[See also: Lone Star Setting? San Jacinto Undone, by Howard Sutherland]
When I was in about seventh grade, my mother decided it was important for my brother and myself to learn about the history of Texas. We were homeschooled children in the Lone Star state, so this wasn`t difficult for her to arrange. (I don`t like to think what goes on in the public schools).
We started by studying the native Indians who once populated Texas—the Caddo, Tonkawa, Comanche and Apache. My brother and grandfather constructed a life-size Tipi in which our mother/teacher served us buffalo meat. We learned about Cabeza de Vaca`s shipwreck, Coronado`s golden city, and LaSalle at Matagorda Bay. As Catholics, we visited the Mission Concepcion in San Antonio, and read books on Stephen F. Austin.
And, of course, we visited the site of the Alamo. I remember the Alamo!
But the most exciting event in Texas history is the Battle of San Jacinto. On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston and the vastly outnumbered "Texians" surprised Santa Ana during an afternoon siesta. Rumor has it that Santa Ana was in his tent with the "Yellow Rose of Texas" at the time, and when he heard the battle begin outside, he escaped and hid, wearing her clothing. It wasn`t until after his capture, when the other Mexican prisoners addressed Santa Ana as "El Presidente" that he was recognized.
On the San Jacinto Monument, now erected on the site of the battle, there is inscribed the following note:
"Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty."
In a discussion on the immigration riots of recent months, my philosophy professor said, completely seriously, "Well, I`ve noticed that most of the people who have a problem with immigration are conservatives from the American Southwest. Why don`t we just give it back to Mexico?"
As a daughter of Texas and a Southerner, I am used to hearing slurs directed at my home state and section. It seems to be one of the few forms of prejudice permissable on campus. I call the anti-Texas variant "Texism."
But my professor`s statement was not only inaccurate, it was treasonous.
I walked out and stomped around outside for a while to calm down.
On the other hand, this statement is an accurate reflection of university liberalism. And it doesn`t just affect the Southwest. For example, I have never heard anything other that criticism of the way the United States grew. I`ve never heard a defense of "Manifest Destiny." It`s all happening in a university near you. I have a feeling that even Texans are falling short in this battle.
The facts: Texas and the southwest were won by a rebellion after Santa Ana rescinded the Constitution of 1824 and asserted dictatorial control over the settlers there. It was not acquired through American conquest as some multiculturalists try to suggest. And as far as resident population is concerned, the Anglo-American "Texians" far outnumbered the Hispanic "Tejanos", who were never more than a minor presence.
Give it back? I don`t think so.
Athena Kerry (email her) recently graduated from a Catholic university somewhere in America.