Onward and Downward Texas

This is a reprint from an earlier post I did at my AC Yahoo website

I fear we have come to a point in our political lives when the rationale thought of the Rousseau and Hobbs whose impact on our founding fathers is abundant has been turned on its head by the crowd mentality like that of the angry French people who stormed the Bastille. Emotional displays of anger and stupidity seem as equally popular today as they were in our Wild West days of vigilantism. We are being led in some cases by people who are easily manipulated by moneyed interests to exploit the poorly informed public that tends to vote. Texas, the state I was born and raised in, is a classic example of such mendacity.

 

Texans I Identify With

Molly Ivins                          Jim Hightower              Ann Richards

There was a time when the populist sentiments of Texans led the way in political movements that framed the dialogue for governments that worked to benefit its citizens. One of the first female governors after women gained the right to vote in 1920 was Miriam “Ma” Ferguson of Texas. It was one of the first states to convert its economy to scientific technology as the space program opened up in the 1960’s as well as the dot.com boom in the 1990’s. But over the last 30 to 40 years Texas has seen an influx of malcontents on the extreme fringes move to this state and elevate it to the point of ridicule.

We seem to compete with those states that are influenced by the narrow-minded mentality of what has developed as the Tea Party; a group of predominantly white, conservative fundamentalist Christians who advocate the laissez-faire economics of Ayn Rand and insist that we need to return to a time in history that was comfortable for them. The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry popularized the notion during his campaign that we should secede from the union because of what he and the Tea Party sees as an encroachment on individual rights. The State School Board Commission recently decided to deny any school text that has negative perspectives about Joe McCarthy, fails to match Creationism with Evolution and includes what they feel is too much of Thomas Jefferson’s important role as a founding father.

The most recent backwards action by an authoritative Texas body is the attempt by the state Attorney General, Greg Abbot and the agency responsible for monitoring that which impacts our drinking water and the air we breath, the Texas Commission of Environment Quality (TCEQ), to block efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce toxic green house gas emissions (GHGs) in the state.

The TCEQ and the state Atty. General’s office cannot determine what the other 49 states have concluded about GHGs from industrial sites – they are toxic and need to be monitored to prevent further damage to air and water quality in the state. The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that GHGs are pollutants and a preponderance of the scientific community have declared as much yet TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw requires more clarity as he awaits another court decision on this matter; a decision clearly aimed at blocking the EPA’s attempts to do its job.

Mr. Shaw I presume doesn’t dispute the obvious fact that toxic elements are life threatening yet he does presume that monitoring them is something to quibble about. Taking a political stand on a matter that concerns the health of its citizens is noble only when it doesn’t fly in the face of common sense. To argue as he does though that Texas doesn’t have “the authority nor the intention of interpreting law, … to compel the permitting of green house gas emissions” is an insult to anyone who has watched the authority of Texas allow its school book commission assert that Thomas Jefferson is irrelevant in American history. (Texas ignoring new greenhouse gas rules, Ramit Plushnick-Masti Associated Press, 10/29/09)

Clearly this move was motivated by powerful interest in the fossil fuel industry. The state is home to some of the nation’s largest refineries and the oil industry has been the defacto economic staple in the state for better than a century, despite the fact that it is showing signs of cutting some of those strings as it leads the nation in generated wind energy.

Old habits die hard though and the mix of oil money and politics will not go lightly into the night. Such grandstanding for political exploitation is neither noble nor asserting its proper authority to protect its citizens. Perry, Shaw and many other good ole boys in state offices are there however because oil money is still a factor in getting elected and they are unwilling to bite the hand that feeds it despite the ill effects such decisions ultimately have on its citizens.

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5 responses to “Onward and Downward Texas

  1. How did they get elected? Or my biggest question, how do you deal with living there? I’m sorry I don’t mean to sound condescending because Pennsylvania has put in its share of jack asses (Rick Santorum), but you seem to be a beacon of sanity in an otherwise insane population. Do they mostly still think G.W. was a good president?

    • There’s a few of us “beacons of sanity” here Donna but we are a minority and yes, many openly still idolize Bush Jr.

      This state attracts the fringe elements. I suspect that is what has boosted our population the greatest recently, not our economy that tends to be better than some.

      More nut bags to promote more insane ideas. I’m seriously considering moving to New Mexico in the near future if our financial situation allows.

      • I’ve talked to a few people that lie in Texas, and they keep telling me that the Liberals and Progressives are out to destroy the country. Of course these same people rely on Fox News for the information. That’s sad.

  2. I wondered how liberals and progressives live in Texas too. Aside from maybe Austin? I would think it would be very hard, to say the least. NM is probably looking a lot more attractive with Texas’ mentality.

  3. It can be very frustrating for us Texans, but it really helps that we do get a few heroes to come along every now and then. A few of those are shown in the post above — Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower and Ann Richards. Extraordinary people like that give us the courage to keep going, and there are more of them than one would think. Most of them just aren’t famous.

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