Six_Flags_over_TexasI’m heading to Texas.

But Texas is in the United States, you say. South of the Border means south of the border of the US, like in Mexico. Right?

Ah, such naiveté. Let me explain.

Sure, technically, Texas is part of the US. It became a state in 1845. Then it was no longer a US state as it joined the Confederacy. Then back to being a state. Before the Civil War it was a Republic. Before that part of Mexico. And France. And Spain. In the future, it’s hard to tell.

The largest amusement park syndicate in the world is called Six Flags. It has 18 properties in North America, but the first was located in Arlington and called Six Flags Over Texas. The six flags refer to the various “nations” who have held sovereignty over Texas: Spain (1519–1821), France (1685–1690), Mexico (1821–1836), the Republic of Texas (1836–1845), the Confederate States of America (1861–1865), and the United States of America (1845–1861; 1865–present).

Which gets us back to South of the Border. It’s become a parlor game for the Republican Governor of Texas to declare his intent to secede from the United States. Governor Rick Perry voiced this idle threat many times, and Greg Abbott continues with the action-less posturing despite the rest of the country begging him to “do it already.” Texas is one of those states that plays the tough Republican “anti-government” role, then immediately begs for federal relief every time tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and two dozen US military bases show who is boss.

In short, Texas likes to act like it is independent, yet is one of the more desperately needy states in the Union.

The irony is that Texas is rapidly changing in basic demographics. The percentage of European-American White residents is dropping as the percentage of Hispanic and Latino residents has surged to nearly 40% of the population. Given the general political voting habits of the two groups, many believe Texas could eventually become Democratic.

In any case, the concept of “south of the border” seems archaic given future trends and past history. As time passes, we might remember the Alamo a bit differently than did John Wayne.

David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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Photo By Ann W – Six Flags over TexasUploaded by Smooth_O, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9974993