Don’t Mess With Texas

If you’ve seen the most recent episode of South Park then you understand how easily you can be sidetracked while trying to look for something online. Well today went something like that for me, or maybe I just have Texas on my mind from looping “Ohio” by Bowling for Soup recently…anyway, today I learned where the phrase, “don’t mess with Texas,” comes from and I thought I would share because it’s actually kind of funny.

I have always thought most of the phrases about Texas, like, “everything’s bigger in Texas,” were annoying and displayed an exaggerated sense of self-importance. (Sorry, not sorry Texas!) Like I’m sure many people, I thought the phrase, “don’t mess with Texas,” was a celebration of the gun-wielding, truck-driving, boot-wearing stereotype of Texans. Turns out, it was actually a slogan developed for an anti-littering campaign in the 80’s. Yes, a slogan to save the environment is now widely embraced by Texans. It’s still in use today, the domain Don’t Mess With Texas is currently in use for the state’s anti-littering campaign.

In the 80’s, the campaign was all over TV, radio, and most importantly posted on highways. Can you imagine driving into the state only to pass a sign saying, “Don’t Mess With Texas?” It’s no wonder that the phrase has become a national slogan representing Texan swagger.

So you must be wondering, is the campaign really effective? Well, the source of data might be slightly biased, but according to, the campaign has been a huge success. In the span of 5 years, the campaign reduced visible litter on the roadway by 39%! Keep in mind, they are counting items like cigarette butts as litter for these studies. Cigarette butts actually make up most of the litter found, not cans and bottles.

Anyway, I mostly found it entertaining that Texas, one of the most openly conservative states self-identifies with a slogan that is used for an environmental cause. Go figure!







  1. mariner

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumble upon on a daily basis. It is always interesting to read articles from other writers.

  2. LVL99

    I hope this comes up on a trivia night!

  3. jordan

    The environment is pretty important in Texas. Have to maintain the groundwater.

  4. Sue

    I don’t think it’s so surprising that conservatives are into conserving resources. Think about it. Most conservatives are fiscally frugal – and this goes toward protecting our natural resources too. I think the mistaken assumption that conservatives are NOT environmentally conscious occurs because 1) Most conservatives don’t feel the need to wear their environmental consciousness on their sleeve; 2) Most conservatives don’t want to go off the deep end fiscally to “save the environment” so sometimes that is misconstrued to mean they just don’t care. They do. They just want to do the sensible things, and not littering is one of them!

    1. Sarah

      You make some great points. Thanks for sharing Sue!

  5. bastcilkdoptb

    I really like your writing style, excellent information, thankyou for posting : D.

  6. Anonymous

    Excellent post. I constantly read your blog and I missed this post before! Extremely entertaining stuff 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *