Return to the Alamo: Please don’t gag the Daughters (Whose side am I on anyway?).

Kathleen Carter. Karen Thompson. You go, girls! Speak your mind.

According to Ken Herman in the Austin Statesman, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is attempting to force these leaders of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to bite their tongues:

…Patterson banned Daughters of the Republic of Texas officials from talking to reporters about the Alamo without his agency’s approval. “Information released without prior knowledge and express approval of the GLO may be grounds for immediate contract termination,” says his new rule.

Now those are fighting words.

Commissioner Patterson, you are new at your job. Yes, I know you have been Land Commissioner for a decade, but you are newly arrived at the Alamo. Yes, I know the Sons of the Republic of Texas deemed you a Knight of San Jacinto and you represented the county that includes the soaring monument on the battleground. But having that giant erection in your backyard must have gone to your head.

The Alamo is different. As San Antonians first and Texans second, we regard fighting about the Alamo as a sacred right. We have been fighting publicly about it since 1836, and no one in Austin can quash those afflicted with severe cases of Alamobsession.

Yes, running a dictatorship is easier than a democracy, but the Daughters themselves already tried that approach. Some of the very people Commissioner Patterson wants to silence attempted to gag dissension among their own siblings. Without success. Fortunately for Texas. If Daughters were not so persistently outspoken, the General Land Office would not be in charge of the Alamo today.

Aside from supporting their right to free speech, my agreement with the Daughters probably pretty much stops there. Although, I never thought the Daughters would call trump with the double-edged Native American card.

The Alamo Always Trumps
1936 Texas Centennial No 5, “The Alamo always Trumps,” digital collage by Gayle Brennan Spencer, Visit http://postcardssanantonio.com.

Again, from Herman’s column in the Statesman:

…Daughters’ President General Karen R. Thompson said her organization “strongly” objects to the change. “The Alamo grounds are considered sacred, not only because 189 men died in battle on March 6, 1836, but because the remains of Native Americans are buried and entombed in the complex property,” she said in a statement.

The Daughters and the descendants of the original Native Americans whose labors contributed to the ancient mission’s walls are rarely on the same page. But adversity calls for uniting all underdogs.

And unite against what common enemy?, you might ask if you make it this far into this post.

“Hooch,” as Carter terms it. If you somehow missed this story affecting the lives of all Texans, catch up by reading Scott Huddleston’s “Hold the ‘Hooch’” in the San Antonio Express-News. The Land Commissioner has proposed alcohol could be served to those renting out Alamo Hall, not the Alamo itself, for special events.

Yes, the painful specter of prohibition raises its head once again. The leadership of the Daughters evidently thinks nothing stronger than apple cider should be raised in toasts anywhere near the Alamo.

Apple cider? What would Davey say?

While I’m willing to accept William Barrett Travis might have been a teetotaler, what about the rest of the guys?

Taking a lead of freedom of revision of history from the Texas State Board of Education and accepting Travis did indeed draw a line in the sand….  If Travis asked how many men wanted to be forced to convert to Catholicism, many men at the Alamo would have leapt to join him for the promise of freedom of religion.

If Travis asked who wants to continue to ride deep into the heart of Coahuila every time you want to conduct official business, not many at the Alamo would have stayed on the side of Mexico. That was a major inconvenience.

But, on the other hand, if Travis had drawn a line and said you can drink alcohol on the Mexican side but my side is dry? Travis might have found himself pretty lonely.

Free speech I’m all for preserving, so the Daughters get my backing on that issue. But keeping Alamo Hall, which was off the battle site, dry? Not worth fighting for.

This is not an “Alamoment.” Seems as though both the Daughters and the Commissioner should pick their battles more carefully. They should be forging a strong partnership, not tearing it asunder.

What would Davey say? Remaining in the revisionist vein of amateur historians, I think he gladly would raise a glass of something hard:

Salud, amor, pesetas y tiempo para disfrutarlos.

Alamoment: How the Daughters Felt on Receiving Audit Request

Alamoment

The instant when you realize that you are about to be completely and monumentally screwed.

Love this great word coined by a new blog, Portmanteau: The Compoundium, self-described as the:

compilation of several portmanteaus, or “blend[s] of two (or more) words or morphemes and their meanings into one new word.” (Wikipedia)

The Compoundium describes that special Alamoment feeling:

A bright, crisp morning greeted James Whitesides (not to be confused with the Irish poet) as he rose from his post at the mission near San Antonio de Bexar.  Texas had been good to him; the land was cheap and the humidity made his hair very manageable.  The war with Santa Anna hadn’t even wrinkled his disposition.  He took a deep breath and open his sleep-filmed eyes.

And then he looked to the south….

Alamoment:  The feeling experienced by the member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas who first spied the Texas Attorney General’s fax requesting volumes upon volumes of information to audit the guardians of the Alamo.

While it might seem as though it has been some time since I returned to issues plaguing the Alamo and Alamo Plaza, I secretly have been adding updates at the bottom of older posts.  For example, in older posts about the Alamo and its plaza you can find out that Sam’s the man currently working on sandwich boards on Alamo Plaza; view the Texas Historical Commission’s reactions to the expansion plans the Daughters have for the Alamo grounds; or link to recent news stories and editorials.  I should probably be creating new posts or at least posting these as comments, but then it would seem as though I am talking to myself (which, of course, is what blogging is).

After all, I do not want to seem Alamobsessed (one for The Compoundium?).

July 3 Update:  The big, bad bully Express-News is picking on the Daughters again:

The Daughters also issued a release Friday, accusing the San Antonio Express-News of directing “unrelenting attacks” on the DRT through its articles and editorials.

And while looking for a full copy of the Daughters’ release online, came across the unfortunate news of a setback in fundraising for Alamo preservation in the Dallas Morning News.

Update Added on July 4:  Amazing what Sam Perez has accomplished.  Drove through Alamo Plaza yesterday, fully expecting every single sandwich board (see photos here) to be back in place in the face of every single one of the 50,000 AA conventioneers in town.  After all, Sam would not be out there enforcing the code over the Fourth of July holiday.  But all the sandwich boards were gone, even the ones at the Houston Street establishment next to the Indigo, save one exception:  the monster-sized one outside Pat O’s.  Way to go Sam!  We are still saddled with the unsightly clutter outside Fuddrucker’s and Pat O’s, but this is a remarkable step forward. 

Now, if only the City Manager can charge an equivalent miracle-worker to enforce the multitude of signage violations filling every window pane along the west side of the plaza….

Update on July 7:  As this blogger is but a sophomoric soul, the following represents a comprehensive summary of the “do not do this” lessons one could learn in P.R. 101:

drt response

And the follow-up story in the Dallas Morning News.

Second Update on July 7:  Brian Myler of KSAT-TV has been working on a story on Alamo Plaza signage violations for weeks and reports the City has been issuing citations.  A feature will air during the 10:30 p.m. newscast on Friday, July 9.

Update on July 9The Wall Street Journal

Update on July 10

Update on July 14The “daughter” they wish they never had…. 

Update on July 20KSTX Radio interviews Express-News’ Scott Huddleston; president of DRT unable to find time in her schedule to join them. 

Update on July 25:  These updates tacked onto this blog entry are getting downright cumbersome.  Might have to risk being labeled sophomoricly Alamobsessed and do a full-fledged post soon.  Scott Huddleston writes online:  “Alamo Workers Reassured about Jobs.” 

Update on July 26:  State wants its just desserts à-la-mo-de; opposes DRT trademark application

Update on July 27Follow-Up Alamo Trademark Story

Update on August 1:  This thread keeps going, but it seems so convenient to provide access to the related news reports in one post.  Engineering report returned, and editorial on trademark.

Trademark Update on August 24Dallas Morning News

Update on September 11:   Another linguistic portmanteau from The Compoundium:

Obscenery – “The hotel on the strip was fine, but the view was just awful.”

So we guess we are Alamobsessed with the obscenery dominating the plaza.