Q: Texanist, you’re hardly a Texan if you’re one of those pesky liberals. Would Transplantist not be a better handle?
A: The Texanist receives a fair amount of mail. He asks for it right there in the fine print of each column he writes: “Have a question for the Texanist? He’s always available here. Be sure to tell him where you’re from.” Most of what lands in his inbox are missives containing pleas for assistance with vexing situations (“Should I get rid of the stinky possum carcass that’s decomposing beneath my house by myself or call in a professional?”), answers to arcane questions of a Texas-y nature (“Why isn’t chicken-fried steak the official state dish of Texas?”), or friendly comments on recently published columns (“I look forward to reading more articles and comments from the Texanist!”). Occasionally, the Texanist gets mail from prison, which can be interesting. And every so often the Texanist will get a rambling, incoherent note from somebody he suspects of TWDCB—Typing While Drunker than Cooter Brown. Those can also be interesting.
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Recently, the Texanist received your brief e-mail, Mr. Withheld. And although he isn’t able to ascertain precisely what the Texanist might have written or said or done that spurred you to send your note, he is catching a slight whiff of disgruntlement contained within your letter’s two sentences. (The subject line, “Authentic—Not” was the initial tipoff.) So despite the fact that, in flagrant violation of the rules of writing to the Texanist, you didn’t reveal where you are from—or even volunteer your name—a response seems to be in order.
And that response is: The Texanist, on behalf of all true Texans, is greatly affronted by your narrow definition of who qualifies as a Texan. Perhaps the intensity of his affrontery has something to do with the fact that, as the recipient of hundreds of missives over the years, the Texanist has had a front row seat to the glorious pageantry that is the vibrant mosaic of Texas citizenry. At various junctures, the Texanist guesses he’s heard from conservative Texans, liberal Texans, moderate Texans, libertarian Texans, pacifist Texans, Texans who are and are not god-fearing, vegetarian Texans, old Texans, young Texans, girl Texans, boy Texans, straight Texans, and LGBTQ Texans, not to mention the occasional lost Oklahoman, curious Californian, and, at least once, a very confused Luxembourgian. And, the aforementioned Okies, Californians, and Luxembourgians excepted, all of those folks had one thing in common: Whatever their political, religious, sexual, musical, culinary, automotive, or cowboy-boot-toe-shape inclinations, they were all Texans. (As is, it should go without saying, the Texanist. Your crack about him being a transplant is a calumny; just like his parents and grandparents, the Texanist is a native of this great state.)
Have you ever noticed that Texas is a fairly sizable place? Well, you know what often accompanies size, sir? Variety. When you’ve got 29,087,070 notoriously individualistic people of widely disparate ages, income levels, ethnic backgrounds, and boot-toe stylings living amid more than 250,000 square miles of mega-cities, charming small towns, and anodyne suburbs, it is pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to find a few disagreements between them. And one reason we all manage to live in relative comity is because Texans of all stripes—not including those who withhold their names and locations, apparently—are mostly content to live and let live. It’s a philosophy that has held Texans in good stead for many, many years now and one the Texanist thinks you would do well to adopt.
You see, the logical conclusion of your hostility toward those who think differently than yourself is something of an absurdity. Do you really mean to suggest that the millions of Texans who identify as liberal aren’t Texans? That LBJ isn’t a Texan? That neither the great folklorist and foe of McCarthyism J. Frank Dobie nor his antagonist-turned-friend Américo Paredes were Texans? Nor statesperson nonpareil Barbara Jordan? Nor scamp nonpareil Charlie Wilson? Nor Ann Richards? For land’s sake, Willie Nelson may be the greatest Texan of all time, and on many issues, as you surely know, he is quite liberal or even left of liberal. Heck, some folks hold that Sam Houston was even a bit of a liberal (albeit a liberal of the slaveholding sort, which complicates the issue a bit).
As to whether or not the Texanist is himself a member of that august group, the Texanist offers this brief answer: That’s none of your dang business. Because he offers his signature fine advice without regard to the political leanings of his correspondents and wants all comers to feel welcome, the Texanist is always careful to never hop up on his soapbox and commence spouting off, which wouldn’t be very helpful. Or, come to think of it, very Texanist-y.
Of course, the Texanist does have personal opinions on all manner of subjects. Sometimes people come to him just for those opinions. But just as it is with the long-held rule of etiquette that deems the topics of religion, sexuality, and politics off limits at parties, so too the Texanist feels that it is generally not a very good idea to delve into such subjects whilst working in the advice-giving trade. And so the Texanist prefers to, as best he can, keep that particular light hidden under a bushel, thank you very much.
In short, you might think about showing a little more acceptance and general kindness toward the Texanist and the 29,087,068 other Texans who share this wonderful and wonderfully diverse place we call home. And if you just can’t, then maybe it is you who should consider transplanting yourself—perhaps to a place where the official motto isn’t “Friendship.”
Good day to you, amigo.
Have a question for the Texanist? He’s always available here. Be sure to tell him where you’re from.