Dec 27

What’s the Matter with Texas

In Brief—A much too brief look at the big state of Texas and the small minds of some of the state’s citizens, particularly politicians.

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“Texas is the National Laboratory for Bad Government.”

I never saw anything funnier than Texas politics.

Molly Ivins

 

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. There are some rational people living in Texas. I have family and friends who live in Texas. I have a slight bias against Texas because I grew up in northern New Mexico. [The Mexican food in N.M. is better, too.]

Now, that said, Texas is more than a state, it’s a state-of-mind. Too many Texans actually believe a lot of the nonsense that floats around there, political and otherwise.

Texas flag wavingHere are just three false beliefs. 1) Texas can secede from the union. 2) Texas won the battle of the Alamo. 3) Human-caused global climate change is a myth and a government conspiracy. That’s just for starters. There are lots more, but these myths are boot-wearin’, God fearin’ zombies.

The American Civil War—remember that massive blood-letting that the South lost?—settled the fact that Texas can’t secede. Repeat: They can’t secede. Despite what your troglodyte uncle may argue, Texas can’t  secede from the union.

Texas lost the battle of the Alamo. The Mexican army killed all the Alamo’s defenders only to lose the later grudge match at the Battle of San Jacinto when the irate Texans defeated the Mexican army. Don’ confuse the Alamo with the Battle of San Jacinto.

Human-caused global climate change is real. The overwhelming majority of climate experts say that global climate change threatens to extirpate humanity and many species unless we get our act together and stop adding carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere and ocean. A major part of that additional carbon dioxide and methane comes from oil extraction. And where does much of that oil come from? Texas. So much oil has been pumped out of Texas ground that some streets take a nose-dive from land subsidence.

In 2011, Gov. Rick Perry, a global warming skeptic, asked Texans to pray for rain to end the devastating drought. The drought continued for several months. It’s fair to say that Texas will get more water than it bargained for when a rising ocean drowns coastal Texas in the not-too-distant future.

Texas executes far more people—521 between 1976 and February 2015—than any other state in the union. Number 2 on the execution parade is Oklahoma with 112. Gee, ain’t they proud. Statistics show that at least 5% of the individuals on death row were innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. The motto of many of the politicians and prosecutors is, “To make an omelet, it’s necessary to break some eggs.” Get this, they believe it’s necessary to execute some innocents to get the guilty ones.

To give you a picture of Texas justice—and I use the word “justice” loosely—when I was in law school, the Texas laws and cases were always good for a laugh…but too many of those cases were no laughing matter.

Texas Politics (A Glimpse)—

Now let’s look at politics, the subject of Molly Ivins’ quotations above.

In voting against preventing terrorists from getting assault weapons, Texas’ Senator John Cornyn, says it’s “un-American” to deny God-fearin’ Americans the right to defend themselves against fleeing Syrian refugees, most of whom just happen to be Muslims. And we wonder if the arms manufacturers are getting rich(er). Wonder no longer…investment sources reveal that the arms manufacturers are excellent investments.

The smarmy and much disliked Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, also from Texas, opined that it’s okay to give asylum to Christian Syrian refugees, but not Muslim refugees, arguing that “it’s nothing less than lunacy” to accept Muslims. Cruz supports Donald Trump’s demand that all Muslims be banned from entering the United States.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sued to prevent fleeing Syrian refugees from being sent to Texas and is even threatening to sue humanitarian organizations from welcoming Syrian refugees. Molly Ivins was right about Texas government.

Who was Molly Ivins?—

For those deprived souls who have no idea who Molly Ivins was, she was a Texas journalist, author, political commentator and red-blooded civil libertarian. Her humor often targeted George W. (The Shrub) Bush, who will probably go down in history as one of America’s worst presidents. Her books are mandatory reading. I recommend reading at least one for her laugh-out-loud humor blended with devastating social criticism.

This T-shirt in an Aspen, Colorado, store window, expresses what many feel: “If God had intended Texans to ski, he would have made bullshit white.”

Update:  Readers may remember the dog Arthur from my blog piece “A Heart-warming Dog Story” from December 2014. Well, Dagens Nyheter in Sweden just published an update on Arthur and his family. You don’t have to speak Swedish, just look at the photos and you will know that Arthur is thriving in his new home.