Thursday, January 19, 2006

Perry's Low Profile Item

Thanks to Phillip over at BOR for this item from DM-N regarding Perry's attempt to slither past the real issue close to the heart of RWR's - school vouchers. In true Republican fashion, I expect a new name for the idea to surface after the special session - maybe "Equal Opportunity Rebates" or "Fresh Start Grants" or some other, I am sure, more confusing name. Here's what I'll do - I'll offer Candidate Larry's famous "Fish Killer" hat to anybody who correctly identifies the new Republican voucher meme before it first appears in the main stream media.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What does “God-fearing” mean anymore, anyway?

This blog is, generally (and obviously) speaking to local politics. Specifically, it's about the workings of the Texas Lege and how that affects the lives of those of us who live in South Texas, and what one candidate wants to do to make it better.

Andrew Greeley's latest column, while focused on the Bush administration, has a message that resonates for those of us who follow local politics, even though its focus is national. It is an article about government-sanctioned torture, but on a bigger scale, it is about the role of morality in government.

And Father Greeley is not referring to this new faux fundamentalist morality of the Religious Republican Right, such as Frank Corte sending his children to a First Baptist school because he “want[ed] them to attend a school where they can study the Bible and be able to pray", as if they couldn't read the bible or pray at a public school. I did a whole lotta prayin' in public school, believe me.

It is, I suppose, a commendable sentiment, this one of Frank's; until you realize the man consistently sells his vote to the highest bidder. His record has shown time and time again that the only principles he holds dear are the ones that directly effect his own pocketbook. Is it more moral to value cheap property development over toxin-free drinking water for all of us? Or to say that the life of a child is less valuable than the life of a CEO?

It's the most un-christian style of leadership I can think of.

Fr. Greeley put it much more elegantly.

”Unfortunately for the theory of the separation of religion and politics, many political issues are fraught with religious and moral implications. It may be that the religious heritages of those who complain about my condemnation of the present administration have no teaching in their religion about issues like just wars, lying to the American people, kidnapping and torture. They have every right to complain when a clergy person from another heritage comes along and condemns torture and denounces an administration that condones and even encourages it. I would appreciate it, however, if they'd tell me the name of their denomination.”

Or, to put it more succinctly, if you are going to call yourself a Christian, it is time to start acting like one.

As someone who was raised by real Christans, I say these politicians, so called God-fearing men, from the White House down to the Texas Lege, just make me sick. I can just imagine Jesus kicking them all out of the temple.

And since their real temple is money and power, working to unseat them all from office seems an awfully appropriate metaphor, dud'n it now?

As for religion and, more importantly, morality in politics?

It isn’t rocket science.

When I was growing up, Larry always said the following:

“Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And when we realize that the whole world is our neighbor, the rest is easy.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Now, About That Cynicism...

Ain’tcha had ’nuff?

Gov. Goodhair has been conducting secret negotiations to tax us more with tolls on roads we already bought and paid for. The average cost per family is three grand a year. Did you get to vote for that?

Here’s the deal – it all works by keeping stuff secret until there are already facts on the ground, like the 281 corridor between 1604 and Evans Road stripped of all vegetation, and sewage draining into the Edwards Aquifer, our drinking water, for one month. Then we begin to wonder how this happened – we hadn’t heard about it before. We scratch our heads, get a little mad. Then life takes over – that fender bender, that lost job, the 16 year-old getting a few “F’s” on her report card; and we lose sight of the common danger. All it means right now is some trees bulldozed and more chlorine in the water. Then, before we know it, there’s more bulldozing, more sewage leaks, or maybe a fire caused by a spark from one of those big machines on the dry grass, and we are both mad and resigned to being had again, and we’re mad as hell at all politicians, as usual.

But wait – not all politicians are so cynical. There actually are some who want sunshine in government, who want us all to have the chance to vote about such vital issues. It just happens that right now, most of them are Democrats; and I am one of them, even though to call me a politician is a stretch. I’m a Texan just like you – I just want the Lege to do what’s right for all Texans, and I want some sunshine in government. It’s real simple.

And while I’m on the subject of politicians, a note about Frank Corte who wants vouchers for private schools – vouchers paid for by you and me so that some kids can go to private schools on our nickel. Now, I’m actually sort of a fan of private schools; I graduated from a private religious college, and my wife went to parochial schools through high school. Our kids went to private schools at one time or another. But those handy vouchers, so nice for parents of kids in private schools, will take money from our public schools. If just 15 kids from each public school take state-funded vouchers and leave, each school would lose funding for three teachers. How would your kids’ school look with three less teachers? And Frank Corte thinks this would fix broken schools? Yup, the same way you fix a chair with a cracked leg by cutting off the leg.

Now that’s what cynical looks like.

Monday, January 16, 2006

What's So Important About MLK, And Why Are We Stoppin' Work Over It?

So, today we find ourselves as a nation more divided than we have been since before the Civil Rights Era. We find ourselves more divided today than we were when women were finding their collective and individual voices. We find ourselves more economically divided than we have ever been. And we are at a crossroads. Do we capitulate to the power of greed and fear? Do we just try to enjoy what we have, hoping it will not be taken away by the vagaries of fortune or politics? Do we risk what we have to find that place of amity which we used to value called the quaint name "Common Good"?

Maybe.

If we heed these words:

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.


Maybe.


Martin Luther King spoke those words about 43 years ago, and each year they resonate in the hearts of those who remember "Common Good", especially on this, his birthday.


Maybe. If we can find, again, that faith.


Thanks to Matt for this link to the whole speech.

Whatcha Readin'?

Well, this political family has had a whole lot less time for readin', I tell ya'. (Except for COMM-D, who can read with her eyes closed). But Larry is reading "God's Politics : Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It" by Jim Wallis, and "Digital Fortress" by Dan Brown. I don't even want to know what that one's about, this campaign is enough of a thriller for me. I, your weary blogger, dksbook, am reading "Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness" by Joshua Wolf Shenk. It sort of fits my mood, and is actually one of the most hopeful books I have ever read.

Now, you may have noticed that my name is dksbook. That is because I am a notorious reader and book-lover. If my mother-in-law were still alive, she'd love to just sit down and tell you how rude I am, reading right out there in the open at family reunions and how I'd rather read than sit at their table and play 42 with 'em. But I haven't read a mystery, or chick lit, or even a pornographic best-seller (they're all written by Republicans, anyway) since last summer. I don't know what's happened to me. I used to devour trashy books almost as quickly as COMM-D - and she is working and going to grad school! I am beginning to fear I have lost my focus. Eating chocolate and reading a good mystery no longer sound like a good vacation activity. Now all I want to do is sit on a beach and watch the waves for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening. Then I want to sleep from all that wave-watching. Of course, a white-jacketed bar boy bringing fruity drinks now and then would be nice, too; but I no longer see books in that picture.

Don't ask me what COMM-D is reading. She reads about 3 books a day. I guess the campaign is not giving her enough to do.

As a side-note, I want to give props to the local Democratic Precinct 3 War Room. Those guys are caffeinated and ready to roll. I expect to see Precinct 3 go blue in the next election. Stay tuned.