Much like Texas itself, Gail Collins’ new book “As Texas Goes” is a big deal. It makes a big statement about a state that puts much of its worth into the concept that bigger is better. Collins expresses how these types of gigantic stereotypes are slowly creeping around the country and taking over rational thinking.
Collins was the first woman to hold the position of Editorial Page Editor for the New York Times from 2001 through 2007. She also wrote the power-packed book, “When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present.” Clearly Collins tackles political controversy and evolution with enthusiasm and aplomb.
“As Texas Goes” is filled with amusing anecdotes. Collins speculates about their obsession with the Alamo, reminding everyone that Mexico won. She pokes playfully at an array of Texas politicians ranging from Rick Perry to George W. Bush. Collins admits her budding interest in the Lone Star state was fueled by a headline sent by a friend, “Man Allegedly Beat Woman with Frozen Armadillo.”
Beyond the quipping, Collins also uses humor to make several political points about an oppressively conservative Texas agenda where law and religion seem to be enmeshed. She mentions the lack of adequate sex education in the state based on a religious agenda that encourages abstinence. Texas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. Collins also cites a sex education curriculum that has a teacher construct an 18-foot model called, “Speedy the Sperm” to show how condoms allegedly fail to guard against STDs.
On a serious note, Collins expresses how this conservative agenda is a concern for everyone as Texas ideals creep across the nation. The intertwining of religious beliefs with law has an impact on sexual behavior across the board, including the LGBT community and same sex marriage. Through humor, the book seeks to inspire Texans to become more progressive and open-minded.
Collins expresses her concern the Texas model is threatening to turn the nation’s economy into two tiers – the failing underclass and the silver cronies on top. Sexual judgments, a creaky educational system and inequality are problems for Texas that impact the rest of the country. She feels Texas has a lot to do with where the country is heading. It’s a worrisome thought that could inhibit the recent progression the LGBT community has seen with regard to important issues such as sodomy and same sex marriage. Liberals have to remember Mexico won the Alamo and we can win these struggles, too.