Archive for June, 2014

Messing with Texas: Lambast Nation

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Don't Mess With TexasRik and I were driving north of Dallas recently when I saw two new freeway names. The road we were on has been named the Sam Johnson Highway. Ick!

In the early 1990, Sam Johnson was the right-wing politician who wanted to round up all gay men to put them in a concentration camp. He said that’s the only way to protect Texans from HIV/AIDS.

Johnson is still in Congress. His constituents think he’s doing a good job.

We crossed a big new road named after Sam Rayburn. I presume that road goes through Bonham, Rayburn’s home. This man was Speaker of the US House of Representatives. We have the phrase “Yellow Dog Democrat” thanks to Speaker Rayburn. Somebody asked him if he’d ever vote for a Republican, he said he’d sooner vote for an old “yeller dog.”

Sam Rayburn’s road is bigger and fancierfancier
➤ (n) a person having a strong liking for something
than Sam Johnson’s. I think he’d lIke that. He was a rarity: an honest politician. His 17 years as Speaker of the House was the longest tenure in US history.

Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, two advocates for ccivil rights.

Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, two advocates for ccivil rights.

Sam Rayburn was hardly liberal, but he knew government needed to watch out for the poor and disenfranchised. He’s the one credited with lighting the fires of civil rights with Lyndon Johnson. There were two competing factions in the Texas Democratic party: liberal, conservative.

Texas is currently run by the Sam Johnson crowd. It wasn’t always that way.

The Lone Star state gave us Speaker Jim Wright, a liberal from Fort Worth (my hometown). He’s a friend. It was fun to watch as my GOP-leaning dad winced when Speaker Wright came to our table in a restaurant just to say Hi to me. Dad would look around to see if any of his GOP buddies were watching.

I worked for some Texas politicians: Preston Smith (good-old boy Democrat). And Sissy Farenthold, who would have made an awesome and liberal governor.

Sissy Farenthold

Sissy Farenthold

Farenthold and Wright couldn’t even get started now. That’s mainly because of what Tom DeLay… an evangelical right-wing politician from southwest of Houston. DeLay pushed hard to get Congressional districts redrawn to favor other right-wing candidates. Democrats and liberal Republicans have been forced to the back of the bus. Tom DeLay was eventually convicted of elections fraud, but his gerrymandered districts are still in place.

To get elected in DeLay’s Texas, you have to go hard right because today’s districts are drawn to give hard right candidates the edge. So we get Louie Gohmert.

After suggesting that the House move to arrest Eric Holder, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Washington Watch host Tony Perkins last week that the push for marriage equality undermines biology and will inevitably lead the “country down the road to the dustbin of history.” []


Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). So many gaffes, so little time.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX).
So many gaffes, so little time.

Joe Barton, a goofy nutcase representing a large swath just south of Dallas, is the one who apologized to BP when the feds fined them for that big oil spill in the Gulf. He hates wind energy, saying a bunch of windmills will slow down the world’s winds. His constituents are pleased with this guy.

If Texas has any hope for the future, it’s the racial mix. Older white guys are now in the minority. Hispanics are in a growing majority.

Until then, I hope to keep,calling out the idiots, making fun of the nut cases that embarrass my home state.

So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. [Molly Ivins]