California

Three Texas Myths That Won’t Die

In my travels around the state I run into people now and then who have deeply held convictions about Texas that are simply untrue. They hold to myths that have been nurtured by well-intentioned souls since San Jacinto days, and it breaks my heart to tell them they are mistaken, but not for long. I soon realize, you see, that they are not saddened by their error, but by mine. As one man told me, “Son, you need to get out more. Try reading a book or two.”

With that caveat staring me icily in the face like Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone, I will forge ahead and tell you about three such myths that just won’t die.

First up is the widely held belief that Texas is the only state in the union that was its own country first. This is not so. Four years before California became a state it was the California Republic, for about 3 weeks. True, there was no armed revolution—no Alamo—no grand battle, like San Jacinto, where they defeated a maniacal dictator, but nonetheless, it was a bonafide republic for an ever so brief time. It didn’t have a constitution, but it did have a flag, and according to Eddie Izzard’s law of nation building, the flag is more important. The flag showed a grizzly bear and a lone red star, influenced by the white lone star on the Texas flag. The Republic didn’t survive, but the flag did. It became the basis of California’s modern state flag.

Hawaii was both a kingdom and a republic before becoming a state, though Hawaiians were not as enthusiastic about statehood as were Texans and Californians. For four years, Florida was an independent country called Muskogee, and Vermont, for 14 years, was an independent republic as well, beating Texas’ record by four years.

Another widespread myth is that Texas can, by law, divorce herself from the U.S. anytime she wants. Many insist that this is in the Texas Constitution or in what some call the “Treaty of Annexation” papers. But it’s not there. I’ve looked, with a magnifying glass and searched the marginalia of both documents. I’ve searched for the smallest of print. It’s not there. No hint of such an idea. But, we can divide ourselves into up to five states if we wish. We would get ten senators that way. Wonder what we’d name those five states were we to do it? Probably just North, South, East, West, and Central Texas. Though we could get creative? I’m against doing it, but I’ll take hypothetical suggestions?

A third myth I hear about quite often is that Texas should have kept her wealth and remained an independent country. Well, it’s a romantic idea that I’ve often longed for myself, but it wasn’t practical. First, in the 1840s, we were poor, dirt poor—better known as land poor. Sure we had oil and gas, but nobody knew about that yet and there was no market for it anyway. All we had was vast amounts of land to manage—300 thousand square miles—and a population of 50,000 people to try to protect it. No money, no treasury, no military to speak of. The Republic could barely pay the Texas Rangers, and was often quite late in paying them. Mexico regularly sent armies into the state to rattle their sabers and terrorize the citizens, making them feel that Mexico could retake Texas at any moment. The Comanches and Apaches were often on the warpath across the Western frontier. Texans wanted security and investment and jobs and capital. The fastest way to get it was to join the United States. So they did, with 94 percent of Texans voting in favor of it. Ultimately, we became rich by virtue of joining the union. And so did the U.S.

One other widely held belief is that a real Texan doesn’t put beans in chili. This one is actually absolutely correct. You can put beans in chili if you want to, but you cannot then legitimately call it Texas chili. You don’t mess with Texas and you don’t mess with Texas chili.

Texas Standard: August 28, 2019

As fall approaches the political season heats up: and a shift in the role of Texas in one of the most consequential election seasons in modern memory. Coming up a conversation with Gromer Jeffers, political writer for the Dallas Morning News, on why the Texas factor in the 2020 election year goes way beyond the presidential race. Also the homeless crisis in San Francisco: most of those homeless are Texans, says California’s governor. Politifact takes a closer look. And an especially wooly war for survival in the Trans Pecos. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 21, 2019

A mass migration from California to Texas. Is it all about the Benjamins? Or could it say something about the future of the U.S.? Two visions for the future of America, and according to the Economist Magazine, one is better suited for the future, we’ll hear why. Also, is Texas big enough for a second vet school? The Governor says yes, approving 17 million to green light a challenger to Texas A&M. We’ll hear from the new dean. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 14, 2018

Fighting fire with…Texans. Crews from the Lone Star State travel west to help Californians battling historic blazes on several fronts. Also, some believe it could be both a watershed moment in the so-called drug war and a cultural moment – as the drug kingpin known as El Chapo heads to trial. Plus, are citizen militias really headed to the border to meet a migrant caravan? Politifact checks it out. And spoiler alert: it won’t be the Amarillo Jerky after all. The Panhandle city picks a name for its minor league ball club… and not everyone’s a fan. All that and more, today on the Texas Standard.

Texas Standard: July 31, 2017

Rewriting a constitution. That’s now a possibility in Venezuela. We’ll explore how the US may respond. Plus, there’s been a full reversal at The Texas Department of Public Safety: Local law enforcement won’t have to pay to send evidence to be tested at the crime lab. And we’re traveling back in Texas time to when typewriters were tech breakthroughs, and Austin landed IBM. Also what’s behind a surge in new HIV cases in San Antonio. And, advice from one mom on how to raise a Texan, in California. All that and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 24, 2017

Of the 19 items on the governor’s agenda 17 are already headed to the Texas senate for a full vote. The House: that’s another story, we’ll have details. Also, how did it happen? The deaths of at least 9 locked in the back of a tractor trailer in San Antonio this weekend raise concerns about the persistence of human trafficking in Texas. And government by and for the donors? Why watchdogs are worried this special session is becoming a spigot for campaign contributions. And the appeal of California vs. the lure of Texas: the migration patterns are clear, but what might this mean in political terms? Those stories and lots more today on the Texas Standard:

The Honorable Michael Tubbs (Ep. 25, 2017)

In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with The Honorable Michael Tubbs, Mayor of Stockton, California. A Stanford graduate and former Stockton city council member, Tubbs is at age 26 the first black mayor of Stockton, and youngest mayor in American history.

Texas Standard: March 8, 2017

Obamacare, but for how much longer? How does what’s been called repeal and replace stand to affect Texans? Answers and more questions today. Also as many servicemen and women once stationed in Afghanistan return to Texas, new boots on the ground over there: Chinese boots. We’ll explore. And give me your tired, your very poor, your huddled masses yearning to be able to afford a grocery trip. What new numbers tell us about why Texas has become a beacon for California migrants. And the latest weather forecast. Same as it ever was? Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 18, 2016

According to some in Sacramento, the election outcome is an existential threat. Has California become the new Texas? Plus Texas has legalized the medical use of cannabis oil, but the fees for doing business may make it impossible. A co author of the bill wonders if that wasn’t part of the plan, we’ll hear from her. Also, a prominent public figure delivers a concession speech: only this one’s not politics, it’s football. We’ll hear what the fuss is about, and why it matters in a larger sense. Plus a Texas history textbook from the 1950’s rediscovered, and reviewed. And the week in politics and much more coming up today on the Texas Standard:

Malisha Dellinger (Ep. 10, 2016)

Host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with Malisha Dillinger, founder, President and CEO of Curls, LLC, and author of “Against All Odds: From The Projects toThe Penthouse.”

Texas Standard: July 21, 2015

The dust bowl, in reverse? As parched California goes bone dry- the headline across Texas..drought is over. In the run up to 2012 Rick Perry trumped up his cowboy in chief bonafides. Today, Rick Perry’s running without the Texas swagger..and some say, he tossed his mojo too… we’ll take a look. Despite the diplomatic thaw, it could get bumpy as DFW-based American airlines tries to open gates in Cuba. We’ll hear why. Calling the next Jordan Spieth- could cost be holding back the future face of golf?

Texas Standard: July 15, 2015

Day one of Jade Helm 15–after all the jokes about Americans invading Texas, how do folks on the home front really feel? That’s today on the Texas Standard. With a new investigation launched by the Governor’s office, Planned Parenthood is again on the defensive. We’ll have details. Also, the new energy boom—and no, it;s not oil… And the invasive species that may not be taking over Texas as much as the haters like to think.

Texas Standard: July 7, 2015

An astonishing admission rekindles a discussion about sexual assault. Is Texas law on the side of the survivors? Also today two competing visions for the future of America…which with the nation choose, California or Texas? Also as oil prices dip and layoffs continue one profession is picking up steam in shale country. Plus how one Texas based bookstore chain is bucking the trend of shutdowns, a challenge to the law license of the state’s top attorney, grocery store wars and much more: