State lawmakers in Texas this week held a hearing on a curious new proposal. According to state Sen. Donna Campbell (R), Texas needs a new law to prohibit foreign control of the Alamo – and if you’re thinking this is a foolish effort, trust your instincts. The Texas Tribune reported:
Campell proposed the Protect the Alamo Act in response to a nomination that could make the San Antonio Missions – including the emblematic Alamo – a World Heritage site through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A decision is expected to be announced in July. Campbell said that without the law to protect the Alamo, there would be a risk that the Texas General Land Office, which manages the Alamo and surrounding properties, could sell it.“In the charge to the battle, the battle cry was ‘Remember the Alamo,’ and since then, the Alamo has been recognized as hallowed ground in Texas, and a shrine of Texas liberty,” Campbell said at a hearing before the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee. “The Alamo is a story of Texas, and it should be owned, operated, and maintained, controlled by Texans.”
We’ve seen some interesting examples of far-right paranoia surrounding the United Nations over the years, but this one’s just odd.
As we discussed a while back, UNESCO decided to grant World Heritage status to the Alamo, giving the Texas historical site the same status as other American treasures such as Independence Hall, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and the Statue of Liberty. It would seem like the sort of thing that Texans could be proud of, and which might even help boost tourism in the area.
But it hasn’t quite turned out that way. Almost immediately, conservatives, pushed by the San Antonio Tea Party, began circulating warnings that the United Nations might seize control of the Alamo. The Texas Land Commissioner’s office tried to explain how silly the fears were, but they persisted.
And now legislation based on the paranoia is under consideration in Austin.
Zack Beauchamp added yesterday, “According to the Houston Chronicle, Campbell has admitted that making the Alamo a UNESCO site would not actually involve selling it to the UN. She said in warning, however, that ‘UNESCO starts with UN.’”
I don’t know what that’s intended to mean, exactly, but it seems as if the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is necessarily suspect because, well, it’s the United Nations.
Add this to the list of real solutions the right pushes to address imaginary problems.