(State Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin was kind enough to write a guest blog for the Texas Progressive Alliance as we continue to push our TexRoots 2008 slate of candidates.)
A few months back a certain progressive blogger took note of a piece I had published. This writer responded with an entry that was mostly complementary -- I'd guess we agree about 90 percent of the time. But then, after hitting a point I thought was pretty inarguable, the writer called me a "MOTO."
Most of you who read Texas' great progressive blogs probably know what a "MOTO" is. I, on the other hand, had to turn to my 18-year-old son (and pop culture crutch) Preston, who steered me to something called urbandictionary.com. There, I finally learned the truth:
I am, it seems, a "Master Of The Obvious".
It was kind of a frustrating revelation, partly because it's true. But if I've learned anything at all in my year as a state senator, it's that what's so obvious to me (and to acronym-wielding bloggers) seems downright foreign to so many others -- particularly the Republican leadership in the Texas Capitol.
Here are just a few MOTO moments from the past few months:
•It's wrong for a governor to use a 39-percent mandate to rig state agencies in ways that benefit corporate contributors, privatize public roads, and ignore the real health and educational needs of this state.
•It's wrong for a lieutenant governor to wage a partisan campaign to ram through a voter screening bill that targets Hispanics and the elderly. It's worse to force a very ill senator to set up a sick bed outside the Senate chamber simply to block such a terrible, discriminatory proposal.
•It's wrong for a speaker of the House to stand before a body of democratically elected officials who gave him his office, and then declare he has absolute power to ignore them.
•It's wrong for Supreme Court justices to stretch campaign finance laws, or to ignore law and precedent in rulings that protect political contributors, or to take advantage of a politicized criminal justice process.
•And it's very wrong for a high court judge to slam shut the doors of justice as early as possible, especially when it means sending a man to his death.
All pretty obvious, right? Well, not to the people who've run this state for all these years. And that's where we all have work to do.
We are right. We are anxious to do great things for Texas, to restore opportunity, and to create reasons to hope for a better future.
But we can't just know that. We can't just talk to ourselves.
We can't assume it's obvious.
We must make it apparent to anyone who cares about this state and where it's headed, and we must remind them of the most obvious statement of all: Texans cannot trust the Republican leadership.
I'm talking about the political bosses, bullies, ideologues and figureheads that control the agenda, bury the opposition, and block any bill that runs counter to their dogma.
I'm talking about the folks who are more interested in taking irresponsible pledges than in solving Texas' challenges, who will deny the most verifiable fact if it doesn't conform to their ideology, and who will embrace every budget trick they can think of before they level with Texans about what people are worth to them.
I'm talking about the select group that's denied children health care at any cost, that's allowed our colleges and universities to become overcrowded, underfunded and inadequate, that's watched our highways deteriorate while forcing Texans to choose between crushing traffic and private toll roads, and that's denied and deferred environmental problems, leaving our children to fix them.
Here's what's most obvious: only the Democratic Party will bring about the positive changes that Texans need and demand.
That means we have to do all we can this year -- we must make it obvious -- that the people of Texas must challenge the so-called absolute power of the Republican leadership. Once we make MOTOs out of everyone, Texas will elect strong Democrats in 2008.