Sympathy for [Some] Texans

Dem vs. GOP voting sections

The northeast Ohio area is deep blue, particularly heavily urban Cuyahoga County, which is decidedly multiracial.  In recent decades, it has elected some of the most Progressive politicians in government, among them Dennis Kucinich and Sherrod Brown.  After four terms, the Democratic National Committee gerrymandered Representative Kucinich out of his district in favor of a more vanilla choice.  Dennis was a scrapper and refused to back down; hence, his unpopularity with bought-and-sold centrist Dems.  Senator Brown, however, still ably represents his constituents and can be counted on to espouse most progressive ideas, while not coming across as the kind of firebrand we saw in Dennis or see in Bernie Sanders. 

The central and southern portions of the state, though, are a totally different story.  Columbus and Cincinnati are red bastions, though each has a large urban footprint.  The TFG (the former guy, the ex-President) signs there and in the rural sectors last fall were innumerable.  Those parts of the state gave us the spineless GOP toady Senator Rob Portman and the maniac Congressman Jim Jordan (western Ohio; i.e., farm country).  Portman, like his colleagues, hid behind a debunked technicality in his “nay” impeachment conviction vote last week.  Jordan probably would have been with the Capitol invaders on January 6th, if he hadn’t been on the House floor, in the midst of attempting to overturn the Presidential election results.  He makes me cringe at the thought of occupying the same state as he does.  The Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, is another GOP sycophant.  He did lead the nation in some of the pandemic lockdowns, but promptly knuckled under to TFG’s pressure and opened the state too soon, leading to summer and fall surges in virus cases.  Following the insurrection, he did some hand wringing about the awfulness of events, but stopped well short of placing the blame where it belonged, on TFG.

On balance, then, Ohio has been a red state for decades.  Those of us in the island of blue do our utmost to change the status quo, but we’re woefully outnumbered.  As an example, we’ve signed petition after petition, written to state representatives, written the governor, made phone calls, all in the effort of shutting down the hazardous Davis-Besse nuclear power plant.  Closing the plant was one of Congressman Kucinich’s causes, and he fought reactivation of the plant tooth and nail after it had been shuttered due to its decrepit condition.  Last summer, the story broke that the Speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder, had taken a $60 million bribe to ram a bailout for Davis-Besse and its sister plant, Perry, through the legislature.  This payoff was the largest in Ohio history.  When the effluvia hit the air circulation system, there was a scramble to “do” something.  The Dems eventually stepped up to push for a repeal of the bailout, but so far, the effort has stalled, predictably stonewalled by the GOP. 

So here we of the blue persuasion sit, along the southeast-central shore of Lake Erie, fighting the good fight but stymied at every turn by the rest of our state.  It’s endlessly frustrating, a truly thankless task. 

Sort of like the inhabitants of Houston and Austin, who vote blue but are overwhelmed by the supporters of Fled Ted (Cruz) and Governor Greg Abbott.  We in Cleveland have to worry about nuclear meltdowns and potential radioactive breezes, while the citizens of Texas are in a real-time deep freeze.  The actions of the GOP officials and their energy corporation cronies have plunged much of the state into a cold, lethal hell.  Many proponents of Texas’ modern secession from the Union are now gratefully accepting FEMA aid.  The people in the blue enclaves are venting shivering, “I told you so’s,” while craven GOP devotees like Faux News and Greg Abbott are busy pointing fingers at renewable energy facilities, ginning up ridiculous lies.  Senator Cruz merely chose to flee the inhospitable conditions, abandoning his state (and his dog) in its days of need. 

At first, I was of the opinion that conditions should be set before aid was rendered to Texas; for instance, at minimum, the state would have guarantee refurbishment of its electrical infrastructure, winterizing gas wells and pumping stations, along with all other mechanisms related to energy supply.  And make Texas lawmakers apologize for their conduct.  Make Cruz appear on the Senate floor and take back all his slings and arrows.  I still think such conditions should apply.

The issue, however, is that the people who voted for sane policies can’t be separated from the ones who remain Cruz-ers despite the debacle this week.  There isn’t going to be an attempt to oust either the junior senator or the governor; both will likely win re-election next time.  Can we as a country refuse to help Texas because a majority of its people make stupid choices?  It’s tempting to say, “Hell, yeah!”  After all, this is the state that filed suit to nullify the election results in six swing states.  Its representatives were vocal in their opposition to helping the East Coast after Hurricane Sandy hit, the storm of the century (kinda like this week’s ice storm in Texas….).  This is the state that goes through cycles of secessionism:  they don’t want to be part of the United States anymore.

But the majority of the country isn’t the GOP and doesn’t have the same callousness.  Joe Biden, unlike TFG, isn’t going to make Texas officials kiss his ring before he sends help.  He has already declared the state a disaster area, allowing for mobilization of all possible aid.  He didn’t hold back because its junior senator tried to assure he never took office, or because, despite its disdain for the rest of the country, Texas gets more per annum in federal funds than it pays in.  Because we are the “United” States, we’re obligated to send assistance.  Even if the people in places other than Houston and Austin turn around and slam reasonable government initiatives.  Yes, we have to help in this crisis.  But if Texas doesn’t help itself going forward, there should be a limit to the handouts it can expect.  As a resident of a blue area, I certainly wouldn’t want to be tarred with Jim Jordan’s brush.  Neither, though, would I fault the blue states for looking down on the greedy, foolish behavior of a Larry Householder.  The scorn and hatred Jim Jordan exhibits quite naturally assure that more-rational people are reluctant to reward his brand of delusion.  That’s the price I pay for living in Ohio.  I’ve worked to change that situation for over 45 years, but I don’t expect enlightenment for my state any time soon.  Nor, I’m sure, do the residents of Houston and Austin.

Correction: the original post of this article erroneously identified Texas’ governor as David Abbott.

9 thoughts on “Sympathy for [Some] Texans

  1. GREG Abbott, not David. And there are many of us who work hard to change this red state to blue. I was a door knocker for Beto O’rourke. There were many of us and we managed to turn Tarrant Co Blue. Don’t count us out, yet.

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    1. Sorry—-I stand corrected: Greg Abbott. No excuse for that mistake. Best wishes with your ongoing work of enlightenment. I know it’s an uphill battle. I’ve read about Mr. O’Rourke’s work this week. I hope he can tip the scales next time.

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    1. “Failed ‘public servants,'” indeed. Happens everywhere. Kentucky is an excellent example. But even here in Cleveland, the last two mayors have each been elected to multiple terms, while doing exactly nothing to help the city, all the while wallowing in corruption.

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      1. Speaking of Servants

        “Gotta Serve Somebody”

        You may be an ambassador to England or France
        You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
        You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
        You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
        You’re gonna have to serve somebody
        It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

        Might be a rock’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
        Might have money and drugs at your commands, women in a cage
        You may be a business man or some high degree thief
        They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
        You’re gonna have to serve somebody
        Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

        You may be a state trooper, you might be an young turk
        You may be the head of some big TV network
        You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
        You may be living in another country under another name

        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
        You’re gonna have to serve somebody
        Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

        You may be a construction worker working on a home
        You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
        You might own guns and you might even own tanks
        You might be somebody’s landlord you might even own banks

        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
        You’re gonna have to serve somebody
        Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

        You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
        You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
        You may be working in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
        You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
        You’re gonna have to serve somebody
        Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

        Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
        Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
        You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
        You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
        You’re gonna have to serve somebody
        It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

        You may call me Terry, you may call me Jimmy
        You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
        You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
        You may call me anything but no matter what you say

        You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
        You’re gonna have to serve somebody
        Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
        But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
        Bob Dylan
        We are dealing with lack of integrity. It seems most all elected officials have lacked an elder of their tribe; and the wisdom that comes from being sat under their stories about doing the right thing by placing others needs above your own.
        America is not a land of service
        It is a land of vulture capitalism
        In Service there seems to be
        No Honor any more

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  2. Quite apropos, Utejack.

    I’d say that the officials in Texas who are responsible for the latest disaster—and I include their U.S. senators and representatives—serve Mammon. And maybe their RNC masters.

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  3. DD – you bring up a couple of key points in your above post that I know that I — probably like most of us progressives in the US — wrestle with continuously: 1.) How should our economic system be reconfigured to provide a more equitable income distribution, & 2,) How do we relate-to/address libertarian-type states/communities who actively work to dismantle social-welfare benefits/laws, and then are victims of their own actions?
    I know there’s a LOT of good solutions to #1 — I read about them all the time. IF ever implemented, then #2 would essentially become a moot point, I think. The difficulty is that too many voters are conned by the ‘get-rich’ hype of conservatives and they naively vote for policies that economically hurt them in the long run (ie; Joe the plumber was a classic example). The Steinbeck quote about ‘socialism never took root in the US because too many common people believe they are temporarily embarrassed millionaires’ (paraphrased) is too apropos. They then get disgruntled and ‘double-down’ on their path by listening to even-more blatant hucksters like DJT and voting them into office.
    It appears that the only thing that really changes this situation is prolonged, dramatic problems to knock these people out of their reverie..?

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  4. Exactly so, Eddie. If one lives one’s life—and votes accordingly—based on the fantasy that one is just one winning lottery ticket or brilliant, patent-able idea away from striking it rich…..one is fair game for the former guy’s brand of con game.

    I can understand that some of the people in Texas either didn’t understand or didn’t read the fine print of their energy contracts. I suppose they deserve some sympathy. Others wanted lower rates and gambled that there would never be a situation that would cause outrageous spikes. More fools they. That’s like signing a variable-rate home loan and then being astonished when the interest rate triples. Still others are simply in favor of deregulation across the board, out of some type of libertarian principles. Those are the ones who are really dangerous to the rest of us, because any service that’s deregulated will ultimately take advantage of that lack of oversight. For reference, see 2008 and banksters. It’s the nature of capitalism: like water, it seeks its lowest [greediest, most corrupt] level.

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