Thursday, May 29, 2014

Some more thoughts on political courage

After my short rant added to the bottom of last evening's post about who has stones on Houston's city council and who doesn't (not surprisingly, the ones that don't are mostly men and mostly white, but the one thing they all have in common is 'conservative'), I thought it valuable to connect that observation with the state of play in Texas five months away from our statewide elections.

Doing the right thing is, as bluntly as it needs to be said, what conservative Republicans just don't understand about governing.  There is no 'my way or the highway' attitude that produces good governance.  From Ted Cruz to Dan Patrick and at every bus stop on their route, Texas stands again at a precipice.   We're conducting the nation's most dangerous political experiment, and it's about to blow up the laboratory.

The real problem, as we know, is that the 95% of Texans who couldn't be bothered to participate in selecting the state's leaders in 2014 are going to suffer the worst effects of the explosion and meltdown.  They don't seem to care though, so why should we?

Because it is critical that someone care, that's why.  If all around you there are men making comfortable livings from carbon extraction who deny the effects of their work on the planet's climate, it takes courage to stand up and say, "we need to stop doing that".  And work toward alternatives.

This is why there remains significant activist opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, even though tar sands oil is already being refined now in Houston and Port Arthur (because the oil was shipped by rail from Alberta to Cushing, and is now flowing through the southern leg of the pipeline to the refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast).  Even though transporting tar sands oil by pipeline is probably safer than shipping it by rail.  The part that the majority of the polled public doesn't understand is that no matter how many jobs KXL creates, it's not worth it.  There are no jobs on a dead planet.

You cannot whine about the federal debt's deleterious effects on the lives of your children and grandchildren and simultaneously deny global warming.  That is moronic.

If the Earth's 'Goldilocks zone' only has a few hundred years left, if we have passed the tipping point for halting the collapse of the Arctic ice shelf and the corresponding rise in sea levels and monster hurricanes and tornados and drought, then the easiest out would be to say, 'it's gonna happen anyway, I'll just pray for God's help and make as much money as I can as we go down the tubes".  There is nothing strong, or bold, or courageous about that option.

It takes actual courage to for someone to sign a petition banning fracking in their community when their neighbors are all cashing out (and moving out).  It takes political fortitude to vote your conscience over your political longevity, and most certainly over your bank account.

As we continue to learn, however, conservatives have mostly squashed their consciences.  "We oppose Medicaid expansion on principle even though millions of people will die because of it."  "Round 'em all up and send 'em back because they're moochers and freeloaders".   (Notice I left out the racist parts.)

This is the opposite of courage, as nearly everybody understands.  In fact it's just garden variety fear and xenophobia, stimulated by ignorance, amplified by its own arrogance.  And as we already know, fear is one of the primary voters of human behavior.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, as some wise whatever-he-was once said.  That's where Texas is, and where it digs itself deeper.  Unless some relatively small number of Texans who care enough can find the will and the courage to change it.


nothispanic/latino/spanish, BSc. JD said...

I could see there was something wrong with Texans in general as far back as 1970 when I was stationed in the Corpus Christi Naval Base. I could see it in the Hispanics there (and I use the term derisively} as they looked down the pecking order to belittle the blacks living there in order to lift themselves closers to their white subjugators.

Understanding that I am the universe conscious of itself, as small as my perspective may be, dictates that it will be a fight to remove me from the point on earth where I came to being!

Texas is, as a whole, intellectually bankrupt! Amazing, and there is not a hint of a fence around it!

PDiddie said...

The comment of the month, ladies and gentlemen.

Would anyone care to try to top it?