Thoughts About A Demagogue
I care not to dwell upon my pre-New York Shitty life. I left Texas in 1996. I have neither been back to the place nor do I plan to go there anytime soon. It’s history. But when certain things are brought to my attention, like the above video which came via The Huffington Post by way of Pa Heather, who wrote:
I guess this means a passport will be needed to enter Texas?
I feel compelled to revisit those not-so-good ol’ days.
The first time I became acquainted with Rick Perry was while pumping gas in Dallas: his name graced each and every gasoline station in the Lone Star State. As (then) Agriculture Commissioner and, it should be noted, Democrat such stuff under his jurisdiction. The second time I encountered Rick Perry was in college. In a classroom, not at a “kegger”. The course in question was either Texas history or economics— I do not recall. But I clearly remember the introduction/caveat the teaching fellow gave us:
- She was an avowed conservative Republican— in the truest pre Neo-Con Goldwater sense.
- She was against abortion because she thought birth control should be made readily available to everyone.
- She promised not let her personal politics color either the discussion in the class room or her grading. She delivered.
What’s more, she utterly detested Rick Perry and was not the least reluctant to make us aware of this fact. Often. She once said he was a member of the “good ol’ boys” network and was seekingÂ “higher office”. He got it. Albeit as a Republican.
Political turncoats strike me as being like recently converted non-smokers: they turn their ire on those who remind them of what they once were. A more cut and dried way of putting this I suppose would be hypocrisy. But to merely call Rick Perry a hypocrite would do him (and hypocrites in general) a tremendous disservice. He is much more complex.
Rick is correct when he says this piece of legislation concerns both Texans and Americans alike. The reason I left Texas was I, as an American, hated living “under the thumb of tyrants”. A fistful of thumbs including but not limited to racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, anti-intellectualism, and George W. Bush made me aware that, at long last, it was time to go. The state I was born and (largely) raised in no longer existed.
This “frog in the pot” was seared medium rare, got the hell out of Dodge and has since gained the clarity of hindsight (and a more extensive knowledge of cinema and politics) to pigeon hole a bone fide demagogue when she sees one.
The above clip comes from a movie called A Face In The Crowd. It stars Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau and, interestingly/ironically enough, was directed by Elia Kazan. This film is over fifty years old yet I find it strangely reminiscent of Perry’s speech. Homespun rugged individualism and “honest cracker barrel talk” posturing as upright citizenship on television which is in reality nothing more than partisan politics, sensationalism and racism. Plain and simple.
Go ahead and secede, Texas Rick. I won’t miss you.
P.S.: If you’re reading this (p)Rick, I take serious offense at your quoting Sam Houston in your speech. As it would happen, Governor, I am one of his descendants. Obviously I never met the man, but my grandparents told me stories about him. I reputedly sport the “Houstonian jaw” which I am about to unleash on you.
While a slave owner and anti-abolitionist, my forebear was against secession. Sam Houston was “Pro-Union”. After living with Cherokees and watching the Trail of Tears unfold he became aware of the plight of Native Americans. It upset him tremendously. Some of his finer swan songs to this effect can be found in the Congressional Globes dating from the Buchanan Administration, which I happen to possess.
Call it gut instinct (or my Texan cum Brooklyn temperament) but I doubt very much that my great, great, (great ?) Grandpa would fancy being quoted by you, (p)Rick. While hardly a perfect person (I am anything but proud about having a slave owner in my family) he did have principles/a moral center— however misguided. This is something you seem to lack, (p)Rick. I’m going to go out on a limb here but I’d guess Sam Houston, my forebear, would call you an asshole. Or worse.