Don’t get me wrong- – I love Texas. I love the friendly atmosphere, the country music, the fact that I can wear flip-flops and a T-shirt in February and even the southern accents and consistent use of y’all by those around me. But here’s the thing I don’t get – why is it that you guys think Texas is the only state?Although Texas boasted a near 10-year stint of independence after breaking from Mexico in 1836, it has proudly been a part of the United States since December of 1845 and was petitioning for annexation in order to maintain its livelihood years before this.
I realize that Texas has been the root of many great things, from the world’s largest pair of jeans to the world’s largest fire hydrant to more important things like some of our nation’s prominent leaders and musicians.
However, it seems that bigger is not always better, or at least not the only alternative. Texas has the lowest rate of high school graduates, the biggest percentage of uninsured children and is ranked fourth for percentage of children living in poverty. A prisoner in this state costs the government approximately $13,300 per year though it only spends about $5,400 on each public school student.
Texas emits the most toxic and cancerous manufacturing emissions, consumes more electricity per capita than any other state and is ranked 49th in water quality.
While travel brochures boast the largest number of gun shows in the country, there are also more residents here than anywhere else with registered machine guns and the state is ranked second in the number of fatalities resulting from road rage – I guess that southern hospitality thing is not quite all-encompassing.
Clearly every state has its problems, but for one that totes a stronger patriotism than any other, it seems to me like Texans should direct some of their state pride toward state betterment. A state this large should feasibly be able to organize its numerous resources and citizens – to read to an elementary student, provide a meal to a struggling family, write a letter to a senator regarding environmental policies or take the bus to cut down on pollution.
I’ve been told why my and other states are inferior; how the country could run without them, how they function as Texas’ vacation ground and how if I were as lucky as they were I could have lived in Texas my whole life without ever feeling the need to venture out.
True, there are few other places where you could drive for 12 hours and still be in the same state. Few where you can do anything from visit the ocean, to climb a mountain, ranch in the desert, tube down the river or experience city life.
Although God did bless Texas, I don’t think this stipulates an absolutist pride that some seem to have. “America the Beautiful,” for example, was written from the breathtaking views of Pikes Peak and last time I checked, our country was founded in that far away place on the East coast without the help of Texas at all.
I’m not saying you need to move for a year or even take a cross-country road trip. All I’m asking is that you take a look outside of Texas and give some of the other 49 states some credit — after all, people sing about the Rocky Mountains and ol’ New York, New York too.
Kathleen Thurber is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Colorado Springs, Colo.