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Man Has Places In His Heart Which Do Not Yet Exist…

Last night I began reading Graham Greene’s The End Of The Affair. On the title page is the following written by a French author named Leon Bloy

“Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence.”

This reminded me of Robert Kennedy’s words after the assassination of Martin Luther King—

“My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Books | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Borris Miles & Al Edwards—Democrats Way Of Telling Texas Urban Voters To Drop Dead

I’d be remiss not to comment on the terrible choice faced here in Houston by the loyal Democrats in strongly-Democratic Texas State House District 146.

Here is some helpful information about Democratic incumbent Borris Miles from the Houston Chronicle of January 12—

“The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is investigating a complaint that state Rep. Borris Miles, D-Houston, made threats and brandished a gun at a holiday party last month.

According to witnesses, Miles entered a St. Regis Hotel ballroom uninvited, confronting guests, displaying a pistol and forcibly kissing another man’s wife.

David Harris, who threw the party for his property management company, said he believes Miles, an insurance agent, was angry at him for investing in a rival business….

Rumors about the incident have swirled for weeks in both Houston and Austin. Harris agreed to speak publicly about it last month only after being contacted by the Houston Chronicle. 

Miles is being challenged in the March 4 Democratic primary for District 146 by former Rep. Al Edwards, whom Miles unseated in 2006….

Miles also gained some notoriety last spring when he personally removed two pieces of art on display at the Capitol that he said were objectionable. The art in an exhibit placed by the Texas Moratorium Network included a depiction of a black man hanging from a rope and an illustration of a man tied to an electric chair with the inscription “Doing God’s Work.”

According to witnesses to the December incident, Miles walked into the ballroom carrying a wine bottle and a glass…..

Rido said Miles also kissed his wife, Krysynthia, before leaving….”

Mr. Miles was elected, in essence, in the 2006 Democratic Primary when he defeated long-term incumbent Al Edwards

Mr. Edwards is also a disturbing figure.

Mr. Edwards, running again as the above article noted, is somewhere between no better and worse than Mr. Miles.

 In the Texas House, Mr. Edwards was an ally of the deeply conservative and autocratic House Speaker Tom Craddick. This fact  in no way represented the interests of Mr. Edwards’ majority-minority and very Democratic  district.

This is the best our Democratic Party can do for loyal supporters who need effective representation in Austin?

All this makes me ask again why city residents vote Democratic over and over while getting so little in return? Our cities just get worse and worse and worse. It’s the same way Republicans use rural voters. 

I’m not going to pretend I have a solution. It’s not voting Republican. I’ll just say that when you are used time and time again, it becomes at some point up to you to work for change.

If that change involves abstaining from certain races on the ballot, voting for Greens if the option is there, or demanding more effective leadership from take-us-for-granted Democrats, I simply refuse to believe I have to accept this stuff forever.  

In this specific case, Texas House 146 voters have two lousy candidates. They deserve better. While all people should vote in all elections, this is a race I’d leave blank on my ballot on Primary Day if I lived in 146.

Which brings us to the absurd way we select a House Speaker in Texas. Instead of by party line vote, as is done in places where democracy exists, Texas House Speaker votes cross party lines.

In this way, the politics of personality, secret deal-cutting, and everyone for themselves, replaces the voters of Texas. Instead of a majority party and a minority party reflecting the will of Texas voters, what you get is a closed-door scramble that reflects who-knows-what.

A concern is that Mr. Miles is a reliable vote for a Democratic Speaker, while Mr. Edwards might support Mr. Craddick in a closely divided House.    

My feeling is that the party that wins a majority should elect a Speaker. That’s the democratic thing to do. And that’s the kind of change and reform folks should be demanding.

Failing that, maybe urban representatives in Texas should talk with rural representatives in Texas and barter the Speakers’s chair for whoever will give the best terms. Maybe raw political power is the only way to get the attention of people and interests that at heart don’t seem to really care if voters who can be taken for granted live or die.

Update—Here is a column by Rick Casey at the Houston Chroniclesaying that Mr. Craddick is at the heart of why Democrats have been silent on this issue and also suggesting that Mr. Miles may have talents to offer in the legislature. Also, Mr. Miles has been in the hospital this week with pneumonia. He is reported to be on the upswing. Good luck to Mr. Miles in his recovery. 

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment