Was that a Founding Father leaving the women’s outhouse?

We don’t mean to be prigs
But George Washington wore wigs.
And sported silk stockings, they say.
So you have to wonder, well – wowser! –
Why didn’t someone look into his trousers,
Back in the Founding Father’s day?

It’s hard to imagine how we beat the British
With “patriots” so brazenly, shockingly skittish
They let George use the outhouse untested.
It’s a threat to the freedom we all hold so dear
And, if you try, you can work up some fear.
Why, these days the State Senate would have him arrested.

And Travis! And Crocket! And Bowie, ee gads!
How, o how, do we know they were regular lads
And not just dressed in that way?
Twould be better to have fought and lost – by far –
Than to think that we owed our freedom to war
Led by people who didn’t pee as God ordered that day.   

by Jefferson Barton

Raise your hand if you’re ready to wake up

When life imitates absurdist comedy it’s hard to know what to say.

But here we are, a state of some 27 million peoples, a great industrialized empire at the dawn of a new digital age, and our lieutenant governor, and our governor, think the most pressing priority before us is checking undies and body parts at restroom doors.

This is not Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party.

Our property tax system is laughably antiquated. We have no mass transit connecting major cities. We haven’t figured out how to get medical care to poor Texans under the daily revisions of national bills.

Bills passed last session by this Legislature seem (according to the data) to be contributing to a higher mortality rate for women during birth. There are a thousand details to work out on border deals, import-export deals, energy, job recruitment, drought, flooding, and climate change in general.

Nationally, there is a raging debate about ballot security, but locally, we’ve learned the hard way that Texas counties ARE NOT ALLOWED to take common-sense steps to make it easier for citizens to vote securely in central locations while also generating a numbered written or digital trail to ensure security. The technology is there but the Legislature’s over-arching laws on voting are woefully behind the times.

Yet what is the burning priority for the leader of the State Senate and our governor? “Fixing” a problem no one knew existed or cared about until they made it a priority. Doubtless, some people are genuinely concerned at this point. But just as surely most of the people pushing this circus in the Legislature are using it to score cheap political points, mainly at the expense of innocent children who were born with genes and brain chemistry a little out of the ordinary.

Never mind that existing laws address sexual predators nicely. Never mind that virtually no school principals or superintendents saw this as a problem. Never mind that there is no data and no police records to support the claim that this is any kind of widespread threat.  Never mind, for that matter, that major business executives across the state say this kind of naked appeal to fear and prejudice will hurt the recruitment of top talent, scare away investment, and alienate tourists.

Never mind all that – this is the burning priority for the governor and the Republican members of the Senate. Thank whatever is holy in Austin for Speaker of the House Joe Strauss, also a Republican, who is slowing down the madness in his chamber and who seems to think legislators should attend to business before demagoguery.

It puts us in mind of the refrain from a ditty from the 1970s, written by Wynette Barton, a stockholder and former publisher:

There’s a little town in Texas they call Capitol A,
With play-like moons by night and play-like government by day.
Oh, they’re going by the Constitution so they gotta be right.
But the Texas Legislature’s got me really uptight.
To demand For really, what could be worse?
So anti-American, so perverse.

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