Texas and its most sacred and iconic historical sites — like the Alamo — are under constant attack by patronizing pseudo-intellectuals who only seem to care about history when it involves blind and uncritical acceptance of “alternative facts” about our state’s past.
Historians now “know” that the Lone Star State (along with the entire American Southwest) is built on land “stolen” from Mexico, that Jim Bowie was a staggering drunk and that Davy Crockett “may” have surrendered to the Mexican Army instead of being killed in action swinging “Old Betsy.”
For some, these “alternative facts” make the Alamo a symbol of racism and imperialism that should be “re-imagined,” at least according to the Texas Land Office.
That’s what the “Reimagining the Alamo” project directed and supervised by political neophyte and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is all about.
The site will no longer be known as the place where Texas fought for its freedom. As the Reimagine the Alamo “master plan” explains, the rationale for the Texas revolution is morally equivalent to historic Mexican oppression, and time should also be shared with Franciscan friars and Native Americans.
“Today, the site is known around the world as the Alamo, where the renowned Battle was fought in 1836. Dozens of books have been written and epic movies produced about this pivotal event focusing on … the values they fought for, and … how the Texas Revolution ultimately shaped the geopolitical structure of the Americas.”
It melts in the mouth like butter, does it not? So sterile. “I believe, that you believe,” is an expression traditionally used when dismissing someone’s beliefs as crazy. The words chosen by the “Reimagine” master plan to describe, and then immediately sideline, the Battle of the Alamo carry the same sting of patronizing disdain.
When asked, “Why not restore the Alamo to its 1836 appearance?” the answer from Alamo chief planner George Skarmeas was, “The events of 1836 were just one small chapter in 10,000 years of history.”
“While the 1836 Battle of the Alamo is the seminal event that shaped the world as we know it today, all the layers of history at the site played a significant role. …All of these layers of history need to be understood and presented with clarity.”
This is a strawman issue designed as a rationale for diminishing or removing time-honored Texas history. In fact, anyone who has toured the Alamo knows that there is already comprehensive attention paid to the part played by other groups in the Alamo’s history.
It gets worse. The master plan also calls for removing and relocating the “Cenotaph,” the tall marble memorial to those who died in the Battle of the Alamo:
“Carefully disassemble the structure and conserve all the marble sections in a controlled environment,” the plan reads. “Provide a new structure [non – corrosive assembly instead of reinforced concrete],” it continues.
It’s always best to respect a monument by tearing it apart and moving it somewhere else.
“Several potential locations were considered. The proposed location … will provide appropriate context and symbolism for the structure.”
To the contrary, the Alamo provides appropriate context and symbolism for the structure — because it is where the men memorialized by the Cenotaph fought and died.
When the “reimagining” is complete, it can be said without exaggeration that nothing of the famous battle or the 189 men who sacrificed their lives will be visible to visitors of the historic site. Texans who wish to honor the dead, and their stand for Texas independence, or young men wishing to see Jim Bowie’s knife and Col. Travis’s letter, will have to go across the street and into a basement where the real story of the Alamo is to be stuffed away like yesterday’s garbage. (RELATED: Read The Response To This Op-Ed In The American Thinker)
Out of sight, out of mind, is the overarching worldview of the far-left, self-hating guilt-mongers tearing down history in cities all over the U.S.
The young commissioner is demanding that Texas embrace a more “compassionate” Alamo, which involves virtually tearing it down, and turning it into a glorified shopping mall, replacing Jim Bowie’s knife and other artifacts with displays promoting white guilt and shame.
Bush began his quest to “make the Alamo Mexican again” by stealing nearly 30,000 historical Alamo artifacts from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. What was he going to do with them? If it’s anything like what is intended for the items destined for the basement “museum,” Texas citizens should be worried. He was sued, and gave the artifacts back.
The False Historical Assumptions Behind Reimagining The Alamo
Before the Alamo is forever changed, it should be asked: are the assumptions guiding the activities of Reimagine the Alamo even factually correct? In short, the answer is “no.”
In a June, 2002, Zogby International Poll, 58 percent of Mexicans surveyed agreed that the “territory of the United States Southwest belongs to Mexico.”
As to the premise that America sits on “stolen land,” let the record show that the U.S. did acquire territory that was not originally its own — by purchasing it. All of the land from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean was purchased, and for a lot of money.
The U.S. purchased Texas by clearing all of Mexico’s debt, and paid $15 million for California and New Mexico. It would later pay a further $10 million for South Arizona and the New Mexico border, the highest price ever paid-per-acre by the U.S. for land.
In total, America paid Mexico $35 million for the land it acquired. A few years later, Santa Anna would sell Mesilla Valley to the U.S. for another $10 million, permitting construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
If the American Southwest is “stolen” land, maybe Mexico should return our money, adjusted for inflation, plus interest.
In 1821, Mexican authorities opened Texas for settlement. Land-hungry settlers poured in. The only two conditions imposed on the settlers were conversion to Catholicism and fidelity to Mexico. As part of the bargain, Mexicans agreed to the duty-free import of many necessities needed for survival on the new frontier. A huge amount of land was ceded to settle three hundred families under the leadership of Stephen F. Austin, who ran his colony from 1821 until 1834.
The only problem? Mexico had buyer’s remorse.
he Mexican government became “xenophobic,” and violated the agreement, imposing prohibitive taxes on necessities, and quartering troops among the populace to ensure obedience.
Nothing infuriates Americans more than taxation without representation and the quartering of troops among civilians.
Austin lobbied Mexico for representation in the legislature, due to the taxes. For requesting representation, Austin was imprisoned.
Texans, outraged at their treatment by the Mexican government, rose up in arms against the injustice. Without external assistance, which was not as forthcoming as many hoped, it appeared the revolution was doomed to failure.
In one of the most beautiful and selfless acts of sacrifice in American history, 189 men gave their lives at the Alamo, holding out against the entire Mexican Army, then under the command of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
Later, the Texan’s victory at San Jacinto turned the tide, and Santa Anna signed the Treaty of Velasco, granting Texas its independence.
Let’s remember the Alamo, by not desecrating it and turning it into a strip center.
John Griffing is formerly Associate Editor for The Daily Caller News Foundation. His interview credits include Fortune 500 executives, as well as key public officials. He is also featured on Fox, RT, Newsmax TV and numerous radio programs.
Views expressed in op-eds are not the views of The Daily Caller.