Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Tuesday, March 6, 2001
Texas Independence Day _ a day for all Texans
Last Friday was Texas Independence Day _ the day that the Texas Declaration
of Independence was adopted at the town of Washington, located on the Brazos
River, and known in history books as Washington on the Brazos.
There are many parallels to Texas' revolutionary birth and the United
States' violent beginnings.
The beginnings of both, for better or worse, have been glorified beyond
reality, and reality was good enough.
But neither was quite the "good verses evil" struggle portrayed in many
8th grade history books.
In America, the cry of taxation without representation was a pretext.
Even with full representation, the taxes Americans protested would have been
passed. With complete representation, America would have had only a few votes
in the English Parliament and the taxes would have passed over their few
The cry should have been, "We're getting taxed more than everybody else,
and you are making rules we don't like, and we are fighting mad."
But that doesn't rhyme. Taxation without representation is catchier.
Texans, both from Mexico and the United States, found themselves in similar
circumstances in 1836. Mexico was proving to be a tyrannical master. And
Mexican officials had rightly perceived that an influx of Americans was creating
a northern state with stronger ties to the United States than Mexico.
Bumbling, iron-fisted bureaucratic edicts and actions convinced many Texans,
American and Mexican, that they would be better off free of Mexico's tyranny.
And the war was on.
It was of course, a war for freedom. Mexico, like England, was not a poster
child for human rights and free living. Not the kind of freedom that the
wilderness bred into settlers, and the kind we take for granted today. It
was a just cause. One worth fighting and dying for.
At San Jacinto, the guys fighting for freedom under Sam Houston won and
Texas was born.
That was a good thing.
As Texas' population becomes more and more Hispanic, it is easy to try
to ignore Texas history for fear of hurting feelings.
I think that is pretty short sighted and also a little uppity on the part
of the over-sensitive types.
Neither Caucasians nor Hispanics have anything to be ashamed of, just
as Englishmen fighting in the Revolutionary War had nothing to be ashamed
of. Some fought on both sides, for various reasons, noble and ignoble. As
did Germans, Irishmen, Scots, and Spaniards.
History has a knack for throwing good, decent men into conflict with each
other. It seems to be part of the human condition.
Plenty of children born of the King's soldiers later immigrated to the
same United States their fathers and grandfathers fought against.
They became Americans, proud of the history of their country.
If you are a Texan, your side won that day in San Jacinto, no matter where
your family hales from, or when they came to Texas.
Texans ought to do a better job of celebrating this important day in their
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
Bush needs to veto Congress' spending habit
President Bush is promising to veto any bills increasing Congress' discretionary
spending by more than the four percent he proposed in his budget.
Discretionary spending accounts for almost every dollar Congress spends
except for benefits paid out under Medicare and Social Security.
According to Associated Press reports, Congress has inflated its budget
by an average of 6 percent each year for the last three years of the Clinton
administration, and last year, spending grew by eight-and-a-half percent.
Considering the rate of inflation for the past decade, four percent is
too much of an increase. Spending ought to be decreasing.
Most Americans manage to get buy on annual pay raises of less than three
percent. The politicians in Washington ought to be able to do the same.
Coach Morse is an outstanding teacher
I have been a teacher at Pecos High School for approximately twenty-two years,
and consistently year after year I have seen controversy involving
the athletic program. This is due to a basic fact of life. Teenagers
make mistakes — it is the nature of the beast. Most of our coaches
look only at punishing students to the point of banishing them from
the one thing that could help them to rebuild their character and self-esteem.
As in this case, punishment doled out by a coach can be severe but
at the same time allow the student to learn and grow intellectually
from the experience.
Of all of the coaches at PHS, Terri Morse is the only one that I have
seen to coach by example and set a truly high standard for her athletes.
When faced with the possibility of moving to an inferior El Paso district,
she is the only coach to petition successfully to stay in the stricter, more
competitive district. She has consistently put together a winning program,
and what is more important, she sincerely cares about her students.
Recently, Coach Morse was given a directive by administration to make
a difficult judgment. After thoroughly researching the matter, she made her
decision. At that point, administration and her coaching colleagues should
have stood behind her and given her their support. They did not. And that
is the true pity in this whole sordid affair. I and most of the colleagues
that I have talked to support and admire Coach Morse for her display of character
in the face of adversity. She is truly an outstanding teacher, and we are
lucky to have her.
Written with full support of: Priss McNutt, Joan Capshaw,
Jamie A. Crisp, Judy Holland, Angela Elliott, Nancy Russell, Walter
Holland, Jeanine Ivy, Debra Armstrong
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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