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.

Is Anybody Watching Alamo Plaza?

In this morning’s San Antonio Express-News, Scott Huddleston opens a story with:  “Alamo preservationists are gearing up to fight plans for a streetcar line on land that they say should be closed to traffic out of reverence for the 1836 battlefield.”

But where are the “preservationists” now?  When will they make the Daughters of the Republic of Texas pop-down the pop-up*?

Have these “preservationists” who remember the Alamo as “twice-hallowed ground” walked on Alamo Plaza during spring break?  If this land is hallowed, the halo has just about slipped completely off.  

Unfortunately, I am awaiting the mailman’s delivery of a new battery for my camera, but the everyday sidewalk intrusion in front of Pat O’s has been multiplied ten-fold, or more.  There are hawkers galore, and the front of Fuddrucker’s resembles an out-of-control flea market.   

Does anyone even remember Alamo Plaza is an historic district?

And, holy coonskin caps, just as I was closing this post, a fellow blogger broke the news to me that Fess Parker – the first crush of many a boomer girl – has passed away.

In the Express, Huddleston quotes Bob Benavides, chairman of the San Antonio Living History Association and a Son of the Republic of Texas, as worrying the proposed streetcar line will “take away the magic.”  I fear the “magic” might already be in the same state as Fess Parker.

Note added on March 23:  Perhaps the DRT is in need of instructions on how to take down a pop-up?   I particularly like the wording of Step No. 5: 

Once stood on its side whilst still holding the ‘fabric taco’ together with one hand, use your other hand to grab the poles at the top furthest away from you.  Pull these poles down towards the ground and towards you at the same time.  The tent should fold in on itself and resemble a multilayered disc.

This website warns that, on brand new pop-ups, “the poles are very resistant to folding and will try to re-erect themselves so please be careful.”  As the one at the Alamo might never have been folded, maybe that is the problem.  Try as they might, it keeps re-erecting itself.  Maybe they could purchase a heavy duty roller bag for $76.98.

Note Added on April 27:  Hallelujah!  Maybe they read the instructions.  Bless the DRT.