My Blue Heaven

Outsiders have always bashed Austin for its liberal politics, but my beloved city takes pride in being different from the rest of the state. Smarter too. And more arrogant.

READING A NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT of former Austin mayor Bruce Todd’s near-fatal bicycle crash reminded me why I wanted to come here in the first place. Austin is different from the rest of Texas. You may have noticed this in the November election, when 253 of the state’s 254 counties approved Proposition 2, a constitutional amendment that outlawed what was already illegal: gay marriage. The lone holdout was Travis County, whose county seat is Austin. The city doesn’t merely tolerate but actually treasures the offbeat, the adventurous, the fractured, and the weird. In other words, it’s the sort of place where a 55-year-old former mayor would think that a neat thing to do the Sunday after Thanksgiving was take a marathon bike ride in the country. Ironically, Todd’s life was saved because he wore a helmet, a cause he had championed as mayor despite the libertarian streak that

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