Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Brainy Endorsements: David Courtney

David Courtney is the Green nominee standing against Republican incumbent state Sen. Joan Huffman for SD-17. There is no Democrat running; there is a Libertarian on the ballot. Here's an interview that the Indo-American Times published back in March, when Courtney announced.

Why have you decided to work with the Green Party?

Because both of the major parties are playing the same game. They are pandering to money and not responding to the needs of the people. Since they are both playing the same game, the voters could jump back and forth between the Democrats and the Republicans forever and never see the needed reforms.

What reforms need to be made?

There are larger structural problems and there are smaller partisan ones.

What are the larger issues?

The fundamental problem is that we have a political system which responds to money and not to people. Therefore we cannot really consider the US to be any form of democracy. It is a plutocracy, that is to say a country which is “ruled by the wealthy.” The nature of the American plutocracy is staggering. It is a staggeringly small percentage of the population which controls the lion’s share of the wealth of this country. The political structure in turn is answerable only to this miniscule percentage of the population. It is time for the people to stand up and say, “Enough is enough!”

If elected, do you think that you could change this system?

No single individual could do that. But when the “pigs are at the trough,” I can do everything in my power to make it a little less palatable for them. I can be the eyes and ears of the people and make noise when things are not right. Hopefully more of the public will also stand up, and en masse we can make the necessary changes. Reform never comes from the top down, it must always come from the bottom up.

What about the smaller issues?

There are numerous ones. These include education, infrastructure and all of the usual things that politicians talk about.

However there is one thing in particular that should be of concern to the readers of this paper. The mood in Austin, especially under the Republicans is amazingly anti-immigrant. Let us take an example from my Republican opponent Joan Huffman. She was co-sponsor of an amendment to a recent education bill (Senate Bill 1581), which would prohibit any institution of higher education from extending in-state tuition rates to non-US citizen.

Think about what this means. We all know people who have been here for 10 years or more under H1 visas and green cards who would have been forced to send their children to college only by paying the outrageous out of state tuition. They would have to do this even though they lived here legally for years and paid into the system with their taxes. This is just one example but it is very typical of the anti-immigrant sentiments of the Republican dominated state Senate in Austin.

Courtney is, as you may have surmised, a lot like me. A disaffected former Democrat and even a member of the now-defunct Progressive Populist Caucus, Courtney was overcome by his disenchantment with corporate Democrats a little earlier than me. Along with the rightward shift and the crippling culture of defeatism, it was conservaDems like Chris Bell and Barbara Radnofsky that chased him away; I was still of the opinion at the time (2005-10) that those two could make a progressive difference if they got elected.

Silly me...

A balkanization of the Democrats -- particularly at the senate district officer level -- as various people set up their little fiefdoms and refused to cooperate for any common goal, was a frustration we both shared as well. That may be on the verge of change, as the old guard has passed the torch to two former PPC members, my friends Tom Gederberg and Sarah Gonzales, the newly elected chair and secretary of SD-17. But by the time I saw Bell line up with the other establishment lemmings in support of James Cargas in the CD-07 primary in May, along with a few other of my other so-called progressive pals, I had already logged myself out of the Crips.

Courtney and his wife are both accomplished Indian musicians. One of their music videos won a Worldfest award last year. They teach music to many students and have performed across the world.

Here's a brief video of Courtney introducing himself and a few political priorities.

Between Huffman's relative obscurity as a back-bencher and go-alonger with the lunatic fringe in the Texas Senate, and a competent Libertarian challenger, who knows? With a little Democratic help at the polling place, Courtney has a chance to show respectably in the fall election. And if he does, perhaps Democrats will be encouraged enough to submit their own challenge.

Four years from now.

Meanwhile, there is a fine progressive option in 2012 in David Courtney.

Brainy Endorsements so far include...

Nile Copeland for the First Court of Appeals
Alfred and GC Molison for HD 131 and SBOE, respectively
Henry Cooper for HD 148
Keith Hampton for Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Barbara Gardner for the Fourteenth Court of Appeals
Don Cook for Congress, 22nd District
Max Martin for Congress, 36th District
Remington Alessi for Harris County Sheriff
Ann Harris Bennett for Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector

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