Tag Archives: Texas

Texas is a Mess

Wichita Falls     For years signs along the Texas highways, bumper stickers, and just about everything else proudly declared, “Don’t Mess with Texas.”  It was classic Texas.  Designed to stop litter with a chest-thumping scowl to go with the demand.  There’s a new slogan that you can read on the faces of Texans along the road now that they are less likely to shout out, and it’s “Texas is a Mess!”

Texas is now one of the states where coronavirus cases have been rising faster than planes at the mammoth Dallas-Fort Airport.  After thumbing his nose at his citizens and Covid-19, Governor Abbott in early July issued a mandatory mask order, claiming he was backtracking in order to keep from shutting the state down.

It seems, like so much in this state, that mandatory is a funny word in Texas with a different meaning than elsewhere in the United States.  It’s not on the order of you say, to-MAT-o, and I say TO-mat-o, it’s more like he says mandatory, but everyone hears voluntary, and he really mean voluntary, even though it read like the common, everyday garden-variety mandatory.  According to the Texas Tribune report, Abbott also gave “counties the opportunity to opt out if they have a low number of active coronavirus cases. A week later, 78 counties have taken him up on that offer. And a handful of other local governments have insisted that they won’t enforce the order even though they don’t qualify for the opt-out provision.”  Texas is a big state, so there are 254 counties, so that’s almost a third officially, and de facto even more.  The takeaway is Texas is a mess when it comes to mask and virus.

Stopping for gas at a big Pilot station outside Tyler, as we headed west, a sign on the outside said, masks were mandatory to enter.  One cashier was using hers as a chin guard both behind the plexiglass and walking around the store.  The truck drivers and most customers were masked, but the elderly couple ahead of me in line was not, and walked through the place like royalty.  In Wichita Falls, where we stopped for the night, they were clear about no breakfast and no pool, because of the virus, and they demanded masks in public areas, but one worker sat in the lobby without one.  Down the road, picking up some burgers at the nearest place called Barnyard Drafthouse, the young hostess, put on a mask when she saw mine.  Most of the servers had masks with their Daisy Dukes, but the kitchen manager put his on when he came up to me.  Customers, not so much.  That’s kind, mostly not at all.  Families, yes.  Young guns and gals, not at all.  This is Texas now, where their new slogan may be “live hard, die young.”

Elsewhere in Texas, it’s undoubtedly worse than here along the northwestern border.  In a Times’ report farther south, they noted that…

“A surge in Starr County, a rural, impoverished area in South Texas, near the border with Mexico, offers a grim example of the type of hospital crisis looming. The county’s infection rate of about 2,350 per 100,000 people is far higher than in more populous parts of Texas, including Houston. The county’s single hospital cannot handle the crush of Covid patients, and ethics committees have been formed to help determine which patients should be treated and which should be sent home to die.”

How terrible!

Like I said, the new slogan is “Texas is a Mess!”


Mexican Tariffs Create an Alternate Reality

Mural in Sam Houston Park in Houston, TX

New Orleans       Texas is a red state with a headache.  The cities are becoming bluer and bluer, and a huge number of the F150 pickup driving, cowboy boot wearing folks are Latinos.  A visit to Houston might be educational for the president.  For example, President Trump doesn’t understand that the border stretches all the way into the city without even stopping for gas.

Before a screening of “The Organizer” at the Harris County AFL-CIO building, I pulled into the giant, fenced parking lot across the street with the boldly painted letters spelling Taqueria.  Walking in the largest set of doors, I then realized that I was actually in a bus station.  The space was cavernous and the buses were all going back and forth to Mexico with couples, families, and elderly with their belongings sitting quietly and chatting of the benches.  In the taqueria of the two servers, only one young woman spoke any English, while the other spoke nothing but Spanish, and since I was the only Anglo anywhere nearby, it didn’t pose any problems in this establishment.

A day is coming when Texas and its huge number of voters will once again be the kingmaker and replace Florida as the critical battleground for national politics.  Trump likely could care less how much he alienates the millions in Texas with Mexican roots and relatives, but the future of the Republican Party, and perhaps the Democratic Party as well, will pivot on the fact that Texas is a bilingual and multi-ethnic, multi-racial state.  Heck, there are already two candidates in the Democratic list for president with Texas roots!

Keep this thought in the foreground as we contemplate the alternate reality that Trump is now trying to create of the border and the crisis of tens of thousands of migrant families fleeing Central America and flooding into the United States as he attempts to bully Mexico into creating the dike, and it becomes clear he is the little boy with his small fingers in the hole.  First, there were threats of tariffs, destabilizing the symbiotic human and economic realities of the border.  Pout, pout, whine, whine, he wanted Mexico to somehow solve the problem for the whole continent, which is as ridiculous a proposition as his claim that they would pay for his wall.  Then he swore he had a deal, except all involved on both sides of the table argue that all of the announced agreements had been made months ago.  Then in another twitter storm, he seemed to be claiming that there were secret side agreements which the Mexican foreign minister categorically denies.  This is our president, and this is how we now do foreign policy and trade negotiations.

This isn’t a Trump reality show, it’s a complete farce, but any time in Texas within hundreds of miles of the border quickly demonstrates it’s not a farce, but a tragedy.  And, it gets worse. In his madness, he claims victory from this Mexican mess of his own making, and now claims he’s going to see if he can do the same thing with China.

Via con Dios!