Bud Kennedy

Texas and the U.S.: 150 years of happiness together, sort of

The formal order on June 19, 1865, commanding Texans to free their slaves.
The formal order on June 19, 1865, commanding Texans to free their slaves. NewsBank archives

Look, I hate to break this to the pajama patriots.

But the U.S. already took over Texas.

Happened June 19, 1865. We’re coming up on the 150th anniversary.

We call it Juneteenth.

Two months after the Confederate Army surrendered, U.S. Army Gen. Gordon Granger came ashore at Galveston and declared the slaves freed. He started giving Texans orders, and a few have never quite gotten over it.

There seems to be some confusion today over whether Texas is part of the United States.

There must be, or I wouldn’t see headlines like this one Thursday: “No Texas Takeover Planned.”

In Washington, according to The Associated Press, Defense Secretary Ash Carter “flatly denied that a U.S. military exercise is part of a hostile takeover.”

Or maybe I’m the one who’s confused.

Why would a U.S. military exercise be feared as “hostile”?

Honestly, folks: We’ve got violent extremists from Arizona and drug cartels from South America, and you’re worried about the Green Berets?

Who is so paranoid, so way-out, so zany that they’re worried about a special ops drill?

Wait a minute.

Chuck Norris?

Yes, I know about Gov. Greg Abbott. He said he was sending the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the drill to protect Texas’ “safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties.”

But Norris, 75, a Navasota rancher and Dallas voter, is even more worried.

In his syndicated column, he wrote that his big concern is “those who are pulling the strings … back in Washington.”

“If Washington wants to cool the embers of controversy, then it should quit stoking the fire,” he wrote, complaining that the exercise comes “too near to my ranch’s backdoor.”

In other words, Chuck Norris is saying, “Not in my back yard.”

On the other hand, our men and women in Congress have stuck up proudly for the military.

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, called worrying “silly,” and Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, wrote that rumors of martial law are “entirely false.”

And then there’s U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, the pride of East Texas.

“Patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned,” he wrote in a statement, because of the “contempt and antipathy for the true patriots or even Christian saints.”

Gohmert wrote that he’s “appalled” that a practice exercise map labeled parts of Texas as “hostile,” even though officials have explained that the drill simulates landings in enemy territory.

He blames the fears on President Barack Obama, who as far as I know poses no threat to Tyler.

It’s given the rest of the U.S. a lot of laughs this week. The Daily Show joked about “Lone Star lunatics,” and The New Yorker published a satirical report, “Desperate Residents of Austin Completely Surrounded by Texas.”

Even Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price had to announce Tuesday that a simple federal grant does not mean “federalization” of city police: “We are not giving up control.”

For the 150th anniversary of Texas’ return to the U.S., liberty and freedom for all, I have a slogan to suggest:

“Trying for 151.”

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @BudKennedy