Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Don’t Mess With Texas

I’m picking up my analysis of why America is so conservative from where I left off, how Texas shaped Bush Jnr and thus shaped American political policy.

Texas is America in distorted miniature: huge, diverse, full of optimism, self-confidence, materialism and braggadocio. It is a place where you make something out of nothing and where high levels of violence (whether state approved or not) sit next to high levels of religiosity.

It’s size means its occupants take a ‘slash and burn’ attitude to its natural resources, sheer size also fills it with an arrogance, an arrogance born out of excellent economic growth stemming from their sense of buccaneering capitalism; this in turn creates a lively and fruitful environment for the risk taking entrepreneur. Risk taking is not just the modus operandi of the private sector, government is also run in such a manner, Bush (as governor of Texas) pre-empted his time in the White House with swinging tax cuts that left the Texas legislature in 2003 trying to plug a $10 billion hole; one can’t help but feel that whoever takes over in the White House will face a similar dilemma.

Texas, like America, is a champion for the go-getter but an enemy of the weak, with low taxes, weak trade unions, a shoddy public sector and a non-existent welfare system: extreme wealth lives next to extreme poverty.

What remains of the welfare state is ran by churches, evangelical churches at that, who have also infiltrated Texas’ prison system and take a major role in correcting prisoner’s behaviour through the word of Jesus Christ (President Bush’s favourite philosopher…I kid you not).

And then there is the violence, not only is Texas a military hub for the US (with the second largest army base in the country) it also has inordinately high murder rates whilst having the most prisoners on death row, never mind the volume of people who are actually killed through this form of state approved murder.

Bush has ran America very much as he ran Texas, only this time he has surrounded himself with an even larger array of Texan cronies to make him feel right at ‘home’.

So how could it all go wrong for the conservative movement?

16 comments:

  1. I have to admit, though I was born and raised and now live back in Texas, I do not get the Texan thing. Yes, it's beautiful country (where else in the US could you get beaches, swamps, deserts, mountains, snow and hot humidity all in one state?).

    But the "everything's bigger and better in Texas" philosophy sucks! If you're smack dab in the middle of Houston, the 4th largest city in the country, you are surrounded by smart city people. It's high class in many areas and filled with banks, shops and fine dining.

    But step one inch outside the city limits or anywhere else in the state and you come in contact with a lot of redneck trailor trash who don't know the first thing about 'real' life.

    Unfortunately, I don't live in Houston. But I live close enough to drive into modern society anytime I wish.

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  2. I'm afraid to ask because I feel like it must be here somewhere, but I have just missed it: what is your link to the USA? You have an insight that smacks of someone who has spent time up close and personal? How do you know this stuff?

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  3. I live in Austin. Many Texans hate Austin because it's liberal, deep deep blue. They call it the People's Republic of Austin, and it really is distinct and separate from the rest of the state.

    Your comments are spot on as to Texas' problems, but those cultural attitudes go back way before Bush. Bush didn't run this state much differently than the Democrats did for the previous 100 years. I'm not defending Bush so much as critiquing the typical Texas mindset and pointing out that this playing nice with TX dems is what allowed him to present himself as a moderate.

    Lt. Gov Bob Bullock was (and may still be though he's dead) the most popular and powerful pol this state's seen in a long time. He was far more powerful than Bush and Bush's successes were because Bullock let him succeed. Without Bullock's help and endorsement Bush would never have gotten anywhere. I'm not sure what Bullock got out of it, but he shares much blame for Bush. Maybe he was conned like the rest of us.

    Our current governor, Rick Perry, is even worse than Bush. He makes a transplanted New England liberal like me wish we could have Bush back if only to get rid of Perry. Beware. They're grooming Perry for VP in '08, who knows where he could go once on the national stage. Bush is an incompetent and a menace. Rick Perry keeps me up at night.

    But, then, as your previous commenter noted it's beautiful here and I can wear shorts and go cycling in January.

    Good work on this post.

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  4. Texas, which is to say, Texans, for the most part, get a bad rap. Sheer size does not cause the bigger-than-life attitude which is associated (wrongly) with the Texan mind, for Ontario is much larger, produces far more mineral and material pre-market wealth, is home to me, who has the most enormous cock in the world, and Ontarians, for the most part, are not an overly arrogant lot.

    Neither are Texans by and large. I will agree that Texas is a slightly more vivid slice of Americana, but my personal experiences, as well as those I've shared with literally thousands of fellow travellers, is of a Texas which pretty much seeks to do good unto its neighbours--but don't fuck with them.

    I can't say I've never met a Texan I didn't like, that has an almost racist air to it. People are people, and Texas is populated with, well, regular people.

    The only exception to the "people are people" rule is when some Yankee cocksucker who was born in Hartford, Conneticut, and educated at a hippie New England school plays pretend like he's from around.

    Then you are not dealing with "people," you are dealing with the self-appointed "masters of the universe" (seriously, the Bush clique refer to themselves like this).

    Uppity Yankee cocksucker Conneticut people aside, Texas is, next to Ontario and Quebec, probably the nicest place in the North American world, far ahead of piss-soaked BC and far beyond Alberta, or as it's more properly termed, "America Jr."

    God bless Texas.

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  5. Texas girls are filthy.

    ...oh and it's Homebase now. you fool

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  7. Having spent more time in Texas while in the military then I care to recall I can say with all surety that Texas is the ASSHOLE of the universe and the "Don't Mess with Texas" types are the dingleberries.

    That might explain why $hrubco can't tell his ass from a hole in the ground...even though he only pretends to be Texan.

    If there is any good to be found in Texas... I guess Austin, for Stevie Ray Vaugh, and the long border with Mexico for the mischief to be had on the other side.

    Texas Sucks!

    Officially messing with Texas, your Cranky Yankee

    12:19 AM, July 13, 2006

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  8. Ellie: I have no link so to speak but a personal interest in the country and its politics, so basically I read a lot of books on the US and have also driven across it and compiled books of notes as I did so.

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  9. Oh man, what a picture! We have those types in Tennessee as well, for what it's worth.

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  10. Driving from Oklahoma into Texas, halfway across the bridge is one of those anti-littering signs, with the picture of a gavel and some dollar amount of the littering fine.

    This one also said "Don't Mess with Texas"

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  11. It's a shame you don't turn your attention to the UK once in a while. It would be a much more interesting read, in my opinion. Writing seething commentary about America and Dubya is like shooting fish in a barrel. I personally think you just write about these topics just to get a higher hit rate from Google. ;-)

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  12. Darren: it's not seething commentary, its analysis.

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  13. As a 6th generation Texan I can say you hit the nail right on the head. Great analysis! I have a love/hate relationship with my Texas...and by the way I love/love relationship with Parga, Greece. (was there for two weeks in June and can't quit thinking of going back...)

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  14. You're just stupid. When I go to America, I go to Texas. Texas people are nice and they love us. A lot of Texans are bilingual. You only speak English. You're stupid.

    You are afraid of Texas because they are tough people. You are wimp. You are a racist wimp. That's why you hate Texas. Maybe they beat you up because you made racist comment.

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  15. Anon: hello asshat! Your analysis of Texas is just brilliant, go pull your head out of your ass you damn fool.

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