Texas is adored by some, yet despised by most. When the word is mentioned, people have an immediate reaction to it. This is the second most populated state in the nation; the first is California, and the change in demographics is quickly helping the state evolve. This state is big, the second largest state, too; the first is Alaska, yet it also emits more than twice as much greenhouse-gas as most other states.
People adore it because Texas gave the world Dell computers, Whole Foods, silicon breast implants, the Snickers bar, the frozen margarita, Fritos, Dr. Pepper, Liquid Paper, Six Flags amusement parks, chili and the Chili’s restaurant chain. People despise it because it has a lot of heat, mullets, politicians that say outrageous things often, and because the state has freer gun laws and threatens to secede whenever legislation does not go the way of its legislators.
Adored by some, despised by most, some things commonly unknown about Texas is that state buildings fly six flags; these include the Spanish, French, Mexican, Republic of Texas, United States, and the Confederacy flags (which are the flags representing each of the previous ‘rulers’ during its history). Something else less well-known is that the largest natural disaster to occur on U.S. soil, a category four hurricane, hit Galveston in 1900. Two presidents were born here, President Eisenhower and President Johnson, but it was President Bush and President W. Bush who made their careers in Texas.
The lone-star republic is a business friendly state that has limited regulations, and is gaining a lot of companies coming from California and other neighboring states. Some of the challenges this state faces is reducing economic and educational disparity among its residents. “A rising tide lifts all boats” and that is certainly the hope for Texas where an aging Anglo population will retire, leaving the largest demographic of the working age population in the job sector – Latinos. In an ideal world, Latinos would have a good level of education to promote prosperity for themselves, their families and the Texan economy that will fund the support system for retired seniors. Currently though, the state is ranked second to last with a population of 25-year-olds with a high school degree of only 77.8 percent.
Two more potentially upcoming challenges for the big state are environmentally related. The first challenge is water. Similarly to California, the state has been in a severe drought which is requiring a lot of attention to developing and, most importantly, funding several solutions including desalination plants and disposal wells. A second concern for the state is the diminishing reliance of Americans on gasoline. In a country where Americans are verbally encouraged to move away from the use of oil for environmental reasons, yet so many of the items consumed use oil, it is questionable how quickly national habits will change. The electric vehicle, hybrids, and cell-fuel powered cars are a reality but how long will it be until they are a majority, and how will this affect oil consumption and demand and ultimately Texas’ bottom line is everyone’s question.
It is believed that although no Republican has lost a presidential race in this state since 1976, in the future along with the change in demographics to a strong Mexican-American population (a majority by 2020) and an aging Anglo population, the lone-star state could turn blue. Texas, adored by some, despised by most only leaves two attitudes that are incompatible.
By Olivia Uribe-Mutal
Edited by Chanel van der Woodsen
History.Com – 9 Things You May Not Know About Texas
USA Love List – Texas
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas- The Changing Face of Texas
State Impact – Here Are 5 Challenges to Texas Water That Might Surprise You
Image Courtesy of Ed Schipul’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License