Just over a week ago, I started my last project with Houston Parks and Recreation, working at the Lake Houston Park. This is my second project down in Houston, Texas, as I was here for my first round project back in November and December and will be finishing my year with AmeriCorps NCCC in the same city. While it is exciting to be back to where I began my service, I cant help but notice how Texas, the Lone Star State, stands out like no other.
(notice: This is a rant. If you do not agree with everything I say here, I respect your views, but I don’t really want to argue about it. If I offend you, I am not attacking anybody, I’m speaking against the idea that has I have seen present int he minds of many Texans.)
Look at the popular nickname for Texas, the Lone Star State. Just the idea that comes out of that statement is enough to make me cringe. I’ve heard many people state that Texas is better than everyone else because “Everything is Bigger in Texas!” or “We take care of our own.” The general opinion that I get from talking to people throughout this state is that Texas doesn’t need everyone else. They are better off on their own.
In their own constitution, they can break away from the United States and become their own independent country. I’ve heard many people boast this statement, but I wonder how long they would last without the help of Federal Programs, money and support (especially military). If they truly are better without the rest of the nation, why don’t they act upon this boast?
We, our AmeriCorps NCCC team, arrived a number of weeks late to our project because of our response to the tornadoes in St. Louis and in Joplin, MO. We were informed that when Hurricane Ike hit several years ago, Texans didn’t have to wait on FEMA or Federal Assistance, but started to “take care of their own”. despite Federal assistance taking just as long as it did in Katrina, they had their act together and did not receive any news coverage.
(There were many flaws that were in that statement that we kindly did not point out. Like the fact that Houston did not have a levee that broke, nor is it beneath sea level, nor is it within a couple of miles from the Gulf of Mexico.)
We, as a team, found it difficult and frustrating because several individuals basically told us that the work we were doing on disaster relief (and that AmeriCorps has done in the past) was not of importance because we missed what we were “supposed” to be doing.
Yes, we did not arrive to our project on the initial date that we were supposed to deploy, but the biggest responsibility for the NCCC is Disaster Relief. When Natural or Man-made disaster strikes, that incident becomes our fist priority. Kids camps, environmental work, and everything else comes second.
The problem with Texas isn’t the people, it’s the superiority complex that the state gives them.
In Joplin, I worked side by side with members of the Texas Environmental Corps, members of AmeriCorps that have been working throughout the state of Texas doing invasive species removal and disaster response. Unlike many Texans, they have been the only ones that do not seem to have a superiority complex.
Yes, the community of Texas is great, but it would be better if it stopped looking inwards on itself and started focusing outward to how it can help make this nation greater than what it currently is.
God Bless and PEACE