Texas Liberal

All People Matter

I Cast My Ballot In Vietnamese In A Room With A Big Crucifix And I Enjoyed It Very Much

Voting machines in Houston, Harris County, Texas give the option of voting in one of three languages. You can vote in English, Spanish or Vietnamese. I voted in Vietnamese. If the person on the ballot had the party affiliation of Dang Don Chu, I voted for that person. If it was Dang Cong Hoa, I did not vote for that person.

I voted in a Catholic church. There was a big crucifix hanging in the room. Fine by me. I would have voted in a synagogue or a mosque if that is where the county told me to go. I don’t care. If someone had handed me a Bible or a Koran, I would’ve had something to read while I stood in line. 

The people voting at my precinct were Black, Anglo, Hispanic and Indian. Or maybe the Indian people were Pakistani. When you think that Houston was a segregated city 45 years ago, it’s nearly a miracle to have a voting line like that and nobody giving it a second thought.

I don’t mean to suggest these people would get along if they got to know each other. I know I did not like the looks of plenty of people I saw today. I sized people up and guessed they might be Republicans. It’s just that nobody in the line seemed likely to shoot anyone else in the line. I would say that is pretty good.     

With all the Harris County judgeships, there were maybe 95 different races on the ballot. Many of them were unopposed Dang Cong Hoa and I left those blank. I know that today I voted for one certain winner and for two others who maybe have a chance. At best, I am 3 for 95. Often Democracy is about a kick in the ass. So it goes. I’ll keep giving it my best effort.

Please remember— like it says at the top of this blog— All People Matter.

November 7, 2006 Posted by | Elections, Houston, Politics, Texas | 1 Comment

Black Voters In Maryland Have Real Gripes—Yet In The End They Must Get It Done Themselves

The close senate race in Maryland reflects the legitimate gripes of black voters who feel they are taken for granted by Democrats.

In this race, white Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin is facing black Lt. Governor Michael Steele. Steele is running strongly in normally Democratic Maryland. He is gaining some black support. Blacks sometimes cast nearly 30% of votes in Maryland

In the Democratic primary, Cardin beat former Congressman and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. Some black Marylanders are frustrated that strong support for Democrats has not been produced a black candidate at the top of the Maryland Democratic ticket.

Black citizens of Maryland, and all people in Maryland, might also ask what Democrats have done to address chronic inner-city poverty in Baltimore.

Yet serious questions can also be asked about black turnout and black political organization in Maryland. Some of these questions are addressed here in a well thought-out Baltimore Sun opinion piece.

Hopefully Cardin will hold on tomorrow. And hopefully Democrats in Maryland will find strong black candidates for upcoming high-profile races.  

November 6, 2006 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

People In Congo Vote Despite Poverty & War While Many Americans Do Not Vote

People in Congo found a way to vote last week despite crushing poverty, rain and the threat of violence. What a contrast from some of the sad-sack excuses we will hear here in Houston and elsewhere next Tuesday from non-voting Americans.   Click here for a BBC photo essay on what the voting looked like in Congo.

November 5, 2006 Posted by | Elections, Politics | 1 Comment

Death Of South Africa Apartheid Leader Time To Reflect On Personal Concepts Of Forgiveness

The death of former South Africa President PW Botha is a moment for people to consider the merits and limits of forgiveness. Botha presided over apartheid South Africa and over the first steps towards the dismantling of apartheid. As an apartheid-era leader, Botha did many bad and brutal things. 

Nelson Mandela said about Botha, “While to many Mr. Botha will remain a symbol of apartheid, we also remember him for the steps he took towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement in our country.” Even if some of Mandela’s motives are political, it is an example to me that Mandela could find it in him to say anything good at all about Botha.

Other reactions from South Africa, linked to here, were more critical. It is hard to blame people for hard feelings towards Botha. 

We are often faced with situations where we must decide if we are going to forgive someone. Most of these issues are minor. If Nelson Mandela, after losing so many years of his life in prison, can find a way to some measure of forgiveness for PW Botha—It seems that we can be liberal in who we forgive on a day-to-day basis.   

Botha’s death, and Mandela’s reaction to it, should spur us to think about people in our own lives who may or may not merit forgiveness. It is a time to evaluate our personal concepts of forgiveness and to see if they reflect our best impulses.          

November 3, 2006 Posted by | Best Posts 2006, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Houston-Area Bloggers Should Reconsider Support For Far Right-Wing “Democrat” Nick Lampson

U.S. House candidate Nick Lampson is running yet another ad placing him to the right of his Republican challenger. This new ad criticizes his opponent, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, for voting to raise water and sewer rates. Houston needs all the revenue and infrastructure it can get. What would Lampson have us do? Dump our waste on the street like we are living in the 19th century?  

Already Lampson has run a mean and appalling ad placing him to the right of the conservative Sekula-Gibbs on immigration. Liberal and progressive bloggers in the Houston Metro area have no doubt seen these awful ads. 

Houston-area bloggers should reconsider backing Lampson. Is our support so easily taken for granted? I realize every seat counts in working towards a Democratic House majority. Yet even in these circumstances, Lampson is asking a lot of us. This is a race I think people would be justified leaving blank on their ballots.  

November 2, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Lousy People, Politics | 4 Comments

If Democrats Won’t Discuss Global Warming —Who Will?

The 2006 Election campaign has had plenty of discussion of former Congressman Foley. What has been lacking is discussion of global warming.

A new report by a British economist Sir Nicholas Stern says global warming should shrink the world’s economy by as much as 20% and that as many as 200 Million people could be become refugees from floods or droughts. The report says these things could happen in the lifetimes of people now living. 

I rarely criticize Republicans in this blog because, at this point in history at least, I expect nothing from Republicans. Leadership on tough questions is going to have to come from the other side. The high price of gas is a legitimate issue for Democrats. We have every reason to be suspicious of big oil. Yet we must also discuss the environmental costs of driving and we must ask who will bear these costs.

Like America in the 1850’s or Europe in the 1930’s, the crisis is just over the horizon. It is not just warming. It is also the massive consequences of the global economy. In America today it is up to Democrats to address these issues.

November 1, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 6 Comments

New Jersey Democratic Party Getting The Trouble It Asked For

By appointing political-fixer Bob Menendez to the U.S. Senate earlier this year, the New Jersey Democratic Party and Governor Jon Corzine showed arrogance. It’s an arrogance Democrats are paying for with a tough campaign to hold the seat. In recent years, the New Jersey Democratic Party has offered the people the always-sleazy former Senator Bob Torricelli, who resigned in disgrace, and former Governor Jim McGreevy. McGreevy also resigned in disgrace. 

New Jersey’s electorate has been trying to send the message that they are frustrated with Democrats. In 2004, John Kerry had to campaign more than expected in New Jersey. Voters seemed reluctant to give Democrats their Electoral Votes without a fight.  The selection of Menendez assumed a lot. Where a fresh-face may have been needed, a politician long-associated with an “I’ll wash your hands if you’ll wash mine,” attitude got the nod.

New Jersey has a long history as a political border state. This history is longer than contemporary Democratic ascendancy in the state.Southern New Jersey has had aspects in common with the broader American South, while Northern New Jersey has been more in tune with New York.

The political pendulum swings back and forth. For whatever reason, the Democratic establishment in New Jersey seems on a mission to speed the pendulum back towards Republicans. Hopefully, Menendez will hold the seat and the New Jersey Democratic establishment will finally get the message.   

November 1, 2006 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment