Texas, My Texas

I was born here, in Texas. Lived here every single day since, coming up on 64 years.

I love my state. I’m proud to be a Texan. Although, being one in summer gets a little uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, Texas is getting a lot of attention these days, for the worst imaginable reasons, making me far more ashamed than proud.

Chiefly among them, all the shooting and killing going on here, most recently at a shopping mall in Allen, just north of Dallas. Some guy rolled up in the parking lot, got out of his vehicle, and just started shooting people randomly, including children. As of now, there are eight people dead, including the shooter.

Incidentally, this was one of three reported mass shootings in the US on Saturday.

The one in Allen comes just a week after a mass shooting in Cleveland, Texas, where people were killed by someone who was mad at his neighbors for asking him to stop firing his AR-15 rifle outside, so their baby could sleep. After basically telling them, “It’s my yard, and I’ll shoot if I want to,” the neighbors threatened calling the police, so he got that AR-15 and shot them, instead. He killed five people, including a nine-year-old boy.

After the Allen shooting, the customary useless “thoughts and prayers” emanated from Austin. I swear, there is no emptier phrase in the English language by now.

And if that’s not bad enough, here’s the brilliant solution proposed by one Texas Representative, according to several news sources:

“A Texas lawmaker has proposed a bill to ensure that children as young as eight-years-old receive annual training to man bleeding control stations. (italics mine)

“Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins — who has proposed the law — has said that since the mass school shooting at Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde that killed 19 fourth graders and two teachers, children should receive this training to save lives, according to CBS Austin.”

Yeah. Train school kids how to stop their classmates from bleeding to death. Don’t tell us we don’t take action! We can’t prevent your getting shot in the first place, but you’ll be shown how to use a tourniquet.

Now, some other reasons I’m ashamed of Texas these days include:

“Texas is leading the country when it comes to clean energy. But that hasn’t stopped state Republicans from introducing a bevy of new legislation that aims to stifle the state’s thriving clean energy industry, according to several recent news reports.” (insideclimatenews.org)

“HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The Republican-controlled Texas Senate has just passed a bill that would let Gov. Greg Abbott and his appointees overturn elections in Harris County. It comes in response to the 2022 mid-term elections last fall, in which Democrats performed better than expected.”

“CNN — The Texas Senate passed a bill Thursday requiring each public school classroom to display a copy of the Ten Commandments, a move that drew backlash from civil liberty advocates who say lawmakers should not dictate what religious materials students are exposed to.”

“Five women are suing Texas over its near-total abortion ban, saying they were denied abortion care despite having complications that put their lives and fetuses at risk.” (Austin-American Statesman)

“Texas AG Ken Paxton probing Austin children’s hospital following video of social worker discussing transition-related care” (Texas Tribune)

And that’s just a sample, folks.

I’m not a drinking man, but do you see how easily I could become one?

But, what do you expect from a state whose biggest political names are Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton and Ted Cruz?

It’s maddening, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s mightily depressing.

Fortunately, though, there are some fellow Texans who believe, as do I, that we can, we MUST, be better than this.

And we will be. Just don’t know when, exactly. But my love for Texas hasn’t wavered, despite the actions (or inaction) of some of her “leaders.”

This is still my home, and I ain’t leaving just because of a few irresponsible blockheads.

Greg, Ken, Ted, and the rest of you, what is our state motto? Let me remind you:


Texas GOP Follies

donald trump lost the 2020 presidential election.

Period. Exclamation point. Double underline.

Despite atempt after attempt after attempt to challenge it, trump’s repeated denial of it, and the insurrection on January 6th, 2021 to try and overturn it, it remains a solid, incontrovertible fact.

Most of the United States has accepted that, though a certain segment has done so begrudgingly. A lot of folks don’t like it, but at least have the good sense to admit it.

Which brings us to last weekend’s convention of the Texas GOP, the living embodiment of what Forrest Gump’s mother told him:

Stupid is as stupid does.

These guys adopted a party platform at their convention in Houston that, upon reading, left me in shock, disbelief, horror, disgust, and just outright anger.

You’ve heard of the Five Stages of Grief? I think I went through the Five Stages of Pissed Off.

Not to mention, utter embarrassment for my home state. We already were a laughingstock, and this sure doesn’t help any.

To list all the outrageous things declared in this platform would take more than a single post – much more – but I’ll just mention a few:

Regarding the aforementioned 2020 election – which, I will remind you again, trump lost – the Texas GOP party platform includes a resolution stating, in part: “We reject the certified results of the 2020 presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”

Yes. It actually says that. Proving that facts that are inconvenient to these people are simply wrong. They’re kissing trump’s tookis so hard, they’re gonna leave bruises.

Not content with stopping there, the platform also issues a rebuke to the 10 Senate Republicans involved in the bipartisan talks on gun legislation — including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who was booed during his speech Friday at the convention.

The platform states that “all gun control is a violation of the Second Amendment and our God given rights.”

I’m just gonna say this once. God never, ever gave anyone the right to carry a gun. You believe otherwise, you have no idea who God is.

Oh, and then, there’s this: the platform calls for a referendum “in the 2023 general election for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation,” asserting elsewhere that “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States.”

Yep, secession fever is flaring up again. Won’t get anywhere, of course; the US Constitution, the US Supreme Court and legal experts all agree that Texas cannot do this. (Which will disappoint Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who wrote a piece titled, “Texas Republicans Want to Secede? Good Riddance.”)

And I haven’t even got to what this platform says about abortion, voting rights, gay and transgender rights, the World Health Organization, the Federal Reserve, the United Nations, education and oh, so much more. If you think you’ve got the stomach for it, read the whole thing here.

Now, of course, this is only the platform; none of it is policy.


But it gives a clear picture of what’s on these people’s minds. And I don’t like it the least little bit.

Speedy Thoughts and Prayers — claytoonz

Cartoonist Clay Jones contributes this cartoon and essay regarding the absolutely shameless, conscience-free gathering this weekend of the National Rifle Association in, of all places, Texas. My home state, though I’m more embarrassed by the day to admit that. Thanks, Clay, for speaking truth to brazenness. Larry

While drawing this cartoon, I was afraid Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott would pull out of speaking at this weekend’s NRA convention in Houston, because it would be the right thing to do after a mass shooting with an assault rifle killed 19 children in their state. But fortunately, at least […]

Speedy Thoughts and Prayers — claytoonz

Get Out There!

This one’s for all my fellow Texans. The rest of you can just wait for the next post.

Okay, beloved, the time is upon us. Tuesday, March 1 is Primary Day in Texas. Maybe other states, too, but I’m focusing on my state.

It’s time to go vote for the candidates we want to see run for office in our respective parties. This year we will elect our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Railroad Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner, State Board of Education members, County Judges, and several other positions of authority in Texas.

This is where you have a say in what kind of leaders you want to have in these positions. Voter turnout for Primary elections is traditionally very low – a little higher for Republicans than Democrats – making it more important for you to show up. You want just a handful of people determining who our candidates will be?

I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, though I certainly have my opinions. Whether you vote in the Republican or Democratic Primary, the important thing is to go do it, if you didn’t already during early voting.

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Go to https://www.vote411.org/texas#verify-voter-registration, and follow the instructions to find out.

Don’t know where your polling location is? Go to https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/, enter your address, and find the polling place(s) in your district, and the hours available to go. Simple as that.

Have any other questions or concerns about voting? Call one of these numbers for help:

1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)

1-844-YALLA-US (Arabic)

If given the option to leave a message, do so, and someone will contact you.

Full disclosure: I haven’t always been such a gung-ho advocate for voting. It’s a responsibility I’ve treated with indifference for years.

But these are different times, folks, and elections matter now like they never have before.

I’m asking you to find the time on Tuesday to do this. For Texas. And for you.