Texas Ugly; Texas Beautiful: An Essay under Construction
Texas is a land of extraordinary contrasts, and I feel fortunate to count myself a native. Few states in the Union offer such a startling variety of natural landscapes: piney woods mixed with vast hardwood forests in the east; cross-timbers and blackland prairies in the center; the high plains of the Llano Estacado to the north; beautiful spring fed streams and magical vistas of the Texas Hill Country; vast gulf prairies along the coast; and finally, the harsh beauty of the Chihuahua desert in the western Trans-Pecos. Positioned along the seam between the vast Hispanic world to the south and the powerful Anglo world to the north, Texas has always stood at a crossroads and the peoples of Texas have always been as diverse as its variegated landscape, a colorful tapestry of many strands. The interaction of these various strands has been wonderfully enriching, the basis of so much that is good, but also the root of much bloodshed and strife. Where the sun shines the brightest, the shadows are often the darkest, and so it is with Texas. This essay contrasts the bright with the dark, and will argue that much of what is dark about Texas concentrates, as if distilled, in the movement known as the Tea Party, while most of what is bright resides in what the Tea Party opposes.