It’s one thing to be called “crazy” by a Florida congressman, who in a previous life was a federal judge who got impeached and then tossed out of office by the U.S. Senate.
Alcee Hastings’ description of Texas didn’t sit well with some Texans. One of them is fellow U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess of, yes, Texas, who demanded an apology from Hastings.
It kind of reminds me of a family that fights among its members and an outsider joins the fight. You dare not join that family squabble. Make no mistake, some Texans actually might agree with Rep. Hastings. Others, though, disagree — vehemently. But that’s best left for Texans to argue among themselves.
Actually, our state has taken some strange turns over many years. I’ll concede that the current political climate here isn’t to my liking. I believe more than three decades living in Texas entitles me to chime in.
So, I will.
During our time in Texas, my family and I have watched the state turn from moderately Democratic to overwhelmingly Republican. Prior to our arrival in Texas in 1984, the state was much more heavily Democratic. Why, there once was a time when Democrats occupied every statewide office and all but one seat in the 31-member Texas Senate.
I’m betting Republicans around the country were calling us “crazy” in those days, too.
Now that we’ve turned all-GOP all the time, it’s Democrats who are hanging the crazy label on our politics and policy.
There some evidence that we’ve gone a little but loony in the Lone Star State. Texans keep electing some, um, interesting politicians to high office.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler just won’t accept that the president of the United States is constitutionally qualified to hold his office; our most recent former governor, Rick Perry, once came very close to suggesting that Texas might secede from the Union if the federal government didn’t stop taxing us so much; we have elected an attorney general, Ken Paxton, who’s been scolded by the state for soliciting clients improperly; our Legislature is likely to enact a law that allows folks to carry weapons in the open and it might approve a bill that gives folks permission to carry weapons onto college campuses; Texas still allows for partisan election of judges, which always results in superior candidates losing simply because they are affiliated with the “wrong” political party.
That’s just for starters.
One-party domination breeds craziness born of arrogance. Democrats wielded great influence in this state almost since its joining the Union in 1845 until the late 1970s. Our state Supreme Court — comprising all Democrats — became so friendly to the plaintiff’s bar that it became the subject of a “60 Minutes” probe into whether the justices were on the take. Then the state became a two-party battleground. For the past two decades, Texas has been a Republican playground.
And just as Democrats produced their own brand of craziness in the old days, Republicans have earned the right to be called crazy.
I’d rather we reserve the name-calling, though, for those of us who live with the craziness.
So, Rep. Hastings? Butt out!
OK, having said all that, here’s a link written by a columnist in Roanoke, Va. It was sent to me by a dear friend who lives there, but who grew up in West Texas. He knows Texas better than most folks I know.
Enjoy this bit of crazy talk.