Texas — you are not my Texas

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Matthew deGrood, Contributing Writer

In this, the seventh and final piece in a continuing series about the Lone Star State, Midwestern-born Matthew deGrood, who grew up in Amarillo but left his heart in Minnesota, brings our series to a close with the acrid thoughts of a dissenting Texan.

 
Flat, dry and incredibly brown, Texas is not Matthew deGrood’s idea of paradise. -Photo courtesy of oklahomafarmreport.com
Flat, dry and incredibly brown, Texas is not Matthew deGrood’s idea of paradise. -Photo courtesy of oklahomafarmreport.com

While it probably goes without saying, I might as well come out and admit it: I detest this state. I just cannot fathom what the source of Texas pride is. Texans are filled with pride toward a state that could be hit with a nuclear bomb and wouldn’t experience much of a change in landscape. This state is disgustingly unattractive, and I invite all who disagree with me to make the journey from UD to Amarillo; there is nothing there!

Perhaps politics is one of the few aspects of Texas less attractive than the landscape. In a strange way, Texas’ governor Rick Perry really encapsulates everything Texas is about: “George W. Bush did a incredible job in the presidency, defending us from freedom.” While the previous quotation is from Rick Perry, it is easy to imagine any diehard Texan having uttered them. As a dear friend of mine once said, “George W. Bush got C’s at Yale. Rick Perry got C’s at A&M.” So too would the Texas political machine get C’s at A&M!

But it is not just the aesthetics and politics that upset me so. I take pride in cheap American beer, after all, so I have little room to judge others for esoteric sources of pride. No, what makes me so livid is the arrogance of Texans in regard to their state pride. Take a Rangers game, for instance. At any game you attend, you are going to see people madly waving their Texas flags. Who does this? I’m not going to attend a Yankees’ game and witness people waving New York state flags. Why not? Because this is insane behavior! The Rangers are not even the only team in Texas. This is a baseball game, not a nationalist rally!

“Don’t mess with Texas,” thousands of bumper stickers tell me. Oh, I think I will mess with Texas! Your state is ugly, your politics are irksome, and your pride reaches levels of arrogance previously unknown to mankind. Every time you don’t get your way on a national level, you tout the fact that you may secede from the Union. First of all, you have no more right to that than any other state. Second of all, I find it comical that Texans act as if the rest of the United States would miss its presence. I say we give Texas back to Mexico; it’s been a long time coming. That way Texans don’t have to deal with those darn liberals and the rest of the United States doesn’t have to deal with the arrogance of Texas. It’s a win-win situation. But, whatever the case, just get me out of this godforsaken state!

18 COMMENTS

  1. Look, as an urban liberal, I have my own gripes about my state. But it’s my HOME, and I won’t stand for this kind of abuse from someone who clearly thinks of himself as an outsider. By the way, great job, putting the entire state of Texas under the Amarillo/Dallas umbrella. The only place worse than those two is maybe El Paso. Have you BEEN to San Antonio, Houston, or Austin? What about anyplace in the hill country? You are forgetting a few AMAZING features unique to Texas as well:
    1. Tex Mex. Eat it in San Antonio. Don’t eat it anywhere north of Austin.
    2. Texas is one giant boom town. How much agony did you and your friends go through during the Recession? Generally speaking, homes weren’t lost, life savings didn’t disappear, and lives weren’t positively ruined on the scale and at the rate that the rest of the country endured.
    3. Diversity. Most people know un poquito de Espanol. 16% of people living in Texas describe themselves as “foreign-born.” The city of Houston is the most reflectively diverse city in the entire country (We have all the nationalities that the rest of the country does, and in the very same percentages). People are still moving to Texas for the ample job and education opportunities that exist.
    4. Dining. I know what you’re thinking – Shelby, you already said Tex Mex. That’s because it is heavenly and deserves its own category. But our beautiful diversity (see item #3) lends itself to amazing food from all over the world. You can get any kind of food you want, in both restaurants and grocery stores.
    5. World-class cultural and educational institutions: Rice University, Baylor University, University of Texas! Not to mention the many small hidden treasures like Austin College, Southwestern University, even UD. Then there are the art museums and thriving arts communities: the Kimbell, the Fort Worth Modern, and the DMA in the DFW area; the MFA and CAM in Houston; the Witte in San Antonio; and the Blanton at UT in Austin to name just a few off the top of my head. Then we have our performing arts: the Houston Ballet, the Houston and Fort Worth Operas, and the Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and Austin Symphony Orchestras (the Minnesota Orchestra, meanwhile, has been named the #1 Worst of 2012 – in the WORLD http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2012/12/the-results-best-and-worst-orchestras-of-2012.html). There are more, and they are all splendiferous, and there isn’t enough room in this comment to name them all.
    6. The Texas Medical Center in Houston. This is where people come for the best medical education and health care in the world. Gabrielle Giffords was treated at Memorial Hermann hospital after being attacked in 2011. MD Anderson is among the top cancer research and treatment centers in the world. TIRR medical rehabilitation, Texas Children’s Hospital, the Menninger Clinic for mental health, need I go on?
    Texas is mine in the same way that my family is mine: I didn’t choose it, and I don’t always find it agreeable, but I love it and it will always be where I came from, and I will always be proud of it. In case you don’t understand what it means to embrace the entirety of one’s family and state, I will leave you this bit of wisdom Julia Sugarbaker, southern belle extraordinaire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3KQgulBzh0

    • Shelby, what a firm, but polite response to Mr. deGrood. You disagree very agreeably.

      Certainly, Texas does not have the lush beauty of many parts of the country, but it does have its undeniable virtues, many of which you list.

      It’s a free country — and perhaps nowhere are you freer than in Texas. And so, Mr. deGrood, you can certainly say what you want, but, pray tell, if you loathe Texas so, why don’t you leave it in the rearview mirror as you drive up 35 to Minnesota? Part of the beauty of this freedom is that you are free to leave.

      • Why on earth would someone who has not graduated college yet and is currently enrolled at the university of dallas decide not to leave Texas? HMMMMMMMM……

        • Well, knowing that the school is in Texas, why did you come here? Don’t criticize a place you chose to come to.

          • This is incredibly silly. The school is a fantastic school which happens to be in Texas. Of course he came here.

            Saying not to criticize a place you chose to come to is even sillier. Why would you refuse to acknowledge the faults of any place? “I chose to come here, Texas must be perfect.” That’s just not logical.

          • Seriously? You think the primary factor of any student choosing a university should be the town it’s in? That’s absurd.

            And this university has a second campus- and the pains of Dallas are worth the glories of Rome

          • Not saying that at all. Just saying don’t be surprised if you come across people whose attitude may be different from yours. Just because that’s so doesn’t mean they’re arrogant. If you have nothing good to say about certain people, say nothing.

          • That is a very fair point- however, I do not believe this piece conveys any kind of surprise

  2. Wow…just wow. The University News should be ashamed of itself for publishing this. They took a good series and had to end it on a bad note with this. What a genuine shame. I personally enjoyed this series, and now it’s a shame to see that it is just treated like a joke now. Furthermore, Mr. deGrood should be ashamed of himself. He showed more arrogance than what he claims Texans possess. Being proud of where you’re from is not arrogance. I expect more from a learned UD student.

    • Mike, does such a viewpoint really make the other articles on East Texas, Ft. Worth, etc a joke? At least some people seriously espouse Mr. deGrood’s view, especially in the Northeast. And so, that view is represented in all its acrimony. I personally disagree with this piece, but I don’t suppose that I should expect an opinion section to always suit my fancy. Thanks, University News, for being fair and balanced. You gave what seemed like a whole semester to pieces praising Texas; I’m glad the dissenters — or at least one dissenter — were allowed to speak as well.

  3. I’m not certain The University News should be too worried about it, given that five or six other articles were published celebrating Texas. The view Matthew puts forward is actually possessed by many residents of Texas, even those residents who have seen the pretty places and enjoyed aspects of the culture. It is therefore perfectly fair for one incarnation of this view to have been represented in the newspaper.

    For the most part, however, as a Texan who is fond of her state, I do not feel like expansive, beautiful Texas was threatened by this article. If everyone loved Texas, we’d be Stepford; and then I wouldn’t love Texas.

  4. The point of this article in particular is to highlight some of Texas’ flaws, and it did so, albeit not in the most professional way possible. Pride is not a bad thing, but the overwhelming pride of some Texans IS, in the same way that the overwhelming obnoxiousness of some New Yorkers is a bad thing.

    The article comes off as arrogant, but you, as readers, also immediately refuse to acknowledge any of the points that he makes, and that, to an extent, is also arrogant (and ignorant, for that matter).

  5. I stand with Degrood. I’ve lived here all my life, and every instance I’ve seen of my state’s signature pride has exceeded any accomplishments that would merit it. Worse still, whenever we’re criticized we get mean, defensive and stupid; we refuse to consider if there’s anything to the arguments being made against us, or if perhaps we couldn’t improve ourselves in some way.

    Also, in reply to whoever linked to the WSJ; we have a skyrocketing GINI index, over a third of our job growth is minimum wage, job growth that’s failing to keep pace with population, and the highest rate of uninsured individuals in the country. Texas is not a libertarian paradise because that is a thing that doesn’t exist.

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