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Smokey Briggs


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 votes.

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 history.

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:

Our View

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.

Your View

Coach Morse is an outstanding teacher

Dear Editor,
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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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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