Folks from West Texas are among the friendliest we've ever encountered - and that's saying a lot in the great State of Texas, which is known for its friendly people.
We figure West Texans are so friendly because they're so isolated from the rest of the state that they are absolutely delighted when they have someone to talk to other than themselves.
If State Rep. John Smithee, who's from up in the Panhandle of Texas, has his way, West Texans may be about to get even friendlier.
Heard of House Bill 911 (so named to evoke memories of one of the worst days in American history, Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked us in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania)?
With visions of that horror in mind, note that HB 911, sponsored by Mr. Smithee, would make it all but impossible for folks who live and work on the coast of Texas to get insurance. If we can't get insurance, we can't get a loan. If we can't get a loan, we can't build or expand our homes or businesses.
HB 911 would shut down the coast of Texas, and that includes the ports of Houston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville. That would be devastating for the entire state, which depends on those ports for the transport and delivery of goods from around the world.
The intention, we understand, in naming the bill 911, is to also invoke the memories of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike that did some serious damage, not only to the Texas coast, but to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
It is said that Texas is five states in one: The Coast, The Hill Country, The Piney Woods, The Panhandle and The Big Bend.
For real Texans, that is a source of pride and unity, not one of territorial dominance or division.
Each area of the state has its disadvantages, and, more importantly, all have overwhelming advantages. Together, we are the great State of Texas.
A bill such as HB 911 would serve to divide us into separate entities and diminish our strength and magnitude.
Such a bill would be crippling, not only for coastal communities, but for the entire state, because we are one.
As one, we must work together to survive the natural disasters that afflict every area of the state: Tornadoes in one corner, drought in another, flooding in another, hailstorms in yet another, and hurricanes on the coast.
A bill the likes of HB 911 would diminish and divide our mission to stand united, to stand together as Texans who reach out to one another in good times and bad.
Thanks to Mr. Smithee, West Texans are going to have to be even friendlier to repair the damage he may do to with HB 911.
They can start with telling him it's a real bad idea.