"Don’t mess with Texas" won a national advertising slogan contest today, beating out 25 other slogans such as Nike’s "Just do it" and the Ad Council’s "Friends don’t let friends drive drunk."
As a Texan, I’ve always loved that slogan, especially in conjunction with the state’s official motto: "Friendship." Together, the two reflect the unique "Texas attitude": Come on down, sit a while, put your feet up and we’ll feed you, take you in, help you out anyway we can. But don’t go taking advantage of our good-natured generosity or you’ll wish you hadn’t.
That combination of opened-armed welcoming and stubborn stand-your-ground self-protectiveness has been demonstrated countless times: To the influx of northerners and west coasters who periodically move to our cities when their high jobless rates and taxes drive them out of their native lands — and then try to make us get rid of our guns, institute more welfare, and otherwise change our laws and our traditions to suit them. To the small percentage of the Katrina victims who, after we showed an outpouring of sympathy and money and aid and assistance, a year later threatened to increase violence in our cities if their governmental assistance was discontinued.
A transplanted Yankee friend of mine who still doesn’t quite "get" what we’re about recently complained that "all of the political campaigns around here claim to be running on Texas values, whatever that is."
My response: Native Texans, and those foreigners (transplanted Californians and Northeasterners) who have fully assimilated — like my husband, who through no fault of his own was born in Los Angeles but got here as soon as he could — know exactly what Texas values are.
But for those who don’t understand, Texas values are summed up pretty well by those two phrases, which on the surface may seem contradictory but actually work quite well together. We’re the friendship state. Don’t mess with us.
Because we will defend what’s ours. We’re one of the few states with laws that give us the right to use deadly force to protect not just our lives, but our property. We’re the ones who fought the battle of the Alamo, taking a stand against overwhelming odds, defiant to the end. We may not do things like everyone else, but we pretty much like things the way they are. Don’t mess with Texas values, and we’ll always be your friend.