Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ignorance is no excuse for VOTING STUPID in Texas

By Faith Chatham

Texans have elected some really corrupt obnoxious people to office. For decades they have elected Agriculture Commissioners who barely are able to recognize a cow when they see one let alone know how to help farmers and ranchers; They ignore crimes committed by candidates and elect them Attorney General. They bypass a really smart woman senator and elect an obnoxious bigot who does what he said he would and wrecks havoc on local taxing entities and the state's property tax system in his first term of office. Will they vote Donald Trump into the White House? I honestly don't know. I'd like to believe that the record turn-out in early voting is a surge of folks who have sat on their hands for decades and stayed home instead of getting out to vote. We are having record turn-outs state wide for early voting. It appears that minorities are voting in record numbers. Historically Democratic voters turn up on election day and Republicans win by the Early Voting and By Mail margins. There has been a big push by the Democrats to change those patterns and to get our voters out early.

Heck, The Cubs won the World Series this month. Perhaps Texans will break the pattern and elect the woman who always shows up prepared, having done her homework, to serve people instead of the blow-hard guy in the suit who brags about how many women he's screwed and has ripped off almost every business partner or investor who has ever trusted him. Perhaps they'll actually vote for someone who is skilled in ways that relate to the job instead of the guy who obviously is inapt in every conceivable way related to the tasks that must be accomplished to get what matters accomplished! Perhaps they'll weigh whether electing someone who operates as an agent of theSuperpower Russia is riskier than electing someone who used a private email server (as did her last three predecessors in the SOS office). Perhaps Texas voters will break the pattern and do the right thing for the people of this state and nation. I hope so. I'd also like to wake up and realize that the years Greg Abbot was AG and Rick Perry was Governor were only a bad dream or were an alternate reality and really Texas had sound state government all those years!

I keep reminding myself that I actually lived to see Ceasceau overthrown in Romania, to see the Berlin Wall come down, and now the Cubs win the World Series. Entrenched patterns can change. Perhaps this is the year that despite gerrymandering, enough people will vote for a smart retired military officer phd instead of Louie Gohmert for Congress in East Texas and folks down on the Gulf Coast will choose a decent law enforcement officer over animal house idoit Blake Farenthold. Maybe folks in Houston will listen to the Editorial Boards and retire Culberson who pretends to be for business while voting to weaken Glass Stengall and closing down American manufacturers lender of last resort (the Import Export Bank)!. Returning Culberson to office instead of electing James Cargas makes no sense, but they have done it before, despite warning from the Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board. Maybe this is the year that they'll ignore party affiliation and look at who is the smartest and more sensible than just who is already in office. Maybe 2016 is the year. Maybe this is the year that we turn things on their head in Texas and break old patterns of electoral stupidity. I hope so.

I remember sitting with my mother in her hospital room watching the overthrow of Ceasceau. I'd made a couple of trips to Romania and the Soviet Union and understood some of the horror the entrenched political leaders in those countries imposed on the people. Here in Texas the majority of my neighbors have persisted in electing people who strip CPS of resources resulting in a perpetually broken Child Protection Service Agency, who transfer dedicated funds from road and bridges and delay maintenance to get folks to think that paying private interests more to build and operate taxpayer funded roads and bridges is sound fiscal policy.

Maybe 2016 is the watershed year in Texas. We don't have the DNA to be perpetually stupid, but for a very long time there is evidence that Texans have been really gullible. Are they gullible enough to believe that a reality TV star who has never done anything for anyone other than himself will actually help lift others out of poverty? Will they wake up and realize that the hype about Texas' continuing prosperity doesn't mesh with the unemployment rate in many of the GOP occupied Congressional Districts?

In Louie Gohmert's district (one of the most beautiful regions of the USA) more than one out of every four children are living in households where the family income is below the national poverty level despite most of their parents working multiple jobs. In the two rural counties of US TX 6 (Joe Barton's district) where the majority of the voters pull the lever for him, the unemployment rates and poverty rates are as dismal. Somehow those who seem to vote Republican for Congressmen in Texas usually live in Districts with the highest rates of unemployment, yet they keep re-electing the same guys who keep on doing nothing constructive to make things better.

When will enough folks wake up? I hope 2016 is the year. I truly hope 2016 is the watershed year and stupidity washes off in waves throughout the Lone Star State.

Texas is not an awful place. We have mountains and sea shores and forests and breathtaking deserts. We have folks with keen senses of humor and compassion. We have authors and poets and musicians and saavy businessmen and businesswomen. We even have some folks who try to do the right thing when elected to public office! We need to elect more folks who not only try, but succeed at doing the right thing. We need to to it now.

On both sides of my family tree, pioneer widow women brought their families to Texas in covered wagons. It takes fortitude to keep your sanity while driving a car load of kids between Virginia or Alabama and Texas today, let alone to move a household from Alabama or Virginia to Texas in a wagon pulled by teams of oxen in 1838 and 1850! Those were tough women on my mom’s and dad’s family tree. I wonder if those women are looking down when their descendants pull the lever for some of the folks I know my relatives vote for? On her death bed my mom told all of her daughters (except Nancy) to go vote. She said that Nancy should stay home. My retired Federal Bureaucrat mom knew Nancy would vote for George Bush!

I encountered Lynda B. Johnson Robb outside of the Wells Fargo Center at the close of the National Democratic Convention this year and we talked about how we’d love for our mom’s “to be able to see Hillary nominated for president”. She said she thought our mom’s were watching “and Liz Carpenter too!” I like to think that the curtains will part a bit and Mollie Ivins and Ann Richards and every American woman who had to get a man to co-sign when she applied for a loan to buy a car or house with her own money or to sell her own property gets a glimpse when this nation finally elects a woman president who will see this nation becomes a much more fairer place for women and girls. I hope this is the election when Texas women stop voting against our own best interest.

I hope this is the year when folks look at what happens in Texas with the same amazement as we felt sitting in that hospital room watching the Berlin Wall fall and Ceasceau overthrown in Romania. I truly hope I can say to the folks who chose the slate of candidates to endorse for Daily Kos that “I kept telling you good Democrats can win challenger races in Texas”. I hope I can show them the election returns to prove it.

Ignorance is no excuse for pulling the lever for Donald Trump this year, folks.

Ignorance is no excuse for not putting the Congressional incumbent's name in a search bar and finding out what he has or hasn't done since the last time you voted for him.

Stop blaming your hometown newspaper for not telling you enough,
and use your fingers on the key board to find out what is going on BEFORE YOU VOTE.

For the sake of all of us, stop imposing the most stupid, corrupt people on the rest of the nation!

Who you elect to Congress helps determine what you receive in your pay envelope. It helps determine whether you pay more for health insurance than the rest of the nation. It helps determine whether more children live in poverty in your neighborhood than in the rest of the state because employers are smart enough to avoid districts where stupid incumbents make things harder for businesses and for workers. Who you elect to Congress and to the White House really matters!

This really isn’t a diary. It’s merely the thought that I woke up with, the thoughts that continue haunting me as I work with candidates and travel the state trying to help decent people be change makers in a state and nation worth the effort.

PS. It is not too late to help Shirley McKellar pay for her TV ads to help her defeat Louie Gohmert or to support the Shop and Share GOTV program. To donate: or

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