Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dallas is for Friends

Texas has a motto, my friends, and that motto is: Friendship.

That's it. No long statements about rights or liberties. Nothing pithy or anachronistic. No latin trying to class up the joint. No, the official state motto of Texas is "Friendship." Which means the signs along the highway that read "Drive Friendlythe Texan Way" are kind of an inside joke for fourth graders and the rest of us who keep up on official state things and wink at the curiously definitional quality of this roadside imperative. And while I find it kind of cool that our motto is in fact a translation, I can barely stand the irony that the Hasinai people gave us the Caddoan word táyshaʼ, meaning friends or allies, and in return we took the word and used it to name the land we then took from them and all their neighbors--not really a friendly thing to do at all.  

We may feel a little contrition about that. Which would explain why a place so hip that it has adopted "Don't Mess With Texas" as its official anti-littering campaign, is not so bold as to make known its otherwise enviable status as the BFF state.

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