Being relegated from a five-star status to a one-star rating is not something any entity wants to face but must deal with when confronted with an embarrassing classification for poor performance.
The distress signal is an upside down Texas flag as demonstrated here
Drop the “L” from Texas’ motto “The Lone Star State” and you have a more apt description of what this state really symbolizes in contemporary America. As a native Texan I use to take pride in being the only state that was a nation before it was accepted into the union and had won it’s independence from Mexico through “heroic battles” at the Alamo and San Jacinto. We were until 1959 the largest state in the union and we fed the nation the beef they craved for all of the 19th century and most of the 20th century.
We became the greatest source of oil as the nation was coming into its industrialization phase and many entertainers in movie and music claim Texas as home. Houston is a recognized part of the NASA program to put men and women into space and on the moon. From a progressive point of view I am pleased that it was a Texan, LBJ, that pushed through Civil Rights legislation and the Medicare health insurance for our elderly.
But there are few such victories to take pride in here lately as a backwards mentality has gripped this state’s political and social apparatus. Conservative Republicans have dominated this state now for nearly two decades and since then we have become the laughing stock of the nation that now appears to be a strong contender to replace Mississippi as the most embarrassing representation of democracy in this country.
Since George W. Bush was governor and then succeeded by his protegé Rick Parry, Texas has become the death penalty capital of the world, the state with the least population covered with health insurance, an advocate for Secession, the only state to fight the EPA’s right to regulate toxic industrial emissions and the nation’s school text book supplier of revisionist history. Though Texas has one of the largest hispanic populations, the governor and state legislature are contemplating immigration laws similar to Arizona while still turning a blind eye to the illegal right-wing militias who patrol the Rio Grande ready to shoot any perceived illegal immigrant on site.
Yes, Mississippi, your days as being viewed the most mean-spirited and narrow-minded state may soon be a thing of the past.
To help push this perception closer to reality is yet one more example of how far removed Texas has become from civilized society. A Republican state legislator out of Houston, Debbie Riddle, is living up to her name and seeking to end illegal immigration by creating a law to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants EXCEPT for – wait for it ….. those who work as gardeners and maids.
Her excuse when this ridiculous bill was proposed was equally ludicrous saying that the Texas economy would unduly suffer if as fellow Republican Aaron Pena noted “a large segment of the Texas population [was sent] to prison.” Clearly Ms. Riddle, Mr. Pena and other like-minded Republicans do not see a double standard here; one that would penalize small business owners, including many ranches and farms, while keeping the status quo in place for wealthy patrons. “Hiring undocumented workers to work in your home of on your yard is ‘extremely common’ in Texas”, Representative Pena further informs us, “so much so that “it is often overlooked.”
Did I mention that Ms. Riddle is a Tea Party darling? I guess this bit of bigotry and small-minded thinking connotes this without any elaboration. Ms. Riddle made headlines earlier with her comments on how the FBI informed her “that Middle Eastern women were coming to America as tourists to have babies which were automatic American citizens and then returning to their home countries to raise baby terrorists, an idea the FBI flatly refutes.” This played well in Texas where many anglo’s buy in to the “anchor baby” theory.(Don’t Touch My Maid!, by L.S. Carbonell, LezGetReal, 3/2/11)
There is a verse in the Texas state song, “Texas, Our Texas” that goes thusly:
Texas, O Texas! your freeborn single star,
Sends out its radiance to nations near and far,
Emblem of Freedom! it set our hearts aglow,
With thoughts of San Jacinto and glorious Alamo.
Clearly there needs to be a change that reflects the new reality.
Texas, O Texas! your freeborn single star,
Radiates no more by those who lower the bar,
Emblem of Freedom? it no longer is so,
With views so backwards that set a new low.
Retirement in New Mexico is looking more and more rewarding for me each day as news like this surfaces.
- State Rep. Debbie Riddle: Same Texas Twang, but with a Twinge and a Texas Tweak (themoderatevoice.com)