Friday, November 7, 2008

Sometimes it's hard to be a proud Texan

3005116800_19b0659c5f.jpgPhoto by mlovitt on Flickr

While the whole country seems to be celebrating and dancing in the streets with hope streaming out in tears—there hasn't been much celebrating here in Texas. The mood of most of the country seems to have passed us by and instead I am left scratching my head at the acts of my fellow Texans.

It started with friends from all over the globe teasing me about a new poll which found that 24% of Texans thought that Obama was muslim. I naturally took this as good news since well over 65% of the state gets their news only from the Fox News Channel. So by my reasoning, less than 1/2 of those people aren't believing what Fox is telling them.

Other's emailed me surprised at how big McCain was projected to win Texas. Well this is a solid Republican state home to a lot of big business and a lot of bubbas. It is no accident that George W. proudly calls this state his home.

Those two items are not what has me shook up about my fellow Texans. It is something much worse.

First, there was a report out of Baylor University (the large Baptist University in Waco) that on Wednesday morning a hangman's noose was found attached to a big Oak tree in the center of campus. Apparently one of the students wanted to send a sick message about how he felt about the election of our first black president.


I thought we as Texans had gotten past that kind of thing. Sadly, I grew up in a small town that was still proud of its history of hanging black men that were caught traveling through town after sunset.

Even up to the early 80's while I was in high school, there was not a single black family living in our town. My junior year in high school, a black engineer from California moved his family to my town and his daughter was in my Trigonometry and Physics classes. (As you can tell from reading my blog, I was not in the advanced English class with her.) We were all blown away with how smart she was.

Only, it was not to last. Someone burned their house down in the middle of the night and the family moved away in terror after one week.

This was not something out of the Jim Crow era and Klu Klux Klan heydays of the 50's and 60's. This was in the 1980's! A time when the rest of country and Texas had moved on from that kind of ignorant hatred. Or so I thought.

But surely after the election of Barack Obama, even small-town Texas was ready to bury its racial past. I wish I could say it has, but that kind of news hasn't stop.

Mack Brown,, the coach of my beloved Texas Longhorns, announced that they have terminated Buck Burnette, our backup center, after it was discovered that he posted a racial slur on his Facebook page and something to the effect of "Hunters should get their guns because a COON broke into the White House."

Maybe it was just a stupid copy and past of something he was sent. A stupid thing done in haste by a stupid kid. He has since apologized. But, the damage was done. Mack did the right thing in canning his ass. But, the scary thing is the number of people defending him on the Bevo Beat blog.

So the rest of the world, keep dancing in the streets. I wish I could join you, but I'm too depressed.


Dovetail Public Relations said...

Great post, Dave. I know people who are convinced we'll be forced to convert to Islam. Maybe this is what happens when fear mongering runs unchecked. For those who are convinced we could never have evolved from chimpanzees, I think this political race demonstrated the human race needs to evolve a bit more. While I'm thrilled with O's election, I'm incredibly disappointed by the passage of prop 8 here in California, and the passage in Arkansas of that law that prevents gay couples from adopting children. Adolf Hitler didn't create the Nazis, human nature did.

Tom said...

Thanks for the post Dave. It reminds us of why this election was such a big deal for our country. I was talking with a young man from Kentucky a couple of weeks ago who said half of his family in Kentucky would not vote for Obama simply because he is black--and I was shocked.

Living abroad one forgets that racism still pervades a large part of the country.

You may be a Texan but you are also American. We finally have something to be very proud of.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for sharing this with us. I for one have been celebrating this achievement while not forgetting that the United States still has a considerable racist population.

However, this would not have been possible if the trend was not going the other way.

There is still a long way to go and we may have to coexist with bigots for ever. Knowing that we can only try and make a difference with our young people and always keep a vigil eye for those mental deficient human beings.

Texas is not alone. Michele Bachman got reelected for example. Alaska has something very screwy happening. They seemed to have bucked the trend and voted in lesser numbers than in past elections. They were actually expecting a record breaking turnout.

And they elected a convicted felon!

Does that seem strange?

Just to cheer you up, invite a couple of your neighbors over and watch Blazzing Saddles with them. They can laugh at the jokes and you can laugh at the movie making fun of them without them realizing it.

Oh and just keep reminding yourself that this time, we did pick the sharpest crayon in the box.

Nerd Progre said...

Good post Dave. You know I have hated you before for your comments wrt our current government -that I personally voted for, and I'm very proud of- but this post of yours you're not as bad as I thought. :-) (VBG)

You know what's worse, the ignorance cuts both ways... there's ignorant people right now at the Perfil web site (one of the most hate-filled papers in town) criticizing the letter of our president to Obama claiming that "the end of racism claim is ridiculous, there's no racism in the USA".

I bet they'd have to hear from Americans just like you to believe eh?. Or maybe they buy the "perfect place" hollywood image of the so-called "American Dream"? (If so, I wonder what kind of movies are they watching :).

Or perhaps, readers are just blind zealots. :)

I will post back the URL of my post when I mention this one of yours and link here.


Anonymous said...

People believe what they want. Those that only watch certain news channels do so because they find comfort in what they get, even though it is not objective.

It is sad that large parts of the country are still so far behind. Hopefully Mr. Obama will prove them all wrong and things improve.

Great post, Dave. Nice to see not all Texans are like that. You are not that alone, Obama did pretty good in TX considering all the above.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I think that too many people are raised to be the way they are. Stop teaching hate. It is not something that is acquired through our natural development, it is learned.

Nerd Progre said...

"And a note to everyone out there afraid of paying taxes...get over it.
Freedom is not free"

Exactly my thoughts. Except for the part about the "safety" angle.

Do you seriously think the US needs a HIGHER military spending??. How about education, roads, healthcare for all?
The US infrastructure is crumbling, judging by what I read (a 3-digit figure is needed to quantify bridges in Minnesota which have structural problems, I read this week). "More than 300 Minnesota bridges receive special scrutiny because of structural deficiencies, outdated design features that make them functionally obsolete or use of gusset plate connectors similar to those on the Interstate 35W bridge that collapsed."

And to go back to your point wrt taxes, here's what a great thinker Paul Krugman once said, -from his book "Fuzzy Math - the Essential Guide to the Bush Tax Plan" published y2000. (very prophetic book, IMHO, and shows Krugman's well-deserved Nobel, awarded last month).


One of the reasons conservatives want tax cuts is, of course, that they believe that lower taxes will lead to economic growth. But the conservative case for tax cuts goes deeper; it rests on political economy as well as simple economics.

A defining feature of the conservative agenda is the desire for "smaller government". Conservatives would like to see Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and maybe even Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal rolled back, and certainly would not like to see the United States become more of a welfare state, to become more like Sweden or Canada.

One way to promote smaller governments is directly: you oppose proposals for new social programs and try to cut existing programs. But you can also work toward that goal indirectly, by making sure that future politicians find it hard to pay for social programs".(...) "So, an important reason why conservatives want to cut taxes is that they want to keep the federal government hungry; they don't want money readily available to finance new programs, or even to maintain old ones. And some conservatives are playing an even deeper game: they believe that they can create a self-reinforcing cycle of government downsizing."

"Maybe the easiest way to understand this idea is to look at the contrast between politics in Canada and in the United States. Canada's government is much larger compared to the size of its economy compared to the United States: in 1997 government at all levels spent 42 percent of GDP in Canada and 32 percent in the United States. This means that taxes in Canada are considerably higher, and social programs are considerably more generous. Yet in the United States voters and politicians routinely complain about "Big Government" while in Canada they don't. In terms of politics, Canada is far more "Europe" than the United States.

Why is the political landscape south of the border so different? One answer has to be the great American distinction: race. Let's say it bluntly: in the United States the beneficiaries of social programs tend to be of a different color than the beneficiaries of tax cuts.


Just my $0.02

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) said...

It's not Al Jazeer that should be taken off the networks - it's Fox News. The scary part is people believe the crap they see on tv.

Read a newspaper or check an alternate news source. You are a glimmer of hope in Texas!

Nerd Progre said...

If we consider TX's recent crown jewels include Halliburton, Enron, and the Bush dinasty, then clearly, Dave deserves all of the Nobel prizes by comparison. JOKE JOKE.. :-)

Question for you Dave if you're reading this: Didn't Texas at some point a few decades ago have a Democratic governor? if I don't recall incorrectly, a woman?

What happened to make TX overnight a staunch "republicans of the worst kind" state? ;)

PS: quickroute: besides Fox News, there's ClearChannel to worry about...

Longhorn Dave said...

Thanks everyone for chiming in. For the record the actions of a few of my fellow Texans do not represent (by far) the actions of Texans as a whole.

Most Texans ARE really good people and I can't think of anywhere else I would call home. Yes I love Buenos Aires. But, I am a Texan at heart.

I am excited to see what the next 4 to 8 years will bring. I also look forward to being able to travel the world again and not have to memeorize 10 different ways to say "Bush is an idiot" in the local language.

Longhorn Dave said...


Thanks for your comments.

I am a centrist at heart, and from that unusual and lonely position I'm afforded a unique perspective on the ills of the extremes on both the left and the right.

Unfortunately, I tend to piss off just about everyone on the left and the right. But, from the center you also get to see more objectively and can weigh the pluses and minuses of each side.

I always welcome opposing views. I hope we can respect each others in the name of dialogue and understanding.

I may be critical of the Ks, but I am also just as critical of our current admin (thank God he's almost gone!)

I'll always welcome your views here - even thought you "hate" me; cause your not so bad yourself.

Longhorn Dave said...


The late Governer Ann Richards. Now that was one great Texan! I'll Try and find the pic of here riding a Harley.

Longhorn Dave said...

Here is a link with the famous Texas Monthly cover of Ann on the Harley.

BTW.. The cover of the magazine was faked. But she loved it anyway. ( It was partly her idea to fake it.)

Nerd Progre said...

Dave: let me rephrase: "I used to hate your political views". :)

The problem with the "center" is that everyone considers him/herself the center and judges everyone else based on an axis starting from that point.

Myself included. :)

For instance, for me Al Gore is a center guy. For me the GOP is the far right (all of them) -sorry-. For me the paleocons are wackos. And for me, the Green Party is the center-left.

The far left? for me it's the US commies (do they exist? ;).

I do know two great people from TX, sadly both from Austin (a guy and his wife).

What I gather from them (of course 2 people do not make a statistic of any kind) is that they feel that outside the big cities, people are too conservative for their taste in TX.

I bet there's a lot to be proud of in TX... yet I also bet it'll take a lot of hard work to reverse the image given by the Bush legacy. :-)

PS: the pic you want is this one

Mike Wegner said...

Good post, Dave -- needless to say, I can relate. I've lived in Texas all my life but have always felt a bit like an outsider.

Longhorn Dave said...

@uncamikey, thanks for the comment.

We still need to meet up for lunch. It will be great to talk to someone who knows what it is like to grave Volta Ice Cream, but does not miss the sandpaper toilette paper.

Longhorn Dave said...

"grave Volta Ice Cream, "

Oops, should of said CRAVE not GRAVE...

Nerd Progre said...

well like all things if you get too much ice cream you will end in a grave sooner. :))

Capt. Edward S. Isaacs said...

Isn't it amazing how the real bigots judge an entire state, Texas in this case, by the acts of a few dumbbells. Dave, don't be discouraged, Texans are by far one of the best people I've met. They're kind, honest, giving, hard working, inclusive, tolerant and good BBQers!

Nerd Progre said...

Edwards: if you're referring to my comment please say so.

Just to clarify: my point was that when one says "Texas" nowadays people around the world think of Enron, Cowboy hats, and GW Bush. That's public image, perception.

Now your "Texas is the greatest" rosy view doesn't help, Dave's own critical views (as seen in his post) of his own State are valuable.

In any case, I apologize if I misread your comment.

Angieabk said...

It's been months since you posted this particular article--I'm just finding your blog. But I had to comment.

Coming from that same small town that you did, I remember the family that lost their home to fire in the 80's. I don't think my kids believe me that it really happened--"Mom, that kind of thing stopped happening way back in the 60's".

We live in Nevada now, and my daughter married a black man. A friend once asked her, "How did you southern parents feel about you marrying a black guy?" She responded, "The better question is how did my southern Baptist parents feel about me marrying an agnostic".

I didn't vote for Obama--I'm a republican. But I too was a little embarrassed by the lack of enthusiasm from Texas. We lost the POLITICAL race... get over it. We should have all understood the significance AND the importance to the history of the human race.

Anonymous said...

Love it when Argentines criticize the US for being a racist country. As if racism doesn't exist in Argentina... I guess some Argentines focus so much on others' flaws that they tend to overlook their own...

Unknown said...


Uhm, I believe the post was about Texas. It would be pretty self centered for an Argentine to write about Argentina in this post. If you believe the stereotype of Argentines you would then expect it, but it still does not change the fact that the post was all about Texas.

Nerd Progre said...

Argentines are indeed very racist.

Just ask any Belgrano or Barrio Norte resident about their thoughts of people supporting the president in plaza de mayo... "negros de mierda" is the mildest you´ll get.
So yes indeed skin tone plays a role.

I hate the fucking oligarchy, and the racist pigs whom think because they live in Palermo they are f*cking European and demand not to see any poor people around, or dismiss other´s thoughts because they were born in Tucuman or Salta and their skin color doesn´t match theirs.

The kind I´m talking about are the same whom say that most pickpockets and thieves are Peruvian or from Bolivia.

But I digress...