Nobody’s taking over the Alamo

Posted Friday, Nov. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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World tourists know what they’ll find at a United Nations World Heritage Site.

The list of UN heritage sites includes only the world’s most important landmarks: the Tower of London, the banks of the Seine in Paris, the plaza in Mexico City.

In the United States, the list of UN-designated sites includes the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon and Independence Hall.

That is why it was so absurd this week when an Austin radio entertainer said the UN might be “taking over” the Alamo, and just as absurd when a serious Texas political candidate responded.

Radio show Alex Jones presents a program for conspiracy hobbyists with content that is sometimes news-based, sometimes not, but always presented in campy, over-the-top mock alarm.

This week, on the heels of a recent gun-rights rally at the Alamo, Jones’ show website headlined as if serious: “United Nations to Take Over the Alamo.”

Breathlessly, Jones’ website went on to warn that if the Alamo became a World Heritage Site, the UN might “follow Santa Anna’s dictatorial role.”

The reference is to Mexican general and former President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, victorious at the 1836 Battle of the Alamo but ultimately a loser to Texans and Tejanos fighting for independence.

The city of San Antonio, which owns Alamo Plaza but not the mission itself, has been working to win United Nations Heritage Site designation for the Alamo and the city’s four other colonial missions dating back to Spain’s colonial era and the 131-year history of Spanish Texas.

Generally, designation as a world historic attraction is good for San Antonio and good for Texas, regardless what comedy and entertainment hosts think.

Then, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, one of four candidates jockeying atop the campaign for lieutenant governor, felt driven to issue a press statement, pounding his chest as if he were guarding the Alamo himself.

Patterson’s office, which governs the mission, issued a melodramatic statement headlined, “Alamo will not go under UN control.”

Instead of welcoming the UN designation, Patterson’s General Land Office published with taxpayer resources: “The Alamo is not being turned over to the United Nations.

“Responding to a media report that the UN flag will fly over the Alamo, Patterson responded bluntly: ‘Horse hockey.’ ”

He had that part right.

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