The legislature passed a resolution this year urging the use of “The Great Rivers State” as our state motto. Senator John Lamping of St. Louis came up with this idea, apparently feeling “Show Me State” is no longer adequate.
It was not a law, just a resolution. It doesn’t mandate the new motto. It just suggests it. But Senator Lamping might have been trumped by the New York Times and its website about.com, which has declared Missouri is the favorite state for camping among the people who responded to the website’s survey. We finished ahead of Montana and Colorado. New Mexico and New York got honorable mentions.
The Times praises Missouri for having “hundreds of conservation and natural areas, 49 state parks, the vast Mark Twain National Forest, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and the 225-mile Katy Trail, which is America’s longest rail-to-trail hiking/biking trail.” Then it comments, “If you can do it outdoors, you can do it in Missouri.”
Let us not overlook the compliment the great New York Times bestows on this part of fly-over country. Even though it’s an internet poll –which is hardly scientific– it’s a poll on the New York Times website, which would seem to us to attract a special demographic crowd. Anytime anything connected with New York recognizes there is a Missouri, let alone votes it number one for something is a cause for celebration.
But, look, folks — If we’re going to have a new state motto, let’s have one with some snap, some pizzazz, one that plants an indelible image in the mind of those who see it. What’s going to cause the biggest buzz when somebody sees a motto on a license plate? The Great Rivers State? Ummmm, that’s probably not going to cause much imaginative thinking when somebody sees it on a Missouri license plate.
But if you’re a motorist behind a Missouri vehicle and you see, “If you can do it outdoors, you can do it in Missouri,” you’re likely to smile and think about that for several miles.