Remodeling the Texas Alamo on politically correct tourist trap lines?
The Texas Land Commission, now run by George P. Bush, is remodeling the Alamo in a project called "Reimagining the Alamo." Not everyone is happy about it.
According to John Griffing, writing in the Daily Caller:
Texas and its most sacred and iconic historical sites – like the Alamo – are under constant attack by patronizing pseudo-intellectuals who only seem to care about history when it involves blind and uncritical acceptance of "alternative facts" about our state's past.
Historians now "know" that the Lone Star State (along with the entire American Southwest) is built on land "stolen" from Mexico, that Jim Bowie was a staggering drunk and that Davy Crockett "may" have surrendered to the Mexican Army instead of being killed in action swinging "Old Betsy."
For some, these "alternative facts" make the Alamo a symbol of racism and imperialism that should be "re-imagined," at least according to the Texas Land Office.
Griffing is (and others are) right that the old Franciscan mission's most significant event was the fight to the death for freedom by 189 Texas patriots, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett in 1836, and that should be what is most treasured and featured. The Land Commission thinks different and wants all eras associated with the Alamo to be treated with equal weight.
There's some merit in recognizing and remembering the Franciscan missions as well, given that they were pivotal to Texas's settlement in a difficult territory, as well as the role of the native peoples, (some of whom were cannibals), but the pivotal event – the one that opened the gateway to the U.S. becoming a continental power – certainly includes the Alamo. Treating all of these events as equal not only smacks of political correctness, but also makes little sense from a tourism perspective, which is what the whole remodeling is about in the first place. Tourists come to the Alamo to see the place where the Texas patriots made their last stand.
Particularly galling is the Land Commission's plan to remove the Cenotaph, the traditional monument to the defenders of the Alamo, to some basement, to "protect" it. The commission says it really does mean to restore it, which opponents aren't buying.
And the intransparency of contract work with NGOs is disturbing. In Los Angeles, we all know that these partnerships in the restoration of the old mission in Los Angeles near Olvera Street was rife with thievery from these NGOs.
All the same, there may be some overheatedness in this ferocious desire to honor and protect Texas's history.
The commission itself says the spot will be preserved as the sacred place it is to Texans and won't be turned into a café-laden Disneyland of tourist-trap attractions as had been claimed. The commission actually makes a pretty good case that the Alamo as it is has become a tourist trap, as these photos on its front page show.
The plans to put a glass wall around it actually sound pretty good, even though the commission has said it has scrapped those plans, probably due to public pressure. The glass floor to reveal the original Franciscan mission layout seems good, too, although it may interfere with restoring the Alamo to the way the Texas patriots viewed it, so the conflict is obvious.
What does it show here? It shows that neither the Bushes nor the bureaucrats are particularly trusted to preserve the heritage of the Alamo in a way that allows for Texas heroism. They may think they are doing the right thing, but there is significant fury from the public and hair-trigger conclusions about what is intended. That's a sign of distrust. And with Antifa getting away with dismantling symbols of the Old South's heritage with the removal of Confederate statues in the name of a "reimagined" political correctness, it may be a well placed distrust.
Bush and company had better go well out of their way to start including people who cherish Texas history in his efforts instead of just malcontents and political correctness aficionados. Or else the discontent will just get bigger.