CORRESPONDENCErnLetter From Texasrnby Wayne AllensworthrnApocalypse NowrnWe are flying amid flufiy, white cottonballrnclouds that reach above us to tremendousrnheights, forming darker mountainrnpeaks lined with crevices and tinged byrnthe pinkish-orange glow of the settingrnsun. My six-year-old daughter, eyes widernin innocent fascination, whispers, “Is thisrnwhere God lives?”rn”Even higher,” I answer.rn”But His angels are here,” she asserts.rn”Maybe.”rnMaybe. I am pondering the lost innocencernof childhood, stripped away as thernevil princes of the consumerist kingdomrnseduce our progeny. As we leave the skyrnfor the road, I am also realizing just howrnnaive the Religious Right must be to believernthat a Christian culture can survivernin the world of “democratic capitalism.”rnThe mud flaps on the 18-wheeler aheadrnof us read “Jesus is Lord. Truckers forrnChrist.”rnIt’s 105 degrees on the road to centralrnTexas, the hill country, and on to thernGulf Coast. Dallas and Fort Worth arernno longer distinct entities but a mass ofrngrotesque strip malls that stretch fromrnPiano to “Cow Town’s” invisible city limits.rnIt’s the “Metroplex” nowadays, anotherrnstep on the way to global homogenizationrnand the obliteration of local identityrnand geography. But the furnace-like heatrnand merciless sun remind the Masters ofrnthe Universe that there are forces theyrncannot control. The temperature reachesrn109. The “Metroplex” recedes in thernrearvievv mirror; the rocky, brushy, dustyrnterrain, scorched by the sun and dottedrnwith cattle, horses, and dried-up littlerntowns, replaces it. Texas is still here afterrnall. The towns are named Comanche,rnZephyr, Flat (not to be confused withrnFlatonia), and Dimebox. Texas has alwaysrnbeen a harsh place, once the vastrnComacheria, bordered by the Apacheriarnto the Southwest, the battleground of redrnand brown and white men who foughtrneach other and the unforgiving terrainrnand the burning sun. I love it, evenrnthough, by today’s standards, there is nornreason that I should.rnOn the Sunday before the Fourth ofrnJuly, we worship in a simple, beautiful,rnlittle white church that my wife’s grandfatherrnbuilt. The pastor begins his sermonrnwith a story about an old womanrnwho sells her house because she read inrnthe newspaper that most fatal accidentsrntake place within a few miles of home. Itrnoccurs to me that she should work for thernRepublican National Committee. WithrnIndependence Day coming, and with thernknowledge that the county will not outlawrnfireworks this year on account of thernrecent rains, we rise to sing “God BlessrnAmerica”:rnGod Bless America, land that I lovernStand beside her and guide herrnThrough the night with a lightrnfrom abovernI feel my voice cracking and stoprnsinging for a moment. As we stand forrnCommunion, Jesus reaches out to usrnfrom above the ornately carved altar.rnThe pastor blesses each of our three children,rnand we eat the Body and drink thernBlood of Christ. Outside, the old menrnline up on one side of a lawn that’s greenerrnthan I remember from last year, andrnthe women gather opposite them. Thernmen are gray and wear their summerrnstiaw hats and hook their thumbs in theirrnbelts, boots kicking at clumps of grass.rnWe shake hands and speak of old friendsrnand the weather. I notice more youngrnpeople around, even a few families. Inrntown, new owners are restoring the oncernstately homes of the county seat, and arnbigger high school is being built. Signs ofrnhope? Maybe I am not the only one whornwants to come home.rnWe pass through the hill country.rnAustin is losing the sights and sounds ofrnwhat the Dallas Morning News called itsrn”bohemian rhapsody”; the music scenernand slow pace are being replaced byrnhigh-tech, power lunches, and sterilernglass boxes are blotting out the distinctivernlook of the old capital. That’s “progress.”rnBarbecue and chicken-fried steaks arernyielding to sushi enchiladas and vegetarianrnmartini lunches. The small-big townrnis now a city with traffic jams and murdersrnand hurry up, your appointment’s atrnnoon! “Dubya,” the shallow son of a carpetbagger,rnmust love it. But BartonrnSprings, the city’s ice-cold swimmingrnhole, is still there, and hold over hippiernenvironmentalists are still fighting for it.rnI wish them luck and wonder why “conservatives”rndon’t seem to give a damnrnabout conserving anything. We destroyedrnAustin to save it, runs the Chamberrnof Commerce line.rnOne evening, I walk up the broad avenuernfrom the sandy-colored capitol tornthe Colorado River, and a homeless manrnwrapped in a green tiash bag is walkingrnthe opposite way, picking up litter andrncollecting aluminum cans. He must recognizernme as a countryman. His bloodshotrneyes squint as he shakes his head inrndisbelief and exclaims, “Damn Yankees!”rnI nod my head in agreement and wonderrnwhat will become of him. May God forgivernus for creating a world in whichrnthere is no place for such unfortunates.rnOn the way out of town, I have tornmuster all my willpower to keep fromrnbeating the hell out of a Pakistani immigrantrnwho lectures me on “what’s wrongrnwith America.” Some of what he says isrnright, but I won’t tell him that. Whenrnwill red/Americans muster the gumptionrnto halt their country’s colonization?rnOn to the Gulf Coast. Houston’srnsprawl has consumed the whole of HarrisrnCounty and is spilling into Fort BendrnCounty to the west. It’s urban guerrillarnwarfare out there, with the disk jockeys,rnlocal politicos, and Lion’s Club boostersrntrying to pretend that normal life continues.rnThe city proper, I’m told, is now predominantlyrnblack, Asian, and (chiefly)rn”Hispanic,” the euphemism for the excessrnMexicans who conveniently—forrnthe Mexican narco-Mafia regime andrnAmerican big business —migrate to myrnold stomping grounds. Downtown, arnheavily armed contingent of “New BlackrnPanthers” gather to protest the impendingrnexecution of a murderous black thugrnnamed Gary Graham, the latest posterrnboy for the antiwhite, anti-American campaignrnorchestiated by the dominant eliternand carried out by organized “people ofrncolor.” The brave knights of black nationalismrnrough up an aging white manrnDECEMBER 2000/37rnrnrn