Let’s mess with Texas
Since y’all are smart, you probably know the origin of “Don’t Mess with Texas,” right?
It was a state anti-littering campaign slogan that urged Texans to stop throwing beer bottles, Taco Bell wrappers, Marlboro butts and Skoal tins, stained broken-down mattresses, loaded Pampers, mothers-in-law, and other trash out their pickup trucks on the long desert highways to nowhere.
Yep — Texans had to be told not to mess with Texas.
And of course, leave it to Texans to turn a public service message into a swaggering, bullying, overcompensating macho taunt. No wonder: The official Texas state motto is Superbus Esse Stultus, Latin for, “Proud to be Ignorant.”
Not true, huffed an insulted Texan friend. Texas has plenty of smart, decent people. It’s discriminatory to negatively stereotype 29 million Texans just because of 10 million bad apples. To punctuate her point, she kicked me in the cojones with her pointed cowboy boots.
Fair ‘nuff, darlin’, I conceded as the stars swirled above and I respectfully mirrored her Texas patois to avoid more cojones kicking.
But as the old Texas saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas. So even when only some Texans do stupid, they make it stupendous.
So why all this fussin’ and fulminatin’ that Texas is actin’ so Texas right now?
· That Texas has unleashed Wild West vigilantism on women who go to health clinics for none-of-your-goddamn-bidness?
· That Texas, so American, so proudly patriotic, is hornswoggling our democracy by suppressing the vote to steal elections for its shrinking electorate of White Republicans? Like Socialist despots they say Democrats are?
· That Texas, thanks to its Republican gerrymandering (i.e., election rigging), is now controlled by the dumbest, meanest, Whitest 30 percent of the population?
· That Texas, bless its heart, don’t look too kindly upon people from South of the Border seeking asylum in America from violence and poverty, which is their legal right to do? How dare these immigrants believe in the proud Texan values of hard work to take crap jobs at crap pay that Texans are too proud for! How dare they take the welfare that White Texans are entitled to?
· That Texas seems kinda racist? With a lot of Confederate flags proudly waving? (Note that Texas was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery, as word of emancipation took 2.5 years to get there.)
· That “Texas Had An Outsized Presence At The Capitol Insurrection,” per Houston Public Media, as “Texans accounted for roughly one out of every 10 people arrested for the attack on the U.S. Capitol”?
· That Texas is killing our planet and poorest people with increasingly violent and deadly hurricanes, floods and fires thanks to its fossil fuel bidness that enriches energy executives so they can drive to their country clubs in $200,000, 17 mpg Range Rovers with their reconstructed trophy wives? And then jet away to sunny resorts when the power goes out in Texas due to their incompetence and the climate disasters they created?
· That the Texas governor has outlawed Covid-19 mask and vaccination mandates, rejecting the urgent pleas of city leaders, parents, schools and healthcare providers who desperately want to protect their fellow Texans from sickness and death?
And now Texas permits folks to carry a gun without a permit.
If you hate women having reproductive health and privacy rights, or Brown immigrants, or minorities casting votes, or public officials struggling to save lives from Covid, or Democrats in general, then go to Texas where you can go all Dirty Harry, take the law into your own hands without due process, shoot first and ask questions later.
Now every racist, misogynist, angry, violent, disturbed, misguided, Dark Web-addled conspiracy nut and militia insurrectionist, enraged ex-husband, boyfriend or stalker, and myriad other troubled and dangerous men, can threaten and kill as they see fit. Then plead ignorance or mental health issues, like the Capitol insurrectionists.
That’s today’s Texas-style law and order — you can do the crime without doing the time. Sounds pretty … liberal?
Texas has long threatened to leave America, like a tween told to clean his room threatens to run away for a better life.
America has long said yay, go for it Texas, good luck and good riddance to bad rubbish.
But like that ornery tween, Texas, like most Republican states, depends on America and takes more than it gives.
So I say let Texas Brexit. It could never survive on its own, but maybe learn the hard way that nobody can survive in a lone star state.
Ok, yes, fake apology, I’m being a little tough on Texas.
But since Texas likes to act tough, I think Texas can handle a little funnin’ without gettin’ all triggered.
And all funnin’ aside, we all love Texas. We love that there Texas twang in our language, music and Congressmen pretendin’ to be all down home. The delicious Texas barbeque and Tex-Mex. The Texas blue jeans with bit of Lycra stretch as we girth out from consuming a lot of Texas barbeque and Tex-Mex. The Texas hand-tooled boots and giant belt buckles that fasten our hand-tooled belts, and Western shirts with pearl buttons, like we’re 10 years old in the 1950s dressing up as cowpokes for Halloween.
And of course, even the Lib Coast ladies can’t get enough of a real dude in a $500 Stetson, $125,000 Ford F-650 SuperTruck, and faux Versailles estate on 200 acres in the flat godforsaken middle of nowhere — where you can see your dog run away for a week — on account of his Texas oil money.
But right now, Texas is messing with America. America is madder than a wet hen, as they say in Texas. Mebbe it’s about time for America to do a li’l messin’ with Texas?
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.