OPINION: Lone Star pride stands alone

This story was corrected from the misprint in the 03/02/06 issue online only on 03/03/06.I was born in New Orleans.

I can cook jambalaya (nearly) from memory, understand the Cajun-French my grandmother peppers her speech with, dance like a crazy person, be a complete snob about what actually qualifies as “Mardi Gras” (hint: if it’s outside of New Orleans, it does not), and have extremely high standards for seafood and Cajun cooking outside of Louisiana.

But my family moved to Texas 11 years ago and I like to think my world became a little brighter.

Now granted, my mom and I cried all the way from New Orleans to Baton Rouge (an hour or so drive) when we first moved away. It did take a little time for the light of Texas to dawn on me.

This summer, my parents moved back to New Orleans, and while I did not cry this time when they told me, I was upset about the move.

How could they leave the greatest state in the world?

Sometime during those 11 years, I stopped comparing my two hometowns and started appreciating the beauty of our state.

After all, God blessed Texas, right?

Of course he did, with his own hand (as the song proclaims), and that’s why it’s so great.

In Texas, people have a pride that doesn’t exist in other states. I was talking to someone from Maryland earlier this year during her first trip to Texas. She was flabbergasted by the pride of Texans.

“If someone were to yell ‘Yeah, Maryland!’ in the middle of a room full of people, everyone would just stare at them. That would be so weird,” she told me. “In Texas, everyone will yell back in agreement.”

Don’t you just love Texans? At least we are all unified by our love.

Here’s the thing about Texas pride though – we have the chops to back up our claims.

We were once our own country, and your state wasn’t.

Nanny nanny boo boo, if you will.

Texas actually had to have its own revolution in order to obtain freedom, and we didn’t have 12 other colonies to back us up. Afterward, our founders actually set up a government which worked effectively for 10 years.

Today, Texas can fly its flag at the same height as the American flag. Did you know that’s only legal in Texas? Every other state must fly its state flag below the American flag.

Why can we do this? Texas is special, that’s why. Oh, and because we were once our own country. I’m telling you, this is apparently a big deal.

In fourth and seventh grade, Texas students are forced to take Texas history as a class. It’s understandable. Six different flags have flown over Texas, and that’s a lot of history to cover. I have always wondered though, what exactly do students study in, let’s say, Montana History? Sorry, Montana (and the other 48 states that probably deserve my apology right now).

But when researching this article, I did come across a political group called the Republic of Texas that is actually trying to make Texas its own country. That just might be taking Texas pride from cool to crazy.

As long as we are on the topic of Texas’ entrance into the Union, let’s discuss the land Texas brought into the U.S.

Today, Texas makes up approximately 7 percent of the total land and water mass of the U.S.

But the greatness of Texas has nothing to do with statistics, be it annexation or today’s rates of education.
It’s about Southern hospitality, deep-fried fill-in-the-blank, conversations with strangers, warm weather in January, mountains to the west, flat plains in the middle, forests to the East, Chuck Norris (it had to be said), and people unified by bad driving and the word “y’all.”

It’s about a feeling, and while I could sit down with you and explain it for hours, unless you are a Texan and have this feeling of incredible pride, you will never believe me. You don’t feel it, understand it, or believe in it.

That’s natural, if a little close-minded.

Shannon Kelly is a sophomore advertising/public relations major from Dallas.