Oh, dear. A couple of my colleagues were involved in a fairly contentious exchange over the meaning of Texas patriotism on this blog last week. As an historian of the Old South, albeit with no particular expertise in Texas, I feel I ought to make a contribution. For the record, I grew up in upstate New York and loved my beautiful “North Country,” but I was never asked to pledge my allegiance to the Empire State.
I have lived in Texas since 2008 and although the call to state patriotism is still strange to me, I understand something of the “mystique” of Texas. The land itself, with its wide-open spaces, nurtures a sense of independence and adventure. Texas author John Howard Griffin, writing of the Llano Estacado region, called it the “land of the high sky.” During my first full summer here I took a vacation in San Antonio and visited the Alamo daily. I came away the proud owner of a mug with an image of the Alamo, its distinctive round-topped façade silhouetted against a brilliant evening sky.
But would I pledge allegiance to my current home state? What would that mean? It would be an act of appreciation, as a colleague has suggested, but a pledge is more than a thank you note. It is a real commitment. Continue reading