IVP 13: Ingressive Voices Podcast- Full Text

Though Texas Leftist has been pretty quiet over the last few months, I have been so pleased to hear from readers who have also become listeners of the Ingressive Voices Podcast. The content on the podcast shares much in common with articles one would find on Texas Leftist, with the added elements of audio thrown in.

But the other day, I was asked by a listener to consider posting transcripts of the Episodes, and I kind of like the idea. Some folks prefer to read along and listen simultaneously. So we’re giving this a try!! Feel free to listen below, AND read along. That way you can even tell when I get off script LOL.

IVP 13: Lege Sine Die, Justice Democrat Eyes Texas, Lone Republican Eyes Impeachment and LGBTQIA+ Pride

==== Last week was a very big week for two of America’s largest cities, as both Dallas and San Antonio held their runoff elections.  State Representative Eric Johnson will become the next Mayor of the great City of Dallas, after he handily defeated challenger Scott Griggs by a margin of 10 percentage points.  But the race in Texas’ Second Largest city of San Antonio was much, much closer, as Mayor Ron Nirenberg narrowly held off challenger Greg Brockhouse to claim a 2nd term.  The race was decided by just a few thousand votes.  An interesting point for both cities… Once the new elected officials are installed, BOTH Dallas City Council and San Antonio City Council will be MAJORITY FEMALE  legislative entities.  Along with the City Council of Austin which is already majority female and the Fort Worth City Council which is at gender parity, 2019 marks an historic advancement in representation for Texas women in municipal elections.  In case you’re wondering, Houston still has a ways to go on this front. 

====But even if Houston and Harris County government haven’t reached gender parity, there’s still some very positive progress being made, especially on the voting and elections front.  As Zach Despart of the Houston Chronicle reports, Harris County working hard to help citizens vote…

Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday voted unanimously to apply for state approval to expand the use of countywide polling places to general elections.

County Clerk Diane Trautman said a trial run of the system during the low-turnout school board elections in May was successful. Trautman’s goal since taking office in January has been to implement countywide polling, in which voters can cast ballots at any location rather than their assigned precincts, in high-turnout general elections that can draw more than 1 million voters.

The Texas Secretary of State’s office must approve the proposal. In March, then-Secretary of State David Whitley permitted Harris County to try county-wide polling in the May election.

So the county has approved the changes, but one thing that Houstonians and Harris County voters must be sure and watch… without a Secretary of State, it will be important to watch who is appointed to this post by the Governor, and to ensure that they approve Harris County’s plans. 

==== Monday, May 27th was the official close of the Texas Legislature’s 86th session, otherwise known as Sine Die (Sign-eh Di-eh).  But, with all due apologies to the legal community, we’ve got to work on our Latin pronunciation.  Shouldn’t it be pronounced “Sine Die”?  Whatever the case, the session proved to be much less eventful on the drama front than Texans have seen previously.  Though Governor Greg Abbott couldn’t let the 86th Session go by without keeping Texans in some suspense about which bills he would sign, and which he chose to Veto.  All bills must be signed or vetoed no later than June 16th.  As discussed in the previous podcast, the signature of achievement of Texas’ school finance bill was signed into law by the governor, marking an important step to provide needed resources to Texas school kids. 

But for Democrats that might be worried about how to champion the Republican Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker’s progress now, and then worry about how to run against Republicans later, here’s a message for you from Ariana Grande… Thank You, NEXT.  There used to be a time in American Politics when people understood this concept… celebrate and join with people when they do right, but on the campaign trail, run them into the GROUND when they do wrong.  For Democrats that are glad that school finance has been improved, just say Thank You, NEXT.  What are we going to do about all of the Texans still suffering without healthcare?  When are we going to Expand Medicaid and help these people and save our rural hospitals?  It’s great that kids and schools have money for books, but if their parents get sick and die it’s still going to be a problem.  The campaign for any and ALL Democrats running in 2020, from the State Legislature to the United States Senate should be laser focused on the next BIG thing that must be done for citizens of our state.  It’s past time to expand Medicaid. 

==== And speaking of 2020, there’s some very interesting news coming up for the 2020 Federal Election in Texas.  From Julia Wallace of the Laredo Morning Times, here’s a very interesting development…

A 26-year-old Laredoan, former valedictorian of Early College High School and current immigration and human rights attorney, Jessica Cisneros is announcing her campaign Thursday to run for Congress in 2020 to represent Laredo and the rest of Texas’ 28th District, which spans from San Antonio to Mission.

“I’m super excited to finally have the opportunity,” said Cisneros to Laredo Morning Times. “I’ve been working for it and praying for it, to be able to give back to my community here in South Texas. From a very young age, I’ve known that I wanted to give back to my community. I’ve been inspired by the people here in Laredo.”

Cisneros will have the chance to give Laredo’s Rep. Henry Cuellar a serious primary challenger in this very blue district, which has solely been represented by Democrats since it was created in 1993.

Cisneros is backed by Justice Democrats, the progressive advocacy group that famously recruited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her successful primary bid to represent New York’s 14th congressional district. And Cisneros’ platform reflects Justice Democrats’ core values, which have become emblematic of the progressive left. According to a release from the Justice Democrats, they include: fixing the U.S. immigration system, ending family separations, opposing the border wall, instating a $15 minimum wage and a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, the end of corporate money influencing elections, free public college, women’s health and reproductive rights, gun reform, expanding Social Security, and making the wealthy pay their fair share.

Cisneros has pledged to reject campaign contributions from corporate political action committees and lobbyists.

Though it may be only one race so far, the fact that groups like the Justice Democrats have decided to recruit candidates in Texas represents an important shift within the state.  Cisneros’ entry into the race will be the first contested Primary for the 28th district in a decade.  It also means a high likelihood of stars like A-OC and other prominent Progressives adding some Texas stops to the campaign trail.  Keep a close eye on this race. 

====On the last episode, we discussed the situations swirling around and within the current White House, the case for Impeachment of President Trump, and the many reasons for why Impeachment proceedings should start sooner rather than later.  The case for these actions seems to strengthen by the day, even gaining new fuel from President Trump’s recent comments to George Stephanopolous saying that he would not only welcome foreign interference for the 2020 election, but that he doesn’t care to report any suspicious activities to the FBI.  Even Republicans have come out against these latest comment. 

Of course, what should be done and what is being done are obviously two different stories.  Despite overwhelming amounts of evidence, Impeachment of President Trump depends wholeheartedly on a Congress which is willing to see it through.  And on that note, lots of important developments have been happening.  

One major development?  At long last, the Republican “Red Wall” defending President Trump to no end has begun to crack.  Thankfully for us as a nation, that crack is coming from the very smart, independent-minded and articulate Michigan Congress Member Justin Amash.  In a series of carefully constructed tweets, CM Amash has gone it alone to make the growing voices for Impeachment, possibly of BOTH President Trump and Attorney General Barr, a bi-partisan effort.  Here are the tweets directly from CM Amash on May 18th (it’s basically a whole statement)…

Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis. In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.

Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice. Under our Constitution, the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.

Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment. In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.

Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.

While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.

Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch’s jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution. When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law—the foundation of liberty—crumbles.

We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees—on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice—depending on whether they’re discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump. Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation—and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release.

America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome. Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it.

In what seemed to be an impromptu public statement on Tuesday May 29th, Special Counsel Attorney Robert Mueller tried to basically ward off any possible requests from Congress to have him testify about the contents of his report.  At the opening and closing of his remarks, he urged the public to take seriously the actions by foreign entities to interfere with our elections, and stated that this would be his only public comments on the matter. 

But even in Mueller’s resistant remarks, the need for him to testify at public, televised Congressional hearings was only strengthened.  A growing number of citizens are disappointed with the seeming lack of urgency being displayed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Democrat’s leadership team.  As calls for an Impeachment Inquiry intensify, it’s highly unlikely that Mueller will get to sit out on public witness to the many facts which have been discovered. 

Even as all of the controversies around the White House continue to swirl, it must be observed that Democrats in the House aren’t just sitting around doing nothing.  With each new week, they continue to send major pieces of legislation to the Republican- controlled United States Senate.  A recent quote from Ella Nilsen of Vox reveals just how prolific Democrats have been after less than 6 months in control…

Health care

1.     HR 259 — Medicaid Extenders Act of 2019

2.     House Resolution 271 — Condemning the Trump Administration’s Legal Campaign to Take Away Americans’ Health Care

3.     HR 986 — Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019

4.     HR 987 — Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act

5.     HR 1520, the Purple Book Continuity Act (bill aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs)

6.     HR 1503, the Orange Book Transparency Act of 2019 (bill aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs)

Civil rights

1.     HR 1 — For the People Act of 2019

2.     HR 5 — Equality Act

3.     HR 7 — Paycheck Fairness Act

4.     HR 124 — Expressing opposition to banning service in the Armed Forces by openly transgender individuals

Gun control

1.     HR 8 — Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019

2.     HR 1112 — Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019

Environment

1.     HR 9 — Climate Action Now Act

2.     HR 1331 — Local Water Protection Act

3.     S 47 — National Resources Management Act

4.     HR 2578 — National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019

Military/foreign affairs

1.     HR 840 — Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act

2.     HJ Res. 37 — Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress

3.     SJ Res. 7 — To direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress

4.     HR 31 — Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019

5.     HJ Res. 30 — Disapproving the President’s proposal to take an action relating to the application of certain sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation

Mueller report

1.     H.Con.Res. 24 — Expressing the sense of Congress that the report of Special Counsel Mueller should be made available to the public and to Congress.

Other legislation

1.     HR 1585 — Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019

2.     HR 1500 — Consumers First Act

3.     HR 1994 — SECURE Act

4.     HR 1644 — Save the Internet Act of 2019

5.     HR 2157 — Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019

6.     HR 269 — Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019

7.     HR 251 — Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Extension Act

8.     S 24 — Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019

9.     HR 430 — TANF Extension Act of 2019

10. Concurring in the Senate Amendments to HR 251 — Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard Program Extension Act

11. HR 790 — Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019

12. HJ Res. 46 — Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019

13. H Res. 183 — Condemning anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values and aspirations that define the people of the United States and condemning anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States, as amended

14. H Res. 194 — Rule Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1644 and H.R. 2021

15. HR 2480 — Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

16. HR 375 — To amend the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian Tribes (also known as the “Carcieri Fix”)

Just last week, we can add to the list a major Immigration bill which protects dreamers and provides a pathway to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants in the country, and the long-awaited and sweeping Disaster Relief bill (which was previously upheld by REPUBLICAN members of the House).  Democrats and Pelosi have in fact passed over 50 major pieces of legislation, the vast majority of which continues to languish at the door of the United States Senate.  And they’ve done all of this right alongside conducting several investigations of the Trump Administration and issuing more subpoenas than anyone would have previously thought necessary. 

For any Democrat in House that is wondering if they’ve “done enough” before crossing the divide to support an Impeachment Inquiry, the answer to this question is simple… tell your constituents about your record, and tell them exactly why these bills have not become law. 

====Make Room for PRIDE Month

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and a significant milestone in LGBTQ history.  This year marks 50 years since the Pride movement was born.  Houston, Texas, home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the United States, is marking the special occasion by highlighting an important segment of the community.  Here’s more from Brandon Wolf of OutSmart magazine

This year’s honorary Pride marshals are four Houston trans women of color who have been making a difference in the lives of other local trans women of color: Ana  Andrea Molina, Atlantis Narcisse, Dee Dee Watters, and Monica Roberts. By choosing to honor these four Houstonians, the committee of former Pride marshals pays tribute to the trans women of color who are credited with initiating the Stonewall Inn civil-rights rebellion in 1969: Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLarverie. This year’s “Summer of ’69” Pride theme looks back 50 years to three seminal events from the 1960s—Stonewall, the NASA moon landing, and Woodstock.

Read more of the article to learn about these incredible women, the many harrowing challenges they have faced and how they have been able to persevere through all of them.  

–Ingressive Media, 2019.

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The Ingressive Voices Podcast– Check It Out!!

So you may recall back before the elections that I announced that Texas Leftist would soon be wrapping up.  This is still true, for the most part, but I may not be done with the blog just yet.

But if you have enjoyed the content from Texas Leftist over the years, please consider taking a listen to my brand new Podcast called Ingressive Voices.  It is much of the same topics that have been covered from the blog, just in a new, and exciting format.  The episodes are far from polished thus far, as I still have a lot to learn about podcasting.  But I’m glad to have started out 2019 with something new, and I hope you’ll join me on the new journey.

You can find Ingressive Voices on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple, Stitcher, and most other places you may listen.

See you, er well… hear you there!!

UPDATE: HCSO Files Charges In Murder Case

After weeks of fear, confusion and uncertainty, some critical evidence has been revealed. Here’s the update, vja City Of Houston presser…

The Jazmine Barnes Homicide investigation has taken a new direction. Detectives are in the process of interviewing persons of interest. More details will be released as soon as possible. #hounews #JusticeForJazmine

Authorities now believe that initial reports and witness accounts describing a white male in their 40s were highly inaccurate, along implications of the suspect being connected to a supremacist movement.  New evidence suggest that the murder was instead due to gang violence. Texas Leftist apologizes for any mischaracterizations this may have caused. Regardless of initial misconceptions, this child still lost her life in a viscious attack, and her grieving family deserves support.

Details are still coming in.

 

Houstonians, Nation Search For Terrorist Killer of 7-year old Jazmine Barnes

On Sunday morning just hours before the New Year, one Houston family awoke with the same promise and hope that we all have for the coming year.   With a loving mom and sweet young children, they were excited to see what 2019 would have in store for them as they ventured out to run an errand in Northeast Harris County.

But, as reported by ABC 13, those dreams were quickly shattered…

LaPorsha Washington, mother of Jazmine Barnes, is revealing new details about the alleged attack that killed her daughter on Sunday morning.

Jazmine, 7, and her mother were shot as they were going to Joe V’s to get coffee Sunday morning. Washington’s three other daughters were in the car with them. They had just passed Walmart when a car pulled up.

Washington told ABC13 about her daughter’s final moments.

“As I turned around and looked back at the street, I heard shots start firing and they came through my window, broke my glass, and hit me in my arm. They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us. It was not fair. It was not fair. He intentionally killed my child for no reason. He didn’t even know her, he didn’t know who she was.”

After the shooting was over, one of her other daughters made the devastating discovery.

“She said, ‘Momma, Jazmine’s not moving. She’s not talking.’ I turned around and my 7-year-old was shot in the head.”

 

The horrific event occurred in the Wallisville area, near the East Sam Houston Parkway… almost the same location as a similar incident from 2017.  Though the cases have not been specifically connected as of yet, the murder of young Jazmine Barnes and the 2017 event both appear to display the elements of an act of domestic terrorism.  As of this writing, the killer has yet to be found and many in the Houston area and across the nation are in hot pursuit to find them… suspected to be a white male with a beard in their 40s.  The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is working on the case, and asking the community for any potential leads they may have.

Domestic Terrorism has been on the rise in the United States over the past few years, with much of these vile acts connected to the growing network of White Supremacist groups.  At the same time that such activity has been rising, American resources and policies to prevent and combat incidents of domestic terrorism have been lessened, or cancelled out, especially under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other officials in the Trump Administration.

Texas Leftist will update as facts on this case become clear, and be sure to tune in to future episodes of the Ingressive Voices Podcast, as we definitely plan to explore this issue.

 

 

 

Texas Vietnamese Community Worries As Trump Administration Threatens Deportations

From venerable institutions like Mai’s restaurant and Les Givral’s in Midtown Houston, to the bright bustling scenes of Saigon Plaza on the city’s West Side, to Radio Saigon piping across the airwaves of the Southeast Texas, the influence of Texas’ Vietnamese Community is a palpable and celebrated part of the Houston region’s diverse mosaic.  With a multi-generational populace over 80,000 strong since the fall of Saigon in the 1970s, most Houstonians today couldn’t imagine their city without them.

Which is why many Houstonians are disturbed to hear of the Trump Administration’s constant efforts to weaken and threaten immigrant communities.  Here’s the story from Charles Dunst and Krishnadev Calamur of The Atlantic

The Trump administration is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades—many of them having fled the country during the Vietnam War.

[…]

The White House unilaterally reinterpreted the agreement in the spring of 2017 to exempt people convicted of crimes from its protections, allowing the administration to send back a small number of pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants, a policy it retreated from this past August. Last week, however, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Hanoi said the American government was again reversing course.

Washington now believes that the 2008 agreement fails to protect pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants from deportation, the spokesperson, who asked not to be identified by name because of embassy procedures, told The Atlantic.

“The United States and Vietnam signed a bilateral agreement on removals in 2008 that establishes procedures for deporting Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States after July 12, 1995, and are subject to final orders of removal,” the spokesperson said. “While the procedures associated with this specific agreement do not apply to Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995, it does not explicitly preclude the removal of pre-1995 cases.”

In true Trump fashion, the Executive Branch is once again exhibiting behavior which blatantly Un-American. Thankfully come January, there will be at least one real-time check on these misdeeds, via the Democrat-controlled House Of Representatives.

But the fact that such vile can fly under the radar of municipal, county and state leaders is equally inexcusable. Texas Leftist is calling on Members of Houston City Council, former and currently serving state legislators, and our statewide elected officials to call out the Trump Administration for these hatefilled tactics.

It’s time for our political leaders to stand up and protect the great Texans in this community. If you can’t do that, you don’t deserve to hold office.

Could A ‘Green New Deal’ Work, Even For Texas??

If you ask most citizens their opinion on the state of American politics today, they’ll give your a variety of answers, based on their political leanings.  But one thing that may be in common with all of those answers?  They are not satisfied with how politics has devolved today.  From the Fringe-Right to the Far-Left, Americans are hungry for solutions.

Over the past couple of years, Republicans have had their chance to provide those solutions. With total control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency, the GOP and Trump Administration had two years to truly make a substantial difference and solve some of the most pressing issues American families are facing. Instead, they put profits over people, passed major tax giveaways and further lined the pockets of those that are already rich.

From November’s election results, Americans are clearly not satisfied with the “answers” Trump and Republicans have provided. But many are beginning to listen to voices like New York Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose bold proposition for a Green New Deal is coming more into focus.  Here’s more on that from Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic

On Monday, speaking at a town hall led by Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez framed her chosen climate policy—the Green New Deal—through the lens of gallant American exceptionalism. “This is going to be the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation,” she said.

The Green New Deal aspires to cut U.S. carbon emissions fast enough to reach the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious climate goal: preventing the world from warming no more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. In a blockbuster report released in October, an international group of scientists said that meeting this goal could skirt the worst climate effects, such as massive floods, expansive droughts, and irreversible sea-level rise.

To actually make the target, though, the world must start reducing its carbon pollution immediately, and cut it in half by 2030. And we’re nowhere close. Global emissions levels just hit a record high, and even the Barack Obama administration’s most breakneck climate policy did not put the United States close to making its part of the goal.

The Green New Deal aims to get us there—and remake the country in the process. It promises to give every American a job in that new economy: installing solar panels, retrofitting coastal  infrastructure, manufacturing electric vehicles. In the 1960s, the U.S. pointed the full power of its military-technological industry at going to the moon. Ocasio-Cortez wants to do the same thing, except to save the planet.

The bold, Progressive plan for a Green New Deal is fundamentally simple… to pivot the current priorities of the US government from the rich oligarchy and back to the people.  By investing in guaranteed jobs, the United States could invest in its people and not only help save our planet, but fully remake our economy in the process.

To Republicans, this sounds like total lunacy.  Policies like Medicare for All and Free College Tuition, they say, would completely bankrupt the country.  But in 2018, when our nation already spends over $700 Billion on Defense like it’s a drop in the bucket, how tough would a shift in priorities really be?

So now to the true question… how possible would a “Green New Deal” be for states like Texas??

If you’re from Texas, it’s possible that you’re already halfway there.  The clean energy jobs of the future are thriving in the Lone Star State, as both Houston and Dallas- Fort Worth rank in the Top 10 metros for clean energy jobs in the United States, per a recent report by the Environmental Entrepreneurs group (E2).  The leaders of tomorrows Green revolution are already working in Texas today.

The other reason A Green New Deal could work for the state of Texas is pretty simple… need.  As a massive state where inequality has never been more stark between rural and urban areas, Texas is a state in search of solutions to grow and sustain our rural communities.  As discussed at the recent Symposium on Rural Texas by the Texas Tribune, technological and educational opportunities outside of the major metropolitan areas are struggling to keep up.  Knowing that the success of a Green New Deal would require harnessing the power of both rural and urban  communities, there’s reason to believe that Texas would be a great place to start.  As an energy powerhouse, Texas could lead the way to a prosperous, Green future while simultaneously building up rural communities.

Of course we know the reasons why Texas may be resistant to a Green New Deal, and they’re mostly political.  But now that Democrats have begun to find their footing in the Lone Star State, it’s quite possible that the Republican stifling of these ideas could soon be over.

Walking Back From Tribalism

The death of an American President is indeed a most curious time for the country. Of course the Presidency is the highest office in the land, and the only elected official that we all share, so it’s sensible that we would remember them, and reflect on their legacy in defining an era for our nation.

But each time this happens, it’s also immediately, maybe subconsciously compared to the present moment as well. Suddenly, we judge that era by the rules which are in place today, forgetting all the steps tile had to take in between to get us to the present. It’s a most peculiar form of time travel.

As Frank Bruni of the New York Times writes, this is absolutely the case at this moment, our National Day Of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush…

On Twitter over the weekend, the television writer Bryan Behar did something unconscionable.

He praised George H.W. Bush.

The former president had just died. In Behar’s view, it was a moment to recognize any merit in the man and his legacy.

Many of his followers disagreed. They depended on Behar for righteous liberal passion, which left no room for such Bush-flattering adjectives and phrases as “good,” “decent” and “a life of dignity.” How dare Behar lavish them on a man who leaned on the despicable Willie Horton ad, who nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, who did too little in the face of AIDS, whose privilege often blinded him to need.

They lashed out at Behar. They unfollowed him. And they demonstrated the transcendent curse of these tribal times: Americans’ diminishing ability to hold two thoughts at once.

Bush has indelible stains on his record. He also has points of light. At times he failed the responsibilities of leadership. At times he did right by them. He showed folly and he showed wisdom, cowardice and courage, aloofness and kindness.

Accentuating the positive, especially in the hours after his death, didn’t eliminate the negative.

Tribalism is a vortex that really leaves us so little room to be the complex, multi-dimensional people that we are. Whether it be arguments over President Bush 41’s record, or figuring out our current struggles in governing, we have to find our way back to creating space for common-sense solutions and compromise. Wounds from these political bunkers have grown so deep, it’s sometimes difficult for us to even speak to each other. 

Like being in a choir full of strong-willed individual voices, if none of them are listening to each other, the choir is not going to be very good.

And therein lies the first set of directions for how to get back to a healthier nation. We have to listen to each other, and maybe even remember that occasionally, good ideas can come from people that aren’t on our side.  All the time that Conservatives spend demonizing Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, that is time they lose learning about the Billions Of Dollars in new investment opportunities such a new deal could bring.

In this moment of reflection, let us hope that we can chart a path back to the listening, common sense solutions and compromise which have sustained America through the centuries, and healed us at our most fractious times.  We all know that a better, greater version of ourselves exists, and it’s time that we meet them again.

A Voice for the Rest of Texas