You’ve seen it before — the letter saying toodle-oo to the red states, as the blue states muster the courage to let them go. Somebody passed it along, I forwarded it to a few people I thought hadn’t seen it.
A discussion broke out. Part of the discussion centered on Texas’s second secession from the U.S., and how nasty things can be in Texas (“It’s not the heat and humidity; it’s the hate and stupidity”).
A couple of exchanges in, I started to wince. God knows Texas has its problems. I haven’t even started in on the latest three months of lunacy at the State Board of Education where Creationist-in-Chief Don McLeroy is loosening his belt to drop his pants (figuratively, of course) and moon every kid in Texas before he eviscerates science education.
But — you know? — Texas has a couple of things going for it, reasons to smile while you’re stuck here.
Below the fold, the “So long, Red States” letter — but before that, a modest defense of Texas, as I wrote back:
I do regret that [y’all have] had such a difficult and unhappy time in Texas. Texas is far from my ideal place, especially for the weather and lack of mountains (I appear to be losing the retirement fight – I wanted Jackson Hole, Kathryn wants Kanab. Red rock wins with the family.)
And Yellowstone is a part of my soul, especially after we (probably illegally) scattered my brother’s ashes there in the last great family reunion before this past summer.
But, you know, Texas has some fine points that shouldn’t get overlooked. Especially, it doesn’t deserve to get every redneck.
Here are some of the great things about Texas:
- Big Bend National Park
- Dallas Symphony, and Jaap Van Zweden (the premiere of “August 4, 1964” last month was fantastic; Van Zweden has a magic wand instead of a baton); and the Meyerson Symphony Center, which is a vastly superior hall in my mind to Carnegie, Avery Fisher, or anything at the Kennedy Center.
- Dallas Museum of Art (King Tut is back!)
- Dinosaur Valley State Park (and the other 100 or so state parks)
- San Antonio
- Houston Museum of Natural Science
- Kimbell Art Museum (the building itself is something to see – designed by Louis I Kahn)
- Bluebonnets; Lady Bird’s Wildflower Center (and all other Texas wildflowers)
- Dogwood Canyon
- Texas barbecue (no, it’s not like all the others; and most of the joy is in the journey to find it)
- LBJ Library
- Johnson Space Center
- John Henry Faulk
- San Marcos River
- Swimming holes along the (Texas) Colorado River
- DFW Airport (for access to the U.S., Canada and Mexico)
- Ann Richards
- Molly Ivins
- Monarch butterfly migration
- Birds and bird watching
- Pat Green
- Lyle Lovett
- Jerry Jeff Walker
- Tejano and Conjunto
- The Texas Observer
- It’s the origin of Walter Cronkite, Bob Schieffer, Jim Lehrer, and lots of others
- A dozen other things I’m forgetting for the moment
It’s been a rather miserable 21 years in Texas for us, for a lot of reasons. There are good things and good people in Texas. It ain’t all gloomy.
Wildflowers not only do blossom where they grow: They must blossom there.
(More humor below the fold.)
The farewell to red states that started the discussion. From so-far anonymous sources, one version of the letter. It’s fiction, folks — the statistics are probably made up:
Dear Red States:
We’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we’re taking the other Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and almost all the Northeast.We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.with us. In case you aren’t aware, that includes
To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches.We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get . We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the , you get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition‘s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms. Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we’re going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once.If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their children’s caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we’re not willing to spend our resources in Bush’s Quagmire.
With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country’s fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95 percent of America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy League and Seven Sister schools, and institutions of higher learning you’re so desperate to disparage — you know, like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.
With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all , virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the . We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you. Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 53 percent believe that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy b*****ds believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties.
The Blue States