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Robert A. Mills

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THE EYES OF TEXAS ARE UPON ME
4/21/2009 6:30:12 AM

I used to think Texas was the greatest state in the Union. After all, I grew up thinking that’s John Wayne came from. And Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Johnny Mack Brown, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, Lash LaRue, Rex Allen, Tim Holt, Tom Mix, Buster Crabbe, Buck Jones, James Arness, “Red” Berry, William Boyd, Wild Bill Elliott, Hoot Gibson, Gabby Hayes, Jock Mahoney, Ken Maynard, Willie Nelson, Clayton Moore, Tim McCoy, Audie Murphy, Slim Pickens, Duncan Renaldo and Pancho, Tex Ritter, Bob Steele, William S. Hart—shoot, man, Texas!—that’s where all great Americans came from, isn’t it?

Texas! The Lone Star State! Deep in the heart of!. Don’t fence me in! Streets of Laredo! Remember the Alamo! Home of the Long Horns and the Dallas Cowboys! San Antonio Rose! Texas—where men are men and the sheep are nervous!

So, what’s all this stuff about Texas seceding from the Union?

Texas governor Rick Perry, a former cotton grower who used to get paid by the federal government just to store his crop, called the group of Tea Party protesters in Austin last week “a great crowd!”—while they waved American flags and screamed: “Secede!”

Maybe they should. After all, Texas is bigger than most Third World countries and in some places looks like them. Besides, it already has its own language. You can’t open a law firm or a used car lot over there unless decimos el español.

During Andrew Jackson’s administration in the 1830’s, South Carolina seriously considered pulling out of the Union, and most of that had to do with tariffs and slavery, pretty much as it does now. The tariff part, then as today, makes little sense (Texas, like Alaska, gets back more than it sends to Washington,) and as far as slavery goes, the federal minimum wages applies to everyone, even those who couldn’t find the passport office if they were eligible to obtain one.

Maybe Texans are the most patriotic Americans there are. Why wouldn’t they want to pull out of this crummy country and set sail on their own? What right has a brand new president got trying to get the upper 5% to pay their fair share of taxes, while giving the remaining 95% a long overdue break? John Wayne, a truly great Texan, knew exactly what he was talking about when he went around calling everyone “Pilgrim.”

But you can ask Willie Nelson or any of those other fabulous Texas patriots: what has this country ever done for you? No question about it, taxation according to the Internal Revenue Code is the biggest hosing we’ve ever had, and it sure ain’t what the Founding Fathers had in mind (how many of ‘em came from Texas, anyway?) Even the Constitution had to be amended to accommodate it, and Texas was the 9th state of the 48 then in existence to ratify it (they held out longer than they did at the Alamo.) Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Utah rejected the amendment and never did ratify it.

So, where are we today? Gov. Rick Perry says, “We joined the Union because they gave us the right to bail out if we wanted to” (an absolute fairy tale,) and of course, they will never so much as make the attempt.
There’s a lot of truth to the old Texas saws: you never bite the hand that feeds you, outta the fryin’ pan inta the fire, or, as Major “King” Kong (Slim Pickens, in Dr. Strangelove) might say while ridin’ the bomb to that Great Corral in the Sky: “Eeeeyyyy, yyyiiiii, hhheeeeyyyyy, aawwwwrrrrkkkkk, yyyiii . . . “

In the meantime, reflect on what Gail Collins eloquently said in her brilliant column on the Austin tea party in last week’s New York Bible, “We don’t want to blame all Texans for the high jinks [across the country.] It’s a state full of lovely people, three-fourths of whom, according to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll, have no desire whatsoever to secede from the United States. . . . But Perry really understands how that other quarter feels.”
He sure as shootin’ does, pardner!


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