is VERY friendly!  When Deana and I were driving through neighborhoods trying to find a place to live, people would wave and say hello.  At first we were all like, “What’s their problem?” because in California a friendly person is a cause for concern.  But we soon found out the people were sincere and it was nice.  People also TALK to each other in Texas!  You can be in line at the store or walking in a parking lot and conversations can start.  It was a hard transition for shy Deana, but now she bugs ME when she spends so much time talking to strangers.  LOL.

However, this friendly phenomenon ceases to exist on the road.  Take the nicest Texan in the world and put them behind the steering wheel and on the road and BAM!  Instant jerk.  The majority tailgate, they change lanes in front of you with 3 inches to spare and no blinker, they cuss, flash the bird, and otherwise are unbelievably rude.  In fact, I have a long commute a couple days a week and am on a non-congested highway for much of the trip.  Three lanes exist, and due to speed traps I am usually doing the speed limit in the slow lane.  EVERY SINGLE DAY, I have at least one driver (usually two, no kidding) tailgating me, throwing their hands up in the air, and otherwise ticked off that I am driving the speed limit in the slow lane. At first, I was like “well dang, the two other lanes are open – why don’t they just pass me?”  Apparently, that is not a Texas trait.  So instead, when this happens EVERY SINGLE DAY, I just change lanes to the middle lane and then the cranky Texan driver can pass me in the slow lane and we are good to go……..at least until the next infuriated tail-gater arrives.

3. Food in Texas makes your taste buds sing.

Article:  Sure Maine has lobster, Idaho has potatoes and New York has steak, but Texas has all that and more, plus its seasoned to perfection–with a little bit of Mexico added in for good measure.  Not only does Texas have some of the best food offered in America, it’s served in portions that would surprise even Paula Deen.

Gina:  Okay, first of all, most Americans realize that food is very regional and preferences don’t necessarily equate to what is superior or inferior.  I personally think Tex-Mex sucks the big one, and long for the day when I can enjoy the Mexican food in California.  But I would NEVER say that Tex-Mex food is not “real” food because I prefer non Tex-Mex food.  Most often I hear that Tex-Mex is the “only” food worth eating and if you don’t like it, you’re crazy.  I have heard proud Texans tell people in North Carolina that their BBQ is “not real BBQ, real BBQ is in Texas”.  Like Texas has a patent on it or something?  And I have heard people try to be more diplomatic about PREFERENCES, only to be laid flat by a Texan who apparently has no problem telling someone that their preferences suck (that is, if the preferences don’t equate to bragging on Texas food).  

That is NOT to say all food in Texas is bad!  I do appreciate many of the spices here and have acclimated to the different regional flavors that pretty much don’t exist in California.  However, I am not sure I would say it is necessarily some of the “best” food in America, any more than a Texan would probably think California offers it.  I think there are more OPTIONS of food in California, and many who grew up there probably prefer it.

And sushi in the middle of the country?  I am not sure about that.

As to the portions out here – that is true.  And, well, given the amount of people out here my size or bigger, I am not sure that’s necessarily a good thing.

4. Texas has history, a lot of history. 

Article:  One of the reasons why Texans love their state so deeply is because we are taught, from an early age, to love Texas.  We’re required to take Texas History, not just U.S. History, or World History, but Texas History. How many states can say that?

Gina:  I totally, completely, agree that the Texans I have met love their state.  That, in itself, is not a bad thing.  But the above statement is a great example as to why many Texans come off a pompous asses – “we are taught about our state history, not like the rest of the country!”  EXCUSE ME, that is arrogance.  I can’t speak for all the states, but to suggest that there is no history in other states and to imply that history is not taught in school is STUPID.  Like, wow, our colonial states have nothing to say?  The states and areas found during Lewis and Clark’s expedition aren’t studied or important?  Not to mention, I received a rich and BALANCED education about my own home state of California, minus the “we are better than everyone else and no one else in this country is smart enough to learn about their state history” doctrine.  

I don’t mean to say there is NO HISTORY or even that there isn’t a rich history in Texas.  It does, and as a lover of history of ALL KINDS, I encourage you if you haven’t already have to check out Texas history.  But, with many of my most proud Texas friends, Texas history is kind of all they know or care about.  In fact, one friend told me with full surety that Texas is the only state that doesn’t have to fly their flag below the USA Flag because “we were a Republic and we can be on our own anytime we want.  We are the only state that was a republic!”.  See section 10 for further comments on this.  🙂  

5. Texas has Austin.

Article:  Austin is the perfect example to show that not all Texans ride horses, chew tobacco and run around acting wild, shouting “y’all.”   …..Austin is just another reason why Texans love, and have so much pride for their state…and rightfully so. 

Gina:  I can’t really argue this.  Austin is the first city where I could really appreciate that diversity, liberalism, and artistic creativity could thrive in Texas.  And where guns weren’t the focus on the state love.  I love this city.

6. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the economy.

Article:  Would you be proud of your state if it was continually ranked as one of the world’s top economies and had the most job growth out of all the other state.  When I hear/read about people dissing Texas, I can’t help but laugh especially because they  usually give the same reasons (see “The Wall of Shame/Idiots” at end of this blog). When your state has a bigger economy than a country, such as Australia (<3 y’all), you can’t help but feel a lot of love and a lot of pride for your state.

Gina:  Okay, first the economy here DOES rock in many ways.  I make more in salary here than I ever did in California.  The fact that salary levels are reasonable FOR PROFESSIONALS (technical fields, etc) make Texas a smart place to work and live.

But there is another side to this story.  There are very little employee rights here in Texas.  There are a VERY HIGH number of minimum wage employees here, and the poverty level in Texas is higher than many other states, even states like California where the economy and cost of living is crazy.  Now I REALIZE this is a macro measurement, and there are lots of factors that go into this.  But to just say “hey, we are proud” based on a slice of the pie is short sided.  The political bend here is very much to the corporations, and in MY perception  most of the wealth in this state stays at that level.  Education is woefully lacking at most levels, there are very little social programs, and overall laws assist businesses.  Not that this is ALL bad, but wanted to note.

And, as a side note, race is a bigger issue in Texas, too.  Now, granted I grew up in California which is truly a melting pot so being in areas where there is not one main “color” is my norm.  I say that as perhaps my background has overly influenced my perception of how things should be.  In Texas, there are huge designations (in large part) in areas.  Whites are with whites, browns are with browns, and blacks are with blacks.  And racial epithets are much more prevalent and accepted.  In fact, when I brought up that one such phrase used in my presence offended me and why it did, I was told that the user was “not trying to be mean” and that my being offended was being intolerant…….”in Texas, words like that are just normal”. 

I hope I don’t get lumped into the “Wall of Shame/Idiots” for sharing my thoughts can can be construed as “dissing” poor, noble Texas.

7. We have pride.

Article:  If you’re thinking that “pride” can’t be part of the list itself, think again. How many states can you think of, with citizens who have so much pride for their state, add ‘Texas’ to everything– just to make it better?  The pride Texans have for our state goes farther back than the California gold rush and is an intricate part of our every day life, but don’t take my word for it…come to any city in Texas, find a good/busy area of town and shout something like “Texas sucks and I wish we could give it back!!”  …But you best make funeral arraignments ahead of time. 

Gina:  Pride is everywhere, I do not contest that.  And instead of sharing why this can be a PROBLEM, consider the words above that you just read.  It was tongue in cheek about the whole “funeral” thing, but it’s “true y’all”.  Texans don’t mind hurting you if you don’t agree with them……or as stated, if you want to wear a Lakers jersey in their proud state.

8. The cost of living makes other states look outrageous.

Article:  Both for sale in similar locations (city size, distance from downtown, etc.), but, in Texas, you can buy a home twice the size of a home in California for the same price.  We have no personal income tax (one of only 7 states) and if you don’t like the high sales tax (min: 6.25% and max: 8.25%), learn how to spend less…that’s simple and beneficial.

Gina:  The house we own is BEAUTIFUL and we don’t have to use 70% of our disposable income to pay for it.  Not having a state income tax totally rocks the house.  Gasoline prices are lower than California and lots of things are cheaper.  I am blessed to be able to purchase a Spyder, which I have wanted to do for YEARS, and still have money to eat.  I do appreciate this aspect very much and cannot really say there is a downside to it (other than what I noted in the “economy” section).

9. There’s plenty of sunshine.

Article: The 5-Day Forecast for Central Texas

reasons texas weatherTexas may seem unbearable because of how hot it gets in the summer and, when you combine the heat with humidity levels above 70%, it does get rather uncomfortable.  But guess what…we get to see more of the sun, never worry about destructive earthquakes, rarely have to flee fires, never have blizzards and when tragedies do happen, you can bet your bottom dollar your fellow Texans will come to the rescue.

Gina:  Okay, well……..let me start by saying that there IS a ton of sun.  No question.  But in reality, it is not humanly possible to be out in it from July-September for any length of time.  And if you come to Texas during that time, I will personally drive you around in my air conditioned car and show you that there are VERY FEW who actually VENTURE OUT during the day in this timeframe.  When I moved here I had long hair and, having to sit through ONE BASEBALL GAME  in July where I nearly died and begged a stranger to let me sit under their umbrella, I cut my hair short.  The heat and humidity is oppressive, and therefore most people stay inside in their air conditioning.  Think 98 degrees, 70% humidity at 8am.  Yes, that is Texas.

And nice bringing in natural disasters from other states to point out that Texas rocks.  Personally, I can’t refute that blizzards and earthquakes happen in other places and it freaks people out – and even sometimes causes injuries and deaths.  But I find it ironic that TORNADOS were conveniently skipped in the articles “Texas rocks” campaign.  Personally, I’d rather prepare for and live through earthquakes than have to deal with tornados.  And yes, tornados have hit this area since I’ve lived here and I nearly pooped my pants.  And no, there are no cellars/basements in Texas so we hide out in the bathroom.  As long as the air conditioning works, we should be okay.

Um, and I have felt two earthquakes here since living here.  Hello!  Texas, come on.

10. Texas was once a Republic…  

Article:  Probably the strongest of the ‘reasons’, as to why Texans love Texas so much, is because we were once our own Republic and if we feel the need to secede, we probably will.  Texas has a hell of a better chance at doing so than any other state. We have everything we need–money, oil, population, pride, land, etc. etc. and don’t worry about how Texans would defend themselves/fight for their rights; we’ll pull out the guns if necessary.  Yes, New York is amazing, California is beautiful and Florida has pristine beaches, but there’s something about Texas that just makes it better and if you’re anything like these idiots:

why do texans loveYou should probably realize you’re not only stupid, but embarrassing as well. Educate yourself before stating ignorant statements such as ” Texas has nothing,” because you couldn’t be more wrong.  And you just might find yourself getting trampled by a horse ridden by a Texan… No, we don’t all have horses–I know that’s probably shocking. 

Gina:  As noted in section 4 above, some Texans I know believe their state is the only one that was a republic, and because of that there are different rules for them.  The statement above seems to suggest the same ethos in thought, PLUS adds the whole sucede dialogue.  

First, I want to say “Dude!  The West explosion happened last month and FEMA (a federal agency, hello) was asked to help pay for it!”  You go ahead and “make it on your own” and cry when all that money that you resent asking for from “that black President”, but which you rely on nonetheless.  And I LOVE that I don’t have to keep bringing up the gun factor when YOU do it all on your own.  On that note, Deana and I were recently in California at Disneyland and met a couple from Australia.  We shared that we had moved to Texas and, given they didn’t know all of our states, we were trying to describe the state.  After a few geographical comments and descriptions, the light went on – “Oh, the state that has all the guns and where they kill people in jail.”  That sums it up.  And yes, that “violent nature” is prevalent throughout the state.

In regards to the “Republic” comment, the fact is there ARE other states that were republics in their own right – and I will extract a great explanation from this article instead of expounding:  And it [Texas] was a nominally independent if ramshackle republic, with embassies and a Congress and everything. Vermont, Hawaii, and, arguably, California were once independent republics, too, but they don’t make a fetish of it. Texas does.  

On that “fetish” note, I also challenge you to try to be a non-Texas sport team fan or even dare to wear a non-Texan sport team jersey (or even try to BUY one).  Good luck with that and I hope your insurance is current and that it covers bullet holes.

Texans, I commend your pride.  I am not trying to silence it or diminish why you should be proud.  But there is room for OTHER PEOPLE to have pride, too.  And pride, just like your preference to how your steak should be prepared, varies by person and by state.  YOUR preference or pride, should NOT mean that no one else has it or that yours is “right” or “better”.  And I recommend, if you are pointing out why you rock, no need to say why others don’t.  Just saying.

Signed, Another “Idiot”