Thursday, March 7, 2019

Remembering the Past to Appreciate What We Have

image from Rep. Valoree Swanson's facebook page

This is the season for Texas history. March 2, 1836, was the signing of Texas Declaration of independence from Mexico. While that was going on, a tiny force was holding out against an overwhelmingly large Mexican army—for thirteen days—at the Alamo, which finally fell on March 6th. While things were looking pretty bleak, it was only a little over a month later, April 21st, at the Battle of San Jacinto, that Texas won its war for independence.

Last Saturday I played music as part of the festivities at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. That location is about halfway between us and the grandkids, so we talked their parents into bringing them. When I was done playing, we still had some look around time, and took a few photos.

Washington-on-the-Brazos, where Texas declared independence from Mexico
The building, at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, was a lot more rough frontier than the original US colonists signed their declaration.

re-enactors of the signing

Re-enactors gave us an idea of the people who signed the Texas Declaration. Weather was good, but chilly. It's unpredictable this time of year. The signers in 1836 did it as quickly as they could, to get out of that drafty building.

inside the building where the Texas Declaration was signed

They had a good model for a Declaration of Independence, since they had the US as a model.

Grandddaughter Little PS 1

The kids got to make things: a cornhusk doll, some tooled leather.

demonstrating an old-time potter's wheel

We got to watch a potter at work.

demonstrating an old-time weaving loom

And a weaver.

I’m amazed at the ingenuity of what people figured out to do before electricity. The machines are involved and detailed, but foot-powered.

a protestor

I took a picture of this guy because of his costume and swinging the flag. But then I heard what he was saying. He was located in a protest zone, declaring his First Amendment right to express his views. All good. But his view was that Mexicans had been mistreated here in Texas, and it was their land. I think he stopped short of saying we ought to give it back; I didn't keep listening.

But this is curious. He’s at the place where Texans—including both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking—fought and won a war for independence from Mexico, because their dictator, Santa Anna, had taken away their rights, and all efforts to peacefully seek redress were thwarted. Stephen F. Austin had spent 18 months imprisoned, without charges, just for seeking a peaceful solution. He returned to Texas saying the only option left was war.

This painting of the Battle of San Jacinto
hangs in the Texas Capitol, but I got this image from

After the Battle of San Jacinto, a brief and decisive victory for Texas, which included capturing Santa Anna, Texas was free of that tyranny. It’s the same way the United States became free from the tyranny of the British king following the Revolutionary War. The argument to give Texas back to Mexico makes no more sense than giving back the thirteen original American colonies to Britain. Once a war is fought for freedom, you don’t give your land back just to be nice.

It’s ironic that this man was making his argument in a place made safe for him to make it—because we won freedom from tyranny. And he’s complaining about that?

Our US Constitution is the best document ever created for allowing people to have freedom, prosperity, and civilization.

This is a good time to be alive. Innovation that has come out of a free market over the past couple of centuries is phenomenal. We live in relative peace. People all over the world are now more likely to have their basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing met than at any time in history.
It’s good to take a look at history now and then to help us appreciate how very good things are in the present.

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