The cultural and media snobs are trying to explain Texas to those who don't know the difference between a steer and a bull. If you fall into this category, a steer has been castrated -- a bull has not. I'll leave any analogy to East and West Coast elites for you to sort out.
People who are from Texas, or have lived there, are devoted to it and I never truly understood why until I lived there ... twice. Texans speak of their state with an affection one doesn't often hear from Oregonians or Michiganians. No matter what city they are from, Texans almost always add "Texas" when they introduce themselves, apparently to avoid confusion, as though there were another Nacodoches or Cut and Shoot anywhere else in the world.
The media elites are revisiting Texas in an attempt to define Rick Perry, the three-term governor and Republican presidential candidate. There were similar Texas stories about George W. Bush and even Lyndon B. Johnson, but liberal media types treated Johnson's Texas roots as quaint, not "dangerous," because his policies (with the exception of the Vietnam War) fit those in the chattering classes. For Perry (and Bush), every stereotype is applied. "Dumb" is one of the nicer ones.
Texans do talk funny. They are always "fixin'" to go someplace. Someone once published a book for non-Texans that translated their accented English. "All," for example, is a black petroleum substance that comes out of the ground.
Southern Baptist is the unofficial state religion, though atheists, agnostics and critics of America are well represented at many Texas universities. Texas Baptists go to church on Sunday mornings (and Sunday and Wednesday nights). They can recite the menu at a church supper, right down to the Jell-O squares with imbedded carrot shavings. Sweet tea is the preferred drink at such functions. Texans love their college football and the Dallas Cowboys.
Texans share a connection not found in any other state. Last week, I took my daughter's car to have her tires checked. She recently moved back to Washington from San Antonio and her car still has Texas plates. A man wearing a University of Texas cap yelled to me, "Go Texas!" That doesn't happen with Vermonters.
The Republic of Texas was once an independent country (from 1836 to 1845) before it became part of the United States on Dec. 29, 1845. It even had its own coinage, which you can buy through numismatic channels. Perhaps this explains Texas' independent streak.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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