Understanding the truth about nationalism and Texas nationhood, leads us to one destination – Texas Nationalism. And while we find the seeds of Texas Nationalism in our history, this modern expression of it is something new.
It seeks to learn lessons from our history, to glory and revel in it when it is good and to use it as a cautionary tale to avoid repeating past mistakes. Texas Nationalism today looks forward as much as back. It seeks to create a better future for Texas and embrace current trends in the context of common sense. It is, in and of itself, a paradox. It is at the same time old and new, past and future.
It encompasses both definitions of nationalism as it is a devotion to Texas and resistance to foreign domination. Texas Nationalism stokes the fire of the inherent love that Texans have for Texas and our culture. It stands to say that we are independent, both as a State and as a people and that we should look to ourselves for the solutions to the challenges that we face. Texans know best what's good for Texas. While we may stumble from time-to-time, the risk is ours alone and the rewards are a benefit to all.
Texas Nationalism is the expression of Sam Houston's statement that, "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may." It is the belief that we hold certain rights inviolate and that no man or set of men can take them away or infringe on them is any way. It is that old feeling of 1836 that government should be close to the people and that it should fear the people rather than the other way around.
While imperialistic aims over the centuries were repackaged as "nationalism" and used as an excuse to deny true nationalism and self-determination, the modern expression of nationalism is the true opposite. As we look across the Atlantic, the former home of such a repackaged nationalism, we are witnessing the rebirth of the same nationalism that is growing in Texas.
The 50 year push for European Pan-Nationalism is crumbling under the same forces that are driving Texas to reassert its independence. As the "one-size-fits-all" mentality plays victim to economic, social and political reality, the European Union is dying. Each nation of the EU, much like Texas, is reeling under intense internal pressure to resist the dilution of their unique national character. Much like the collapse of the Soviet Union only 20 years before, the economic triggers are there and will end in much the same result.
And on this side of the Atlantic stands Texas. Once again facing a government too many miles away and too disconnected from the people that it purports to represent, that does too much of what it shouldn't and too little of what it should. In its attempt to maintain control over what it sees as its dominion, the people of Texas are experiencing a reawakening of our national identity. We are reasserting our Texas Nationalism.
In the early 20th Century, Ireland was struggling for its independence. Never content to be the footstool of Britain, its people wanted the ability to forge their own destiny. To do so, they needed their independence. Irish Nationalism was already a well established fact. It was expressed in the written word, song and attitude. Much like Texas, the Irish, though under British domination, thought of themselves as a nation. This Irish Nationalism could no longer be contained or restrained and broke through during the Easter Rising of 1916. This uprising, though unsuccessful in its own right, started Ireland on the path to independence. It was shortly after this that politician and author, Terence McSwiney, wrote:
"Let us grow big with our cause. Shall we honour the flag we bear by a mean, apologetic front? No! Wherever it is down, lift it; wherever it is challenged, wave it; wherever it is high, salute it; wherever it is victorious, glorify and exult in it. At all times and forever be for it proud, passionate, persistent, jubilant, defiant; stirring hidden memories, kindling old fires, wakening the finer instincts of men, till all are one in the old spirit, the spirit that will not admit defeat, that has been voiced by thousands, that is noblest in Emmet's one line, setting the time for his epitaph: "When my country"--not if--but "when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth." It is no hypothesis; it is a certainty. There have been in every generation, and are in our own, men dull of apprehension and cold of heart, who could not believe this, but we believe it, we live in it: we know it. Yes, we know it, as Emmet knew it, and as it shall be seen to-morrow; and when the historian of to-morrow, seeing it accomplished, will write its history, he will not note the end with surprise."
This is nationalism in its purest form and it is this brand of nationalism that Texas is expressing today. We are proud of Texas. We embrace our past, present and the unwritten future. No matter the good or the bad, it is part of us and for that we are a better people. As McSwiney said, "we live in it." It is our home and safe harbor. It is the acknowledgement that without Texas Nationalism no other earthly cause is safe.
Texas is a nation. It is our nation and, as such, deserves our loyalty, attention and respect. Texas Nationalism is the expression of who we are, who we have been and who we can become. It is the fulfillment of the words of Sam Houston.
"Texas will again lift its head and stand among the nations."
Sam Houston, standing side-by-side with William Barret Travis and the countless others, who have given their lives to preserve our nation, with the people of the world who are exerting those same principles as witness, beckon us, the current generation of Texas Nationalists to take our place among the nations of the world.