Nearly two centuries ago, a Texas municipal official was presented with a quandary: an unreasonable demand by an unconstitutional federal government intent on punishing his little town for showing a streak of initiative and an interest in governing itself.
That federal government dispatched a troop of cavalry to the little settlement to force the town's residents to comply with its demands: namely, the return of an antique, virtually-useless little cannon so small that all it really served to do was make a loud noise.
Nonetheless, Regidor Joseph Clements responded to the demand from Lt. Castaneda, representing the government of Mexico, that principle -- not practicality -- made his decision for him. His response to the Mexicans:
"This rigor Priveledg of consulting our chief seems is denied us the only answer I can therefore give you is that I cannot now will not deliver to you the cannon agreeable to my notions of peopriety---And these are also the sentiments of all the members of this Ayuntamiento who are now present. The sd cannon is now in this Town and if force it from us we must submit---We are weak and few in numbers but will nevertheless contend for what we believe to be just principles. God and Liberty Joseph D. Clements Regigor. Addressed: Franco Castenada, En el llano en frente de Gonzales."
On the morning of Oct. 2, facing a rag-tag lot of settlers across a field at Williams' Farm near Gonzales, Castaneda again demanded surrender of the cannon.
The response he got: "Come and Take It!"
Fast-forward to 2011. Once again, a federal government is attempting to usurp the constitutional rights of Texans, this time denying them their Fourth Amendment right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure by outlawing the groping of genatalia in airports by the Transportation Security Administration. State Rep. David Simpson authored the bill and it passed the state House, and was on the verge of passage in the state Senate under the sponsorship of Sen. Dan Patrick when a new Lt. Castaneda appeared on the scene, this time in the form of a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice.
As with Castaneda's saber-rattling of Sept. 30, 1835, the DOJ letter threatens an act of war against Texas: namely, a blockade on all air travel to and from the state unless the TSA perverts can grope as they will.
Unlike 1835, Texas had no Joseph Clements to stand for it: Texas bent over and grabbed its ankles, and Patrick was forced to withdraw the bill. "There was a time in this state, there was a time in our history, where we stood up to the federal government and we did not cower to rules and policies that invaded the privacy of Texans," he said.
Rep. Simpson saw the parallel: "I hope Texans would say come and show us the law … This is a Gonzales moment. ‘Come and take it.’"
More and more, modern events are riding down the same road they did in 1835 which led to the Texas Revolution. The government in Washington has, in recent months, again and again tried to punish Texas for daring to question the federal government's supremacy on matters the U.S. Constitution makes exclusively the concerns "...of the States, or of the People."
When Texas refused to implement a nationalized education curriculum because that national curriculum (a) plays to the lowest common denominator and (b) is entirely unconstitutional, Congressman Lloyd Doggett authored an amendment to a war spending bill specifically designed to punish Texas' recalcitrance by denying it $860 million in federal funds it was due.
When Texas' economy began to recover because of the offshore oil boom, the administration used an accident off the coast of Louisiana as pretext to stop all new offshore oil drilling by U.S. companies -- then began awarding contracts to do exactly that to its friends in Brazil and Mexico. When technology enabling the easy extraction of oil and gas from shale formations, creating a new oil boom in Texas, the Environmental Protection Agency was tasked with initiating a new "study" to determine whether shale fracturing was environmentally safe -- a study which it's already conducted twice before and discovered no evidence of a danger of cross-contamination.
When Texas' economy continued to recover at a pace faster than the rest of the nation, the EPA suddenly decided that Texas has too many coal-fired power plants and would have to shut them down.
Texans, Lt. Castaneda has crossed the Guadalupe. I don't know about you, but I'm headed over to Williams' Farm.