20 Real Problems in Texas vs. Tea Party Fantasies
by Carol Morgan
Submitted by Carol Morgan on November 17, 2012 - 11:47am
While everyone’s distracted by the ever-widening web of individuals in the Petraeus soap opera, Texas is spiraling into the theatre of the absurd, a comedic tragedy that would cause Camus to take notice.
Rick Perry’s proposal to drug test recipients of TANF and unemployment is his latest attempt to whip-up the extremists that comprise his political base. It’s nice to know the Guv continues to employ his skills as a former yell leader at A&M.
Drug testing the already discouraged and marginalized individuals is nothing more than political effect; another wild hair in the GOTP’s political playbook. Remember steroid testing? We spent $3 million to find 21 positives. If anything, Governor Perry should look to Florida for a lesson in drug testing. Only 2% of recipients tested positive. Perhaps, he should have also studied Colorado. Lawmakers did their research beforehand and found it would cost the state an additional $219,520, in addition to the $482,600 borne by individual counties.
I’m wondering…which one of Governor Perry’s campaign donors will be awarded the drug testing contract?
Even if, despite all the evidence against it, Texas did implement the testing program, it’s certain to go to the courts, just as it did in Florida. That would be Texas lawsuit #27, or is it #28? I’m sure Greg Abbott is salivating at the possibility. His addiction to urination competitions with the Feds is costing Texas taxpayers millions. Those dollars could be utilized elsewhere.
I echo the sentiments of Representative Deshotel and Fischer-Martinez; we should drug test all individuals in public office, especially Governor Perry. As Representative Fischer-Martinez commented, “He’s the largest recipient of government subsidies in the state of Texas. His subsidy for his mansion is no different from someone else’s Section 8 voucher.”
I’ve always believed there was some oxycotin in Rick Perry’s “oops moment”.
Perhaps, we should go even further; a breathalyzer for all Legislators as they file into the Capitol. I’m tired of hidden per diem money funding lawmakers’ three martini lunches.
The Governor’s office isn’t alone in wasting time on inconsequential issues that ignore Texas’ real problems. Looking at some of the bills filed last week, they range from having the Ten Commandments in every school to mandating a Constitution course in public schools. I suppose Representative Dan Flynn doesn’t know that course already exists, it’s called Government, a required course for all high school seniors. I presume he also doesn’t realize that studying the Constitution is required curriculum in 7th grade Texas history, 8th grade U.S. History, 10th grade World History, and 11th grade U.S. History.
Why aren’t the leaders in our state working on the REAL problems that exist in Texas?
Texas ranks first in executions.
Texas ranks first in the number of uninsured.
Texas ranks second in food insecurity.
Texas ranks last in mental health expenditures.
Texas was labeled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as “the worst state in America to be a child.”
Texas is 47th in tax expenditures that directly benefit their citizens.
Texas ranks last in the percent of population that has a high school diploma.
Texas ranks last in Workers’ compensation coverage.
Texas ranks 4th in the percentage of children living in poverty.
Texas ranks 2nd in the number of children enrolled in public schools.
Texas ranks 2nd in overall birth rate.
Texas ranks 49th in the number of poor people covered by Medicaid.
Texas ranks 48th in the number of people covered by employer-based health insurance.
Texas ranks 49th in per capita spending on Medicaid.
Texas ranks last in the percentage of non-elderly women with health insurance.
Texas ranks last in the percentage of women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester.
Texas ranks 49th in the average credit score of Americans.
Texas ranks 1st in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
Texas ranks 1st in the amount of toxic chemicals released into water.
Texas ranks 1st in the amount of hazardous waste generated.
With those twenty facts (and there are more), a more reasonable person might insist that lawmakers’ focus on real problems, rather than nonexistent ones.
Instead, our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and the rest of the Tea Party mob focuses on dredging up hatred and resentment of the poor and non-white population. It’s nothing more than ignorant propaganda to create an anonymous group of million-man villains, more angry echoes from behind the Pine Curtain of the East Texas GOP, with Chairman Peter Morrison labeling fellow Texans as “maggots and parasites”.
Throughout history, nationalism has been used to instigate and foment hatred as a means of controlling the masses. At its most extreme, nationalism evolves into fascism, allowing “patriots” to vent upon a common enemy and find fellowship in their unity of hatred.
In reality, it only grants more support and power to those who claim they will do something about it. While this is a tool used in many failed states and third world countries, I can’t recall it ever being used as a strategy to hold onto power in a state within the United States of America.
Drug testing, tacking Ten Commandments to school walls, vouchers, thinly-veiled attacks on women and minorities: All of these are weapons of mass seduction, appealing to the weak-minded and ignorant that compose the Perry and Tea Party base.
This is more proof that we must work hard to turn Texas purple, if not blue, by 2014.
Carol Morgan is a career counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Follow her on Twitter @CounselorCarol1, on Facebook: CarolMorgan1 and her writer’s blog at carolmorgan.org
Posted with the author’s permission.