Arkansan by circumstance says ‘Don’t mess with Texas’

Andy Smith

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As a proud Texans who happens to be living in Arkadelphia due to circumstance, when I saw the column in the paper on September 5 with the title “A Few Reasons Why I Hate Texans,” to say that my attention had been seized is putting it lightly. I think the term “call to arms” is a bit extreme in this situation, but I was immediately stricken with the urge to reply to such a diatribe. I could go off on “A Few Reasons Why I Hate Arkansans,” but since “hate” is a very strong word, and everything is bigger in Texas, including our hearts (and yes, those too), I decided to take the high road and merely reply to a few of the point raised by Mr. Phelps in his last article.

1. “Have you ever noticed how on the interstate or any given highway, most Texans drive twice as fast as normal people?” Firstly, let me say that I appreciate you separating Texans from “normal people.” I personally view it as a compliment. Moving on, maybe the reason why Texans habitually drive faster is because there is frequently less construction on our highways. Seriously, don’t get me started on the Arkansas stretch of I-30; men have gone to work and subsequently retired without ever moving off of the Arkansas stretch of I-30. Mr. Phelps also mentioned that most Texans he sees are either speeding or driving ridiculously slow. The slow drivers are our elderly, they’re here because we kicked them all out; considers your highways our retirement homes.

2. Mr. Phelps made a pair of statements to the tunes of “Why are so many Texans in Arkansas?” and “Why are so many Texans going to college in Arkansas?” Mr. Phelps then reasons that it is either because the education establishments are so much better here (chuckle) or because even tuition is bigger in Texas. I consider these two phenomena concerning Texans in Arkansas to be related. Yes, tuition for a halfway-decent school is bigger in Texas as well. I myself was registered to attend UT at Austin, but the housing cost alone was more than the total cost of coming to Henderson. But tuition isn’t the only thing that’s bigger in Texas, we also have a bigger population, average ACT score, average SAT score, and graduation rates in both high schools and colleges. Furthermore, there is a higher percentage of out-of-state college students in Texas than there is in Arkansas. In short, Texas has the means to be a little more picky with where to put their scholarship money, so the less fortunate of us Texans are forced to cross the might Red River to go to college.

3. “Since Texans have dubbed their state the Lone Star State, I am proposing they completely break away from the rest of the U.S. and become an independent country.” You, and most Texans. Texas seceding from the union has been proposed on the floor of the Texas house of representatives at least once a year since we joined the union (more than twice has it then passed on to the senate floor). Furthermore, being as how we are the only state that entered the union as an independent country, we are the only allowed to leave the union. Texas can legally secede from the United States of America with a unanimous vote by all Texans. There are still a couple of hold-outs in Elmo, Texas though. We’ll change their mind eventually.

4. “I grin when I see someone sporting a hat with an upside-down Texas Longhorns logo.” Ahhh, Mr. Phelps, jealousy is a fickle mistress. I understand it though, you have every reason to be jealous of the Longhorns. What can I say? Six-time national baseball champions. Defending national football champions. They’re always major competitors in track & field and swimming. Not to mention that their symphonic band has a Grammy. Fair enough, we have work to be done in the basketball department, but we can’t dominate everything, it just wouldn’t fair.

5. Mr. Phelps raise the point that people from our bigger cities, specifically Houston and Dallas, have “Texas-sized” egos. This is one of the few places where Mr. Phelps and I agree. Houston is a waste of space. I don’t think that the Astros having one good season every twelve years is a good enough reason to keep it around. But as far as people from the big cities having big egos concerning their state, frankly that’s every big city. People in New York City hate New Jersey, even though the city barely breaks when getting into New Jersey, and Jersey residents feel the exact same way about New Yorkers. And have you seen a Michael Moore movie lately? He acts like Michigan, and specifically Flint, are the be-all and end-all of the American civilization. The bottom line is, most people are proud of where they’re from, and if they’re not, we didn’t want them anyway.

6. Mr. Phelps wraps up his paper by asking Texans “not to drag me down a gravel [road] to the back of a pickup truck” because it has “happened in Texas before.” I don’t get upset easily but that part was revolting. Racism and hate crime is just as alive in Arkansas as it is in Texas. I don’t see why you try to paint Texas as some kind of hotbed for racial crime because of one high-profile incident. The Matthew Shepard murder happened in Wyoming of all places and I don’t see you imploring them not to tie you to a barbed wire fence and beat you senseless. Of course, I guess since I might have insulted some Arkansans, I might need to beg you not to tie me to a mattress, raping me and choking me over a period of several hours because that happened in Arkansas before. And if you want to talk profiling, don’t even get me started on the West Memphis Three. In closing, DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!!!