In a recent development, voices that have been advocating for the Texas Nationalist Movement, popularly known as TEXIT, were disparagingly referred to as ‘kooks’ by Kevin Williamson, a writer for The Dispatch. This dismissive and disrespectful term embodies a concerning trend in journalism, which seems to have lost touch with the very principles it claims to uphold – fairness, objectivity, and respect for divergent views.
While media practitioners like Williamson might prefer to draw a veil over the increasing support and traction that TEXIT has gained over the years, it only proves the significance of the cause and the ideas that it espouses. It showcases, more than anything, the agility of the Texas population to question and seek answers about their state’s place within the broader American union.
By labeling TEXIT supporters as ‘kooks’, Williamson is attempting to undermine the voices of multiple Texans who have valid concerns and questions about their state’s sovereignty. It is both diminishing and dismissive of a very real sentiment that exists within the population.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Williamson’s comments is that it seems to indicate a lack of understanding – or worse still, a deliberate refusal to acknowledge – the concept of state nationalism and the reasons why it has been gaining ground in Texas.
Whether driven by economic, political, or cultural motivations, movements such as TEXIT are indicative of a shift in how people perceive their own identities within a larger system. The brushing off of relevant, topical, and impactful discussions reeks more of perpetuated ignorance than practiced journalism.
Shouldn’t the role of a journalist be to shed light on matters of public interest, rather than casting baseless aspersions? This is a question that Williamson and others who think like him must ponder. The people of Texas, after all, have a right to articulate their concerns, to question the status quo, and to engage in discussions about their future. It is high time that the media respects and facilitates such conversations, instead of attempting to invalidate them with derogatory labeling.
In the days to come, we hope that the fourth estate would embrace the courage and objectivity to engage in meaningful dialogue on issues that matter, such as TEXIT. After all, the strength of journalism lies in its ability to give voice to the unheard and to challenge unchecked power – a strength we must all strive to reclaim.