The supe­ri­ority of Texas has long been accepted as a fact by those fit to judge. And of course, the only such people are Texans.

I have several acquain­tances who, when trav­eling in Europe, prefer to identify them­selves as Texans rather than Amer­icans. Upon their returns, they tell me that far from being treated as annoying, arrogant tourists, they became the center of attention instead.

You’d be right to think I am pur­pose­fully being con­fronta­tional. Any Texan worth his salt who, when trav­eling outside the Promised Land, doesn’t brag about his state commits a major crime. Or does he?

Though a vast majority of Amer­icans can’t stand Texas arro­gance, it appears that the fact of the state’s greatness has gained a tacit admit­tance. That’s right, every day a thousand Amer­icans move to Texas. When com­bined with an influx of immi­gration from the nation’s southern neighbor, these numbers have caused a 25 percent jump in the state’s pop­u­lation since 2000.

I truly am proud of this fact, but am in no way happy about it. Actually, the thought only brings sadness.

The state’s size, former inde­pen­dence, oil booms, and cowboy ide­al­ization have not only fos­tered a pro­found sense of state pride but have allowed a unique culture to flower.

But Texas culture is under a sus­tained assault. Driving through the state, I’ve often noted signs of change. Out-of-state restaurant chains opening up, Cal­i­fornia-style suburbs being built, and class­rooms in which only half of the stu­dents are native Texans. Every­where I see culture rot.

I find it dis­con­certing that a culture which has pro­duced a great business and social climate is attracting out-of-staters who in turn are changing this culture into an amalgam of the very ones from which they flee.

The business and pop­u­lation boom has led to some great devel­op­ments, mind you, Austin’s bur­geoning film and music scene among them. But is it worth it if in fifty years Texas culture resembles that of Cal­i­fornia?

There are several means by which Texans are fighting to pre­serve their culture. They have made it mandatory that all stu­dents take two full years of Texas History, a policy fol­lowed by most private schools as well. In addition, out-of-state college stu­dents are required to take a semester of Texas History. Stu­dents are also required to say a Pledge of Alle­giance to the Texas flag after they say the American one. Most out-of-state parents are sur­prised at the Texas loyalty dis­played by their children. Indeed our indoc­tri­nation tech­niques are par excel­lence.

Despite its size, the state largely remains unified in sharing Texas culture. In my mind, part of this stems from the large amount of    intrastate trav­eling Texans do, as well as their out­going and hos­pitable nature toward each other.

I hold fond mem­ories from high school when, after a long week, my friends and I would hop into one of our cars and make the five-hour drive to San Antonio for the weekend. Or, on Senior Skip days, driving to the ocean where we’d park on the beach and stay till evening. I don’t remember ever being asked to chip in for gas when in another’s vehicle.

As of the latest census only Cal­i­fornia, Arizona, Col­orado, and Florida have a lower per­centage of native-born inhab­i­tants than Texas.

This sta­tistic is not a cause for worry in-and-of itself. However, the fact that most of the new­comers regard state pride as quaint or ridiculous rep­re­sents a har­binger of things to come.

State pride should be encouraged in every state. I feel as if the largest neg­ative effect of the Civil War was to make the practice of state pride an act of impro­priety. The Fed­er­alism designed by the founding fathers hinged on the exis­tence of such pride. It is easy to trace the decline of state pride with the decay of our con­sti­tu­tional system. The problem escaping most con­cerned cit­izens is that electing con­ser­v­ative Repub­licans won’t prove suf­fi­cient to change the nation’s tra­jectory.