Tag Archives: Texas

No Thanks to You!

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Last week I received a notice from the National Republican Party announcing a fundraiser in my city, along with a request for a donation. It was signed by the Party’s national chairman, Reince Priebus. This suburban Dallas community where I grew up is, like much of the rest of Texas, staunchly Republican. A Democrat hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994, when Garry Mauro won reelection as state treasurer; the same year Ann Richards lost her gubernatorial reelection bid to George W. Bush.

Returning home from the gym late one Saturday night a couple of years ago, I noticed a “Tea Party” sign in a neighbor’s front yard. I wanted to stop and spray-paint a swastika on their walkway, but I didn’t have any spray paint on hand. Besides, they might’ve had security cameras hidden somewhere. For years now, there’s been a billboard off Central Expressway, just north of downtown Dallas, asking: ‘Where’s the birth certificate?’ It’s a blatant reference to the ongoing idiotic questions about President Obama’s birth place. If you know how much it costs to put up one of those signs, you might also realize the same money could fund a school lunch program.

Part of the problem is that, on average, only about a third of eligible voters in Texas actually make an effort to cast a ballot. I think many of my more centrist and independent-minded fellow Texans simply feel their vote won’t make a difference and / or Republicans will win anyway, so why bother. I certainly don’t want Texas to swing to the opposite side of the political spectrum, such California, Illinois or Massachusetts; where people are regulated and taxed into oblivion and political correctness is practically a part of the state’s constitution.

I’m actually put out by our two major both political parties – Republicans AND Democrats. I feel strongly that the Republicans are bullies, and the Democrats are wimps. President Obama has capitulated too much to the bull-headed GOP and lost any credibility, from my perspective. As I see it, the U.S. is essentially leaderless right now.

Hence, my disgust when I received the mailing from Priebus. I mailed it back, but with this handwritten message:

 

“Mr. Priebus,

Remove my name and address from your list. I have no desire to contribute money to the GOP. Your party screwed up our economy in the first place, but you won’t take responsibility for it.”

 

Off to the side, I scribbled:

“Trickle down doesn’t work. And, I’m no fan of Obama either!”

 

I included this last bit of verbiage, so Priebus and his gang will know I’m equally disgusted. I’d hate for anyone at that level to feel so targeted.

But, you must read between the lines. Here’s what I really wanted to say:

 

“Take my name and address off your fucking list, you good-for-nothing, piece of shit, Neanderthal! Your party fucked up the economy big time with your stupid tax cuts, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (wars started by a pack of fucking draft-dodgers), and total deregulation of the banking and housing industries. All of that together is what fucked up this economy – not the Affordable Care Act, which is total bat-shit, as far as I’m concerned. You fuckers have taken too much of my money in taxes already and you haven’t done a goddamned thing to help the economy, except the same stupid, fucking, trickle-down bullshit that you’ve been pushing through since that incompetent dumbass, Ronald Reagan, held office!”

 

But, they probably wouldn’t understand my outrage. Sorry to yell like that in front of you nice folks. Damn, though! I feel so much better!

Since the envelope is postage paid, I found a thin piece of rock in the back yard that I inserted along with the note. Might as well maximize it! I would’ve sent a flattened piece of my dog’s fecal matter, but they’re not good enough to receive even that.

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Vote Like It Counts

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One of the many elements that came out of the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” was a loud call for the United States to honor its commitment to voting.  People here often don’t think much about it, but voting is a critical factor in any democracy.  If you look at what’s happening in Syria right now, I’m certain a number of that country’s citizens wish they had the luxury of just voting, or impeaching, Bashar al-Assad right out of office.

A positive effect of the March on Washington was the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed that the U.S. would uphold that right for every proper citizen to cast one vote for the candidate of their choice.  It struck down poll taxes and literacy tests; measures often used, particularly in the Southeast, against non-Whites and poor people.  Why don’t people take this seriously?

I’m especially concerned after a report showing my beloved home state of Texas ranks 51st, after the District of Columbia, in voter turnout.  On average, declares the Texas Civic Health Index, only about a third of eligible voters in the nation’s second-most populous state make a concerted effort to vote.  I think that explains why Texas looks to be a blood-red bastion of far-right lunatics.  It’s why Rick Perry has been able to hold onto the governorship like the Pope and why Ted Cruz easily won a Senate seat last year, despite his extremist views.

The state’s Democratic Party hopes to turn its political establishment a striking royal blue.  I personally don’t want to see Texas metamorphose into another California or Illinois where extreme taxation and heavy regulations drive away businesses.  But, I definitely don’t want it to remain mired in crimson red.  A nice fuchsia would be more palatable, but I’m not a color maven.

The study noted – not surprisingly – that people with higher levels of education are more likely to vote.  Thus, it recommended improving civic literacy through education, starting at the grade school level.  But, recent cuts by the Texas legislature in education funding may make that challenging.  Conservative state officials moved Heaven and Earth to ban abortion, but don’t have too much concern for those children once they reach school.  Hence, the need for voting.

It’s actually an embarrassment.  I’ve made a concerted effort to vote in every major state and national election since 1992.  Obviously, I haven’t always seen the results I’d like – but, at least I tried to make a difference.

Low voter turnouts appears to be a national trend.  Last year only some 57.5% of eligible voters made it to the polls; lower than in the 2 previous elections, but surpassing the dismal rate of 54.2% set in 2000.  Critics at the time liked to point out that more people voted in “American Idol” than in the 2000 presidential elections.  When you realize that, in 2012, Mexican voters turned out at a rate of 62.45% – despite the omnipresent threats of violence and endemic corruption – it certainly speaks poorly of Americans.

Voting is like budgeting: you just can’t let things go and hope for the best.  It requires work and patience.  It’s what any civilized society – not just the United States – is all about.  It’s the foundation of democracy.  It really does count.

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Conjugality

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The Texas state house must still be on the typewriter system.  This is an actual ad from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who – like Governor Rick Perry – is the longest serving official in his respective position.  We grammar goons were quick to notice that the correct verbiage should be “is,” as in ‘Neither of which is taught in schools.’  The word ‘neither’ is singular; therefore, so should the corresponding verb.  If that’s too much for a Friday night, I understand.  In a seemingly unrelated event, Texas gets a D+ in school financing.

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United Hamlets of Texas

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Once again, my beloved home state of Texas is in the news for all the wrong reasons.  We used to make headlines for our space program and oil patch revenues.  Now, it’s the glaring call for “Secession.”  Two years ago Governor Rick Perry publicly toyed with the idea of secession; claiming he didn’t want Washington elitists interfering with our business – especially any half-blooded Negroes who might occupy the White House.  After he won a third term that fall, he denied rumors he would seek the presidency, again stating, in effect, that would betray his anti-Washington stance.  Then, he went back on his word and jumped into the presidential race last year; ultimately embarrassing the crap out of the Lone Star State.  We moderates didn’t like him much anyway, but now, he’s our version of the anti-Christ.

But, the “S” word has reared its ugly head again; this time in the form of a petition a group of Texans actually have submitted to the White House.  The petition reads, in part:

“Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s [sic] citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.”

As of now, more than 118,000 people have signed it.  If I had my way, I’d secede them and any subsequent followers to a boat in the middle of the Atlantic.  Unfortunately, though, the White House – by federal law – now has to take this mess seriously.  We’re in the midst of an economic crisis, and our troops still haven’t left that oversized latrine known as Afghanistan.  But, the Obama Administration will have to spend precious time and resources giving a pack of disgruntled moonshining acolytes the attention they didn’t get from their own trailer park families.

Never mind that, should Texas actually manage to secede, we’d lose tens of millions of dollars in federal funding for highway infrastructure, education and our slew of military bases.  But, if Texas does become its own nation, I have to wonder how our constitution and “Bill of Rights” would read.  From El Paso to Texarkana and Amarillo to Brownsville, what would become of all of us?

Would our currency have a picture of Rick Perry holding a gun or a pair of fallopian tubes?

Would we have to build an electrified fence along our border with New México?  I can understand Louisiana and Arkansas, but New México?!

Will our national history begin with David Crockett and Jim Bowie, instead of c. 9,000 B.C.?

Will everyone above the age of 10 months be required to carry a gun?

Will there be a border crossing bridge into Oklahoma?

What will we bomb after we’ve destroyed all the Planned Parenthood offices?

Will Ann Richards’ body be disinterred and reburied at sea?

Will the Bush clan be declared our royal family?

Will everyone with Spanish surnames have to get branded?

Will Chuck Norris be our ambassador to the United States?  Or, will it be Ted Nugent?

Will legitimate rape be included in the “Texas Bill of Rights”?

Will the Civil War be renamed “The Great Freedom Battle”?

Will the term “slavery” be replaced with “low-skilled labor”?

Will chicken fried steak be considered a delicacy?

What will be the official national religion – Southern Baptist or Smith & Wesson?

Will art museums be considered communist propaganda?

When will open season on Muslims, Jews and Wiccans begin?

Will foot-binding become fashionable again?

Will Texas Supreme Court justices still wear black robes, or switch to leather chaps?

So the death penalty will only apply to retarded people now, right?

Will shooting and killing any non-White person be classified as a misdemeanor?

Will rap music be outlawed?

If Lady Gaga tries to make it into Texas, will she be shot on sight?

Will TV shows like 20/20 and Dancing with the Stars be subtitled?

Will FOX News become our state-run news station?

Will every home have speakers installed through which “God Bless Texas” can be blared 5 times a day?

Will red become the official national hair color?  I’d go for that!

Will people from California and Massachusetts have to step aside at the airport for extra pat-downs?  Or, will they just be jailed as soon as they step off the plane?

Will opera and symphony companies have to shut down and be replaced by NASCAR gift shops?

If Chris Matthews tries to make it into Texas, will he be shot on sight?

Tea klux Klan_secdee

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Texas Limousine

It’s true!  Everything’s bigger in Texas!

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Our People

In the spring of 1983, while I was a first-year student at a community college in suburban Dallas, I took a historical geology course as a science requisite.  About midway through the semester, the instructor brought in a guest speaker; a man who described himself as a “water rights activist.”  It was a term I’d never heard before; in fact, no one else in the class I knew had heard of it.  Water rights, of course, are part of the overall environmental movement, and people are giving it much more scrutiny now as climate change becomes critical.  The man (I can’t recall his name) explained how large populations in any given location can stress out the area’s natural resources.  And, water is the most basic of all natural resources.  But, amidst his light-hearted dialogue, he suddenly mentioned illegal Mexican immigrants.  He was concerned that more people taking up residence in Texas and the rest of the southwestern U.S. were unnecessarily straining the region’s valuable resources – mainly water.  It was – and still is – a compelling argument.   And, I would have agreed with him, if he hadn’t blatantly classified all Hispanics under one group: illegal immigrants, Mexicans, “Chicanos.”

“Or, whatever those people call themselves,” he said, inciting a few chuckles from the crowd.

‘Those people?’ I repeated to myself.  He might as well have stared at the handful of Hispanics in the room and said ‘you people.’  I’ve had that thrown at me a few times.

During his speech, he pointed to a large map of the state of Texas he’d brought with him; one that displayed population centers in comparison to water resources.  “Now imagine this minus a few Chicanos,” he said, before proceeding to explain further what it was all about.

I forgot what he said because I’d lost interest in him.  He was no longer jovial and quaint; he was arrogant and bigoted.  Every fact he uttered after he presented his map was lost.  I had grown angry.  I already knew by then that my father’s paternal ancestors had been in Texas since the 1580’s.  My father’s later genealogical research proved just how much influence our family had on Texas some 200 years before it joined the United States.  But, in 1983, I was a rather naïve 19-year-old who was just becoming aware of his surroundings.  I’d already faced some prejudice in high school.  But, here I was in college; higher academia; in a science class.  And, a 50-something Anglo man essentially referred to me as a “Chicano” and an “illegal immigrant.”

He then did something totally bizarre; he extracted a guitar and belted out a homemade tune about some long-standing Texas politician.  Again, I forgot the name because I was too annoyed with the “water rights activist” by now.  When he finished squawking, the classroom erupted into delighted applause.  I remained mute, my hands on my lap.

After the next class, I approached the instructor and asked if she could make time for a meeting in her office.  I wanted to talk to her about that guest speaker.  I wanted to be a diplomatic.  She said yes, and I met her later in the day.  I explained how offended I was by his verbiage, adding that me and most other Hispanics were born and raised in the U.S.  She was surprised by my reaction.  She literally had no idea and fumbled an apology.

That was in 1983, and now, nearly two decades later, with the clown show known as the 2012 presidential campaign season in full swing, I’m almost contemptuous of politicians’ attempts to placate the Hispanic vote.  Moreover, I’m still annoyed to find that the issue of immigration – specifically illegal immigration – seems to be the only concern of the Hispanic American community.  I know many Hispanics give that impression with their own focus on immigration.  But, like most people in the U.S., my biggest grievance is the economy, along with unemployment.

Hispanics have a longer history in this country than any other ethnic group, save Indigenous Americans, with whom we share a common heritage.  Spaniards established the first permanent European colony in what is now North America.  But, in modern times, we still had to work hard to attain our fair share of the American dream, combating blatant racism and the old guard status quo that dictated where we could live and work.  Now, we’re mixed up in this awful immigration fight with no easy solutions; a fiasco that has people on all sides paranoid and angry.

I don’t support illegal immigration – from Latin America or anywhere in the world.  The laws are very clear: you cannot enter the United States without proper documentation.  Hispanics have fought long and hard for equal rights in employment, housing, education and all other aspects of American life.  Sneaking across the border under the cover of darkness is not one of them.  It never was and it never will be.  That viewpoint has made me a traitor in the eyes of many other Hispanics; both American-born and immigrant.  But, I structure my opinions around other people’s sentiments.  I consider myself an American first; a proud mix of Spanish, Mexican Indian and German extraction.  Some of my own ancestors fought for Texas against Mexico – including one with my exact name!  The much-heralded Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, along with most of the others, were outsiders; that is, non-Texans.

Many Americans are upset with the mass influx of illegal immigrants who have disregarded our laws.  If only the latter group would show some respect for our country and emigrate legally, there wouldn’t be much of a problem.  But, their actions have generated an unprecedented level of fear among some folks – especially the narrow-minded – and allowed all Latinos to be branded with the unsavory title of “illegal alien.”

While my paternal ancestry in Texas extends back to the late 16th century, I am also the son of an immigrant.  My mother was born just outside México City.  But, she was already a U.S. citizen at birth, since her father was born in Michigan.  After my maternal grandmother died in 1940, my grandfather moved his four kids to Dallas where he’d found a job in the midst of World War II.  His mother-in-law, who already spoke fluent English, came with them.  My grandfather got his children social security numbers immediately and insisted that they speak only English in that household.  Some Hispanics laugh at me when I tell them my mother was born in México.  They get even uglier when I tell them my grandfather was German-American.  You don’t make friends with people by mocking their families.  It’s ironic though; in high school, it was the Anglo and Irish kids who hurled racist statements at me.  Now, it’s other Hispanics.

Several years ago, during the Independence Day weekend, a friend and I went nightclubbing.  We started at a Tejano bar just north of downtown Dallas.  I donned my American flag vest; something I usually wear during the Memorial and Independence Day periods.  But, on that one night, my friend suggested I remove it before we enter that Tejano bar; noting that, if anything, I should be wearing a Mexican flag vest, lest I offend the crowd.

“Excuse me?!” I replied.  “This is the United States; not México!  If someone doesn’t like that I’m wearing this American flag vest, they’re more than welcome to tell it to my face – in Spanish or English.  And then, stand back and watch while I rip their head off and dump shit down their throat.”

He didn’t pursue the matter, and I didn’t remove the vest.  No one complained about it – at least not to me.

Some people accuse me of being confused or conflicted.  I’m neither.  One girl dubbed me a “coconut” – brown on the outside and white on the inside.  “Well,” I told her, “I am White – White as in Spaniard and German.”  It seemed I had to remind her – as I do many people – that Spaniards are “White,” too; as in European, as in Caucasian.  Read my essay, “Name Calling,” and you’ll get a sense how ridiculous that racial stuff can get.

The U.S. is at a crossroads; an uncomfortable fork of its own making.  Some large companies and farms began employing illegal immigrants – mostly Mexicans – so they could avoid paying decent wages and health care costs and skirt OSHA safety laws.  As many states and individual cities target illegal immigrants, some of those farms and meat-packing plants find themselves idle; there’s no one to do that kind of work.  That kind of work is hard and dirty.  The often-spoiled American middle and upper classes can’t imagine themselves in such positions.  If it doesn’t involve Microsoft and a laptop, it seems they want nothing to do with it.  When former Mexican president Vicente Fox stated several years ago that Mexican immigrants do the work in the U.S. that our nation’s Black population won’t, he got branded a racist and a bigot by the usual voices on the far left: Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc.  But, I can relay from first-hand experience that, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, large numbers of Hispanic immigrants poured into New Orleans to help clean up and rebuild the city.  While the mostly Black population was airlifted to other cities where they took up residence in hotels and sports stadiums, Mexicans, Guatemalans and the like were making their way into the decimated “Crescent City” to make it habitable again.  I don’t believe the far left complained about that part of the racial divide.

President Obama and his supporters can laud the “Dream Act” all they want.  But, it’s not my issue.  Even though I’ve been unemployed for some time, I’m not likely to run to the nearest chicken slaughter house or peach orchard to look for work.  Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out how he and his trophy wife can appeal to Hispanic voters without offending the Republican base that has come to loathe Latinos.  Immigration isn’t a Hispanic issue; it’s an American issue.  I want political operatives to stop placing Latinos beneath that single umbrella – immigrants, illegal immigrants, Chicanos.  ‘You people.’  Our people.  We’re American people.  We don’t all look alike and we certainly don’t all think alike.

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Quote of the Day

“You can’t make anybody watch, okay?  Because you just have to close your eyes.  As long as it’s on the exterior and not the interior.” 

— Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, off-handedly dismissing concerns about pending state legislation that could require a transvaginal ultrasound for a woman seeking an abortion.  Texas already has a similar law on its books.

Yes, yes, little woman!  Just close your eyes while we ram this rod up your crotch to save you from yourself! 

 

Courtesy ArcaMax Comics

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