“Maybe you shouldn’t live in Texas…,”

It is a phrase which, over the years, has been visited upon me with a dogged regularity.

There are, of course, phrases which turn up more often in debate.  But while a less frequent visitor than that old standby, “The Bible says…,” I find it infinitely more offensive.  At least I know that if someone wants to use the Bible, the Constitution, or even the freaking ‘Daily Shopper’ to debate me, they are engaged in the conversation.

“Maybe you shouldn’t live in Texas…,” is neither argument nor plea.

It is a dismissal.

It’s “fuck off”, disguised as friendly advice.

Excuse me, I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

Allow me to explain…,

The Open Carry Brigade

The above photo was taken by one of my coworkers on Memorial Day and posted to his Facebook page.  You may have seen other photos like it in the news recently.  It shows members of an ‘Open Carry’ group casually strolling around Fort Worth, with assault rifles strapped to their backs.

The purported goal of these guys, and a handful of folks like them, is to demonstrate their 2nd Amendment right to stand about awkwardly, like extras in a ‘zombie attack’ movie, while making innocent passers-by incredibly nervous.

Or…,

Maybe their goal is to desensitize the public to the presence of ridiculously large weapons in the public sphere, thus reassuring us all, that if some crazy starts shooting indiscriminately into the crowd, there will be good upstanding folks there, more than willing to catch you in the crossfire.

Or…, maybe it was something else.  It’s hard to say.  If you watch the videos that these guys take of themselves, it seems as if they just crave attention, only to react belligerently when they get it.

In any case, back on Facebook, a lively debate sprang up regarding the demonstration.  Was it a brave display of constitutional goodness?  Or, was it a totally unnecessary display, in callouss disregard of recent tragedies?

The conversation was moving along as politely as one could hope for, given the topic (although, in the spirit of full disclosure, I ‘did’ suggest that there might be some disproportionality between gun and penis size among the demonstrators) when one of the participants dropped that familiar old cliché…,

“You know, Texas probably isn’t the state to live in if you are so opposed to the gun laws.”

Ah yes, that old familiar song!

If you don’t like gun fetishists walking the streets…,

…or organized Christian prayer in our schools…,

…or our laid-back attitude toward executions…,

…or the way we treat the disadvantaged…,

If you believe mixing religion and government is unconstitutional…,

…that women should have control of their bodies…,

…that same-sex couples should have the same rights we do…,

…that the place of public schools is to teach science, not scripture…,

…and that there is more to our relationship with the land than seeing how many dollars we can dredge out of it…,

Well then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t live in Texas.

Welcome To Texas

“Political progressives,” I have been told on more than one occasion, “have no place in this state.”

“So you’re not christian?  Why do you want to live here?”

“Wouldn’t you be happier someplace where the people think like you?”

And maybe I would.

Certainly, there seem to be enough people who think they would be happier if they didn’t have to share space with people who think and believe and act like me.

Maybe we should all just congregate ourselves into enclaves of likemindedness where we never have to encounter an opinion that differs from our own.

It’s an attractive idea on some levels, and one that I have heard bandied about more than once among my fellow reconstructionist pagans.  Imagine, having our own polytheist communities, set apart from all the dogmatic ballyhoo and funny looks we deal with on a daily basis.  Think of something along the lines of Amish country, but without the eschewing of technology and a wider array of fashion choices.  It would be our own little pastoral, techno, pagan, paradise, where no one need pretend to be something they are not.

Barring that, there ARE places that are friendlier to folks like me.

And I didn’t choose Texas, after all.  My parents did that when I was but a child.

So where then?

Over the years, dear friends have beckoned me to the mountains of Colorado.

More recently, it has been the coasts and the forests of Washington state that have called to me.

And then there is Ireland, so distant, and yet every time I have visited, the land and the people have felt more like home than any other I have ever known.

So why not?

Why not give ‘them’ what they want and just leave?

Well, I have family here, of course.  And there are my friends as well.  And lets not forget the mortgage, the half-finished remodeling project, a job, a hungry cat, remarkably little monetary savings, and an entirely reasonable fear of failure.

There is also, I must confess, a certain amount of determination to make THIS place better.  I want to contribute to a positive change, and the thought of leaving to find a better fit somewhere else just sounds like retreat.

I don’t know.

Maybe I shouldn’t live in Texas, but that’s for me to decide.

Let’s have this conversation again in a couple months when we’ll be suffering through our latest string of 100-degree days.  I may be thinking more clearly by then.

28 Comments

Filed under Culture, Modern Life, Politics, Religion

28 responses to ““Maybe you shouldn’t live in Texas…,”

  1. I resonate with every word of this. I’ve dreamed off an on about fleeing, ahem I mean moving someplace else. Someplace where people in general don’t have outright animosity towards me and other people like (transgender people, pagan people, disabled people, female people who have the audacity to consider themselves to be more than just someone’s mother/wife/servant). The avalonian pacific northwest has beckoned me, but now since that area is riddled with radiation I’ve reconsidered. I must stay here a while longer.

    • I don’t know that “riddled” is an entirely appropriate description. However much radiation there ‘may’ be in the Northwest, I’m pretty sure the chemicals being pumped into the Texas ground for fracking would more than make up for that.

  2. I lived in Texas for 10 years, and I experienced a great deal of what you describe here (and then some). So I can empathize with your frustrations, and I also appreciate why you would choose to stay. Should you ever change your mind, however, I totally recommend Michigan. Things are far less “Left Behindy” up here.

  3. Every where including California and the Northwest has their share of conservative neo cons and unreconstructed racists and homophobes. They’re just more of them in Texas. Go to Riverside or Bakersfield or La Canada and you will here the same shit. They just can’t walk around with their guns/penises out.

    • Obviously true (my family moved here from California, so I’m very familiar with the regional breakdown of the state). However, a hardcore ultra-conservative there is roughly equivalent to a moderate here, so it’s not exactly an even playing field.

  4. Your key word was at the end of your speech, the word “change”

    We Americans don’t want “change”

    We love America and it’s Constitution

    We will fight to keep our freedom of speech, freedom of internet, right to bear arms

    And one day it may not be “crossfire” but to save your life

    • “We Americans?” Which Americans are those exactly? There are lots of Americans out there and a great many of US would be perfectly happy to see a little change.

      I love America, and yet I feel that I can recognize its flaws and fight to correct them. The right to do so was established by our founders when they designed the constitution to be a living document, a document that could change along with the will of the people.

      We do pretty good with our freedom of speech. However, lately we have drifted a bit from what the founders would have thought constituted such. Money is not speech. Standing on the side of a road with an assault weapon is not speech.

      I have no problem with he right to bear arms, as long as we are following the full text of the amendment. The founders didn’t say we could have guns because we want to. They didn’t say that we could have guns to rise up against our government. They said we could have guns as part of a well regulated militia. Further, since the guns of today have almost no resemblance to those of 1787, I’m not really sure that amendment should apply at all. Flintlocks and muskets for everyone!

      As for “saving my life”, I’ll take my chances, given that there are no good statistics that show an armed populace makes any real difference during mass shootings.

      “We” Americans, indeed.

      • There’s only one type of American

        A true American…

      • Lol – and who exactly gets to make THAT determination?

      • You do

        You know it in your

        Heart

        Actions

        Beliefs

        Only you know if your a true American
        But others can tell when your not

        Enjoy this wonderful spring day…

      • Splendid. So seeing as it’s such a nebulous term (only you can know if you are and others can tell if you are not and we all likely have different criteria) perhaps we can dispense with the needless “othering” of individuals by avoiding the use of terms like “True American” entirely. Common courtesy makes for more pleasant spring days, don’t you think?

      • Don’t play with me

        You know exactly if your a True American or not

        It’s not a guessing game

        An actually, I don’t think you know if you are or not…

      • Don’t play with you?! Lol.

        You’re in my wheelhouse, and if you’re gonna track a bunch of jingoistic “True American” nonsense through the door, you’ll get what I give you (which is more courtesy than you have shown, btw).

        Oh, and it’s “you’re” not “your”. I’ve been letting that go.

      • Take a hike jack ass

        Your a sad case

        And it’s people, I hesitate using men, like you who do nothing but toss useless words around rather than take a stand like real men do

        You’ve wasted enough of my intelligent and valuable time

        Your “trashed”

        And thank you WP for that wonderful botton

        It so much comes in handy

      • I’d like to thank this person for demonstrating my point so perfectly.

        She comes into the comment section of my blog, does not debate the issues when given every opportunity, suggests that I am not “True” enough, questions my masculinity, and then tells ME to “take a hike”.

        It’s exactly this sort of reaction that tells me I’m doing good work right where I am!

        Oh, and it’s “YOU’RE a sad case,” and “YOU’RE trashed.” I mean seriously, if your words are so important, than treat them like they mean something!

  5. Scott Sewell

    Insightful thank you for posting…here in oklahoma it’d similar…especially if your traditional indian or a pagan…

  6. Scott Sewell

    Reblogged this on here and now… and commented:
    A good post. ..

  7. I can definitely relate to this. I live in a blue state, but in a rather conservative area of it and I often dream of building a self-sustaining Pagan community away from the strange looks and people who, when failing to convert, spit out the phrase ‘I’ll pray for you’ in a tone that implies they’d much rather see me in their hell.
    Of course, my home, family and resources for my two Autistic children are here and I do love the natural beauty of this area, so for the time being, I’m rooted here. For many of the same reasons you’re staying in Texas.
    I do love the idea of a community of our own, though. Maybe someday…

  8. All of my siblings (4) are now living in Texas. No state income tax, employment, lower cost of living vs. many other places, and all four are atheists. There are plenty of non-Christians in Texas, they just don’t walk around with guns strapped to their backs, getting in everyone’s faces about their rights.

  9. locksley2010

    Your description of the ‘Open Carry’ reminds me of a MAD magazine (yes, we used to get that in the UK for a short time!) Section on why your gun is better than your wife… it included a ‘book’ on “101 ways to make love to your hand gun’.

  10. Pingback: Just Words | Stone of Destiny

  11. Really enjoyed this. Texas isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be. I’ve lived here my entire life and can say with confidence that I’d give it up for the West or East coast. Texas is overrated and the pride people have here is just ridiculous. It’s also borderline disturbing that the public bearing of arms is as common as it is. We have a pretty decent economy, but there are many places in the US that are worth giving that up for.

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s