While much of the country struggled through cold, wintery weather last week, I had the opportunity to enjoy a balmy celebration of the inauguration of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. The event was spectacular. It reminded me why Texas is so unique, uniquely American and why we need to keep Texas, Texas. It reminded me why 11 million people moved to Texas in the past two years; and why more Americans need to foster and display a Texas-sized patriotism for America and all she stands for.
One aspect of Texas on full display throughout the day was the heritage and history that unite Texans. While people from around the country and the world now call Texas home, Texans have a strong sense of shared identity. Texans proudly recite their own Texas pledge and sing state songs—more than one! Texans know what makes their state special, and they celebrate it!
There is a lot of Texas culture to celebrate. Texans proudly adorned with Cowboy boots and hats traveled great distances to attend the inaugural event to hear speeches championing the liberty-focused policies that have made Texas so attractive. One of the great things about Texas is that people are not afraid to care about their state. Everywhere else takes second place. This is not a new attitude, and it used to be much more common for all Americans to share such a zealous love of where they call home.
It goes all the way back to the famous words of Davy Crockett. After becoming disillusioned with his native Tennessee, Crockett announced in 1835, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” Crockett fell in love with Texas and volunteered to fight for Texas independence. He died at the Alamo fighting for his newfound home.
You get a strong sense that many Texans are still willing to fight and die for their independence. Is it any wonder that young Texans make such a strong showing in enlistment in the armed forces and Texas ranks 16th in the nation for their share of national active-duty military personnel?
That healthy spirit of “Texas First” was on display at the inauguration. One Texas State Representative had trouble remembering which state I had traveled from. When I said Missouri, he smiled and said matter-of-factly, “If it’s not Texas, I don’t care.”
That is the kind of pride we need in America. It is our history and heritage that unite us. I would love to see that kind unity and passion across the country as Americans. For years, I have proudly displayed a “Don’t Mess with Texas” sign in my house. My kids questioned it, saying, “Mom, you’re not even from Texas.” To which I reply, “Baby, Texas is America!”.
Most Americans, when traveling internationally and asked where they’re from, they say the United States of America, but Texans simply say they’re from Texas. And everyone has a vision of cowboys, freedom, barbecue, Tex-Mex, and faith. The sense of patriotism Texans have for their state should be on display for all Americans. The core values of liberty, love of God, love of family, and being proud of our great nation should be just as strong from sea to shining sea.
If there was one moment that seemed out of place during the Inaugural event, it was when someone referred to Governor Abbott as “your excellency.” I’m sure Governor Abbott was taken aback by the awkward and completely inappropriate “un-Texan and un-American salutation. That is not how we do things in America. We do not have kings. We do not have royalty, and that is on purpose. Lt. Governor Patrick’s speech, however, put things right when he noticed a man holding a sign that stated, “Jesus is King.” Patrick praised the man for putting his faith before politics, which is as it should be. There is only one King in America: God.
This faith that so many Texans share and publicly profess is a hallmark of what used to be more common in America. People of faith are not swayed by political intimidation, because we know from whom our rights come. The government does not have the power to grant rights; the government only recognizes and protects our God-given rights.
Let’s make sure we keep Texas, Texas. When we spend time in the Lone Star State, we should remember what real patriotism looks like and foster it in every one of our great states. Freedom is worth fighting for, worth dying for, and as Texans know, it is certainly worth living for!