On Nov. 4, Richard Parkerâ€”Trinity class of â€˜85â€”released his first book, â€œLone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America.â€
While at Trinity, Parker was a columnist for the Trinitonian and majored in political science. Parker went on to receive his masters in political science from Tulane University.
â€œThe book argues essentially that Texas has changed in fundamental ways and will change the country in fundamental ways,â€ Parker said. â€œMy argument is not about the land, but about people on the move and the historic consequences of large movements of people.â€
Parker had previously written about Texas for the New York Times and has lived throughout the state for the majority of his life. In addition to interviewing experts in the field, Parker also spent time interviewing other everyday Texans.
â€œThere are other people in the book, too: a couple representative of the millennials, moving to Austin; a first-generation girl of Mexican origin trying to get into UT and a woman living near Fort Worth who is a fourth or fifth generation Texan,â€ Parker said. â€œI tried to include the stories of everyday people.â€
â€œLone Star Nationâ€ examines Texasâ€™ three main challenges, which Parker determines to be a lack of upward social mobility, issues of the environment and shrinking democracy.
â€œTexas has two starkly different futures. One is of a society of tremendous inequality, mass poverty and discrimination,â€ Parker said. â€œBut the other is a very rosy futureâ€”continued economic prosperity, upward social mobility through continued education, smart ways to make sure there is enough water in an arid environment and a fair and just democratic society.â€
Parker explores the future of Texas as he considers migration to the â€œTexas triangleâ€â€”including the San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Austin areasâ€”which has drastically increased in recent years.
â€œIt is a very different place from the Texas I grew up in,â€ Parker said. â€œNothing ever happened in the Texas I grew up in. It always seemed, to me, that the important events of the day were always happening elsewhere.â€
By 2015, Texas will have the fourth-largest economy in the world, replacing Germany. To continue with this tremendous economic boom, Parker argues, Texas will have to make major changes. â€œLone Star Nationâ€ takes an in-depth look at this possibility.
â€œTexas is a really interesting story right now. Itâ€™s such a vibrant place,â€ Parker said. â€œOver a thousand people move to Texas a day and, as a result, itâ€™s worth taking a fresh look at it and trying to understand its history, its present and its future.â€
Parker now lives in Wimberley, Texas. He works in journalism and publishing, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, as well as the Columbia Journalism Review.