Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

Quick solution? By all means!

“People want a quick solution. The long-term solution here is to address the mental health issue.”

So said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott when a Fox Propaganda Network interviewer asked him about public opinion surveys indicating widespread support for legislative action in the wake of the Allen mall massacre that killed eight victims.

Yes, we want a “quick solution.” We are entitled to demand quick action. As for the mental health matter, which Abbott favors, we can work on that too.

So, here’s an idea: How about instituting a ban on AR-15 rifle purchases while working forthrightly on the mental health issues that drive madmen such as the Allen mall lunatic to kill innocent victims?

There must be a “quick solution” provided by government. Will it prevent all future acts of insanity from occurring? Probably not, but the public is demanding our government to take decisive action.

This is what we elect our leaders to do!


These issues aren’t mutually exclusive

Let’s try to comprehend what I believe is a simple proposition, which is that fighting mental health issues and seeking to legislate meaningful laws restricting gun ownership are not mutually exclusive.

I touched on that in an earlier blog post in the wake of the shooting rampage in Allen, Texas, this past weekend; eight people were shot to death before an Allen police officer killed the loon who opened fire with an AR-15.

I salute the officer’s swift response. I also want to offer a comment on “competing” solutions being offered by leading politicians.

One of them, Democratic President Biden wants Congress to ban AR-15s outright; he wants Congress to enact universal background checks on those seeking to buy a firearm; and he wants Congress to increase the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years.

Is the president dismissing the need to deal forthrightly with mental health concerns? Of course not!

The other is Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who wants to concentrate on mental health research while shoving gun control proposals to the back burner.

Is the governor saying “hell no!” to any legislation? I didn’t hear him say that.

Let me state once more: These two approaches can be handled simultaneously. We need not ignore one while working exclusively on the other.

The issue continues, in my mind at least, to be the easy access to guns. The Allen mall shooter reportedly was discharged from the Army because of “mental health issues.” Why, then, was he allowed to reportedly own an AR-15, a high-capacity semi-automatic rifle capable of killing a lot of human beings in a matter of seconds?

If you have seen an AR-15 up close you might need to know that the weapon is eerily similar to an M-16, the rifle we were issued when we reported for duty in Vietnam. They are weapons of war.

Furthermore, there is nothing in President Biden’s priority list that contradicts the Second Amendment’s guarantee for citizens to “keep and bear arms.” He just wants to be sure that those of us who obey the law and who aren’t pre-disposed to harming other human beings don’t have access to these weapons.

What in the name of humanity is wrong with that?


GOP set to impose religion in public schools

Pass the Pepto … because my gut is starting to churn over a highly contentious issue making its way out of the Texas Legislature.

The state Senate has approved a bill that would require public schools in Texas to display the Ten Commandments.

Oh, boy! Here we go.

It’s headed to the House, with its own Republican majority. Any bets on whether it ends up on GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk and on whether Abbott will sign it into law? I didn’t think so.

Why is issue so troublesome for me? For starters, I need to stipulate that I have no particularly strong personal objection to the Ten Commandments being displayed in public schools. The commandments, let us remember, are chronicled in the Old Testament, which tells of the instruction Moses received from the Almighty.

That’s out of the way.

However … the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates several civil liberties. The first of them declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion … ” Hmm. What does that mean, precisely?

It means, as I read it, that Congress’ prohibition is exclusive to that body. Meaning that Congress can’t enact a law. Does that also preclude state legislatures? Maybe I’m splitting hairs. I also understand fully that the founders created a secular government that is supposed to be free from religion.

Does it preclude religious influence? No, not that I can tell.

The Ten Commandments clearly are a religious statement, given to us by God Almighty. Public schools are government entities, paid for with taxpayer funds, some of which come from individuals and families that might object to any element of religion being installed in public school system. Is it fair to them to expose them to a statement they could find objectionable? No, which is what the founders realized when they created a secular Constitution.

I am not going to mount a protest if the Legislature sends this bill to Abbott’s desk and Abbott signs it.

I just fear we are about to head down that proverbial slippery slope.


Define ‘CRT,’ please

I need someone to offer a definition of “critical race theory.” From all I have been able to discern, I have determined it is made up, fiction, something created from nothing.

And yet … culture warriors on the right wing of the political divide keep tossing CRT out there as some sort of “enemy” of what they perceive to be “normal.”

What the hell is it?

I get that it’s become a target of the likes of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is banning it in public schools there. Same for Texas, where another Republican governor — Greg Abbott — with possible White House ambitions is furthering the debate against CRT. He’s got a mostly Republican elected State Board of Education on his side to aid in the fight against an unseen and unknown adversary.

CRT is seen by some as a method to denigrate the nation’s history. What? They don’t like discussing such issues as, oh, slavery, which — yep! — existed in this country until we went to war with ourselves in 1861. Remember what you learned? White slaveowners held Blacks in bondage, owned human beings like property; Blacks were considered to be three-fifths human.

Our children aren’t supposed to learn about that? Teachers are instructed to avoid talking about it? Ridiculous! It’s part of our nation’s mostly glorious history.

Still, I am waiting for someone to define CRT to me in a manner that I can grasp.

I’m all ears.


Not very hospitable … governor

Greg Abbott has delivered a gut punch to the notion that Texas is a hospitable place to visit, even for those who might have political disagreements with the individual who serves as its governor.

Gov. Abbott greeted President Biden the other day in West Texas as the president came to take a look at the immigrant crisis along our border with Mexico.

What did Abbott do upon shaking Biden’s hand? He handed him a shi**y note in which he blamed the Biden administration for the crisis, demanding that he do something to end it and suggesting that the president wasn’t doing the job to which he was elected.

Well …

I get that Abbott is angry that it took Biden so long to see the state’s border with Mexico. The president has earned much of the criticism he is getting for his perceived apathy toward the matter.

But, c’mon, man! Abbott is showing his partisan stripes when he chastises the president so openly and in full public view.

He could have written something, like: Thank you for coming, Mr. President. We know you care about the border crisis we are facing here. Accordingly, I am willing to work with you — hand in glove, shoulder to shoulder — to repair the problems that are causing so much grief here. We just need more involvement from the federal government.

Abbott didn’t do that. Instead, he wrote: “All of this is happening because you have violated your constitutional obligation to defend the States against invasion through faithful execution of federal laws.”

Many of us believe that Abbott is playing hardball politics when cooperation and the search for common ground would be in order.

Someone would do well to whisper in Abbott’s ear this truth: The federal government needs a signal that you are on the same team as the president of all 50 United States of America.


Hope continues to spring forth

My optimistic wellspring isn’t bottomless, but it remains quite full. Thus, I want to share briefly my holiday wish for two levels of government: state and federal.

Two new legislative assemblies are about to take office. The Texas Legislature and Congress will be seated soon after New Year’s Day. They’ll take oaths to protect the Constitution and defend it against enemies “foreign and domestic.”

My hope for them both is that every one of the 535 members of the U.S. Senate and House, along with every one of the 181 members of the Texas Senate and House remain faithful to the letter of those oaths.

Accordingly, my hope is that two chief political executives, one Democrat and one Republican, work to bridge the chasm that divides the major parties within those legislative chambers.

I am acutely aware of President Biden’s demonstrated ability to do so. He served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years before becoming vice president in 2009, where he served ably for two terms. He has boasted of his ability to work with even the most conservative members of Congress. In fact, he was able to do so while serving as VP during the Obama administration.

So far as president, his legislative acumen has produced limited results. Biden has had to rely on Democrats in the House and Senate to carry legislation through to becoming law.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s legislative skill is less pronounced and less demonstrable. He did not serve in the Texas Legislature before becoming governor. He cut his government teeth as a trial court judge, as a Texas Supreme Court justice and as state attorney general.

As governor, he has toed a sometimes-harsh party line. My hope for Abbott is that he finds it within himself to seek common ground with legislative Democrats. I am not going to wait breathlessly for that to happen, but I will retain a glimmer of hope that he’ll deliver the goods.

These are not ambitious wishes from some chump sitting out here in the cheap seats. What I am asking is pretty minimal. Sometimes, even minimal requests can produce monumental results.

So, my hope continues into the new year.


Open borders? Where?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t answer a direct question posed by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz.

She prefaced the question by stating that President Biden never has said he favors “open borders.” The only people making that contention are Republican foes of the Democratic president. Gov. Abbott is one of them.

Is it the GOP mantra that is spawning the massive influx of migrants to our southern border? Raddatz asked Abbott that question directly, as it was broadcast this morning.

He didn’t answer it. He veered somewhere else with some rambling response about the chaos that will develop if a Donald Trump-era restriction is lifted.

C’mon, governor … aren’t Republican critics’ lies and demagoguery about an “open border” fueling this crisis?


Border security? Yes, but …

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a mainstream agenda for the Legislature to consider when it convenes in January, and I want to endorse the tone of the items Patrick presented.

Border security — along with property tax relief and strengthening the state’s electrical grid — is a solid agenda item for the state to tackle.

I want to offer an important caveat in backing Patrick’s border security push. I do not want him to demagogue the issue — as he has done already — by declaring that President Biden favors an “open border.” Joe Biden does not favor an open border and his policies since taking office illustrate the point.

The feds continue to detain immigrants every day. They send some of them back, they send others to holding areas for processing. Our southern border — and northern border, for that matter — is not an open border.

Does the state have a role to play? Of course it does! Gov. Greg Abbott has been sending Department of Public Safety troopers to the Valley to lend aid and support to Border Patrol officers and local police. The state needs to buttress its high-tech surveillance as well to catch undocumented migrants.

Let us not concentrate on building walls along our border, which given the presence of the Rio Grande River along our state’s entire southern border, presents the state with a nearly impossible goal of keeping all migrants from entering the United States.

I want to encourage the newly re-elected lieutenant governor to take the high road when discussing border security.

Demagoguery only makes your foes angry.


Confused by GOP dominance

I am going to admit what ought to be obvious: The Republican dominance of the Texas political landscape is confusing in the extreme to me.

Every GOP statewide candidate running for election or re-election in the just-completed midterm campaign won by a lot over their Democratic challenger. Leading the way, of course, was Gov. Greg Abbott, who won re-election to a third term by 11% over Beto O’Rourke … who I believe now needs to get back to working a day job and bringing home a paycheck. Beto’s days as a pol appear to be over.

The rest of the ballot showed similar victories. Perhaps most stunning to me was the result of the Texas attorney general’s contest. GOP incumbent Ken Paxton pounded Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza by a margin similar to what Abbott scored.

What baffles me is how Paxton managed such an impressive victory while campaigning under the shadow of a state felony indictment that came down in 2015, just after Paxton took office. The indictment alleges securities fraud. Paxton hasn’t gone to trail yet. It is not even clear when that will happen.

Moreover, there have been questions relating to the way he runs the AG’s office; seven top deputies quit and then blew the whistle on Paxton, alleging that he does favors for a top donor, suggesting criminal behavior.

Texas Democrats keep talking a good game about wrestling some of these offices out of GOP hands. Every election cycle, though, produces the same sorry result: Republicans win by comfortable margins.

Yes, the state’s population is growing rapidly. Its demography is changing to what “experts” suggest is a more Democrat-friendly electorate.

I want the state to become more of a battleground, with the two major parties battling head-to-head over ideas, philosophy and policy. I am tired of Republicans winning these fights and then foisting their far right-wing agenda on a population that doesn’t buy into it.

When will it change? I do not know. I am just going to keep wishin’ and hopin’ the day comes sooner rather than later.


It’s no ‘invasion’!

Let’s examine the word “invasion,” which has become the favorite term Republicans use to describe what is occurring along our southern border.

My trusty, dog-eared American Heritage Dictionary describes it this way: “The act of invading, especially entrance by force; a large-scale onset of something harmful, such as a disease; an intrusion or encroachment.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent President Biden and Texas county judges a letter recently in which he sprinkled the term in his note seeking federal assistance in coping with the border crisis.

Abbott ramps up “invasion” rhetoric, a reminder of El Paso mass shooting | The Texas Tribune

I detest the word used in this context. It conjures up to many Latinos living in, say, El Paso, the message in a hateful manifesto written by a lunatic who opened fire in a shopping complex in 2019, killing 23 people.

What is occurring along our southern border can be described in a lot of ways. Yes, it is a crisis. I do not believe it is right to describe a procession of people seeking refuge from tyranny in their home countries as an invasion force.

An invasion is the kind of action that nations take against each other. You know, kinda like when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 to trigger the start of World War II.

What is occurring these days does not qualify as an invasion. It is a humanitarian crisis of the first order. Gov. Abbott is feeling mighty frisky coming off his big re-election victory.

He also is assuming the role of cruel demagogue.