Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Loyal Citizens (A Few Of Them) Protest Manuel Rodriguez’s Anti-Gay Campaign Tactics—Where Are The Good People?

Above you see freedom loving citizens of Houston protesting the ongoing presence of Manuel Rodriguez on the Houston Independent School District Board.

They are quite appropriately making this protest under the flag of our State of Texas and under the flag of the United States of America.

Mr. Rodriguez circulated anti-gay campaign materials in his recent reelection bid. Mr. Rodriguez won by 24 votes.

The link above shows the campaign circular.

From the Houston Chronicle

“Rodriguez, who is seeking re-election to the District III seat, noted in the brochure that his challenger, Ramiro Fonseca, has “spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights … not kids.”  The ad also points out (Ramiro) Fonseca’s endorsement by the Houston GLBT political caucus and underlines the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.” Rodriguez describes himself in the flyer as a “family man” who is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of four and the grandfather of five. The ad says Fonseca has a male partner and no children”

There is a website regarding this issue. 

Though I don’t see a word about this concern on the website of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. 

There were maybe 20 people at the protest shown in the picture. These folks were loyal Americans seeking to right a wrong.

While that is very good, there are a number of questions I had after attending this rally.

Where was the full GLBT community?

Where were the candidates who have been happy to take the Houston GLBT caucus endorsement over the years?

Where were other civil rights groups in Houston? The freedom of all people is connected. Where is the outreach between groups? Where is the effort and imagination? Where is the hope that people working together can make life better?

At the core of the matter, where were everyday citizens of Houston?

Is anybody serious about anything?

You can’t control what folks such as Mr. Rodriguez are going to do or say. There are always going to be people who do and say mean and hateful things.

All you control is your response to the bad actions of people in power.

Mr. Rodriguez and people who support his narrow mindset know the sad facts of the matter as shown by this example.

You can get away with just about anything and folks will look the other way.

Even folks who say they care about issues of civil rights and freedom will for the most part look away.

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In An Ethnically Diverse Society, All People Have The Right To Be Apathetic

Here in Houston and Harris County, Texas, it is runoff day for candidates in races where nobody reached 50% of the vote on Primary Day last month.

There are votes such as this all over Texas today.

The estimated turnout for this vote in Harris County is around 5%.

In Harris County, you can take your ballot in three different languages as illustrated by the sign you see above that was outside my polling place today.

You can vote in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.

In a diverse part of the nation like Houston and Harris County, all groups of people have the right to be apathetic and to have no idea what is taking place.

In less diverse parts of Texas, only one group of people is likely to be ignorant of the events of the day. Here in Houston though, there is a near limitless number of racial and ethnic groups that are ignoring this election.

This is what freedom is all about.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Houston District H Council Race—Nobody Gave A Damn

Last week there was a special election to fill a vacant seat in Houston City Council District H.

Of 93,000 eligible voters, around 4,200 people showed up.

This despite the fact that at stake was the chance to add a second Hispanic to council. There is only one Hispanic on council despite the fact that something like 40% of our people in Houston are Hispanic.

Local bloggers Charles Kuffner and Marc Campos suggested an issue in the outcome of the race was the location of early voting centers.

Here is Mr. Kuffner’s comment. 

Here is what Mr. Campos had to say.

Now in a narrow sense the location of the voting machines may have impacted the outcome of the race. But that is missing the larger story.

When you get 7% turnout the issue is not early voting locations, it is the fact that nobody cared about the election.

It’s a culture within the city as a whole that says who serves on City Council does not matter. It’s years of infighting within the Hispanic political class that have helped hold back the advancement of Hispanic political power.

It is campaigns that fail to motivate voters. It’s minority elected officials okay with low voter turnout because they can be elected every two years without real opposition.

It’s a Democratic Party as a whole that is content with how things are even as they count on strong minority support. It’s a Republican Party that has demonized people because they are different from most Republican voters. 

After 11 years here, I’ve still yet to grasp the acceptance of the terrible turnout in our city elections. Mr. Kuffner does more than his bit to increase civic involvement and improve the quality of life in Houston. But as a general matter—and in many regards— it is remarkable what we accept in  Houston as normal.

The two remaining candidates in District H are Maverick Welsh  and Ed Gonzalez. 

If you live in District H please consider these two candidates and vote in the runoff.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Houston District H Council Election A Joke—Photo Of Rubber Chickens

In Houston’s City Council District H special election yesterday , two candidates beat some other candidates and have qualified for a runoff that will be held some day sooner or later. Here is the Houston Chronicle story on the issue.

Of 93,000 registered voters, only 4,200 folks showed up. 

Sure. 

Some folks blog about this stuff quite often. Here is what Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner said about the District H election.

Me?

I’m going to run a joke here on the blog— 

A frog telephones the Psychic Hotline and is told, “You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you.”The frog says, “This is great! Will I meet her at a party, or what?”“No,” says the psychic. “Next semester in her biology class.” 

( Yes–The District H race was not a very good joke which is why I ran a not so good joke.)

Also, I’m going to run a picture of rubber chickens  

File:Archie McPhee rubber chickens.jpg

Maybe Mr. Kuffner has some insight I’ve missed, but one has to wonder how much time this stuff is worth when the people who live in the district don’t care.

May 10, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cincinnati NAACP Hires Right-Wing Attorney With Poor Civil Rights Record—Can’t Black Folks And Gay Folks Get Along Better?

The Cincinnati NAACP has hired conservative lawyer Christopher Finney to serve as it’s Director of Legal Redress.

The Cincinnati NAACP has done this despite Mr. Finney’s record of opposing the rights of gay folks in Cincinnati.

(The links above are to my blogger friend at Queer Cincinnati.  Texas Liberal is always glad to be listed at that shop as a Queer Cincinnati blogger.) 

Mr. Finney had a large hand in the passage of the terrible Issue 3 in Cincinnati back in 1993. This measure denied legal protections to gay citizens of Cincinnati that were extended to all other Cincinnatians.( It has since been repealed.)

The rights all people are connected.

I’ve long had the frustration that some advocates of gay rights don’t look behind their own interests. They don’t always seem to see the link between their rights and the rights of all people. Sometimes they come of as elitist and looking for more of a kind economic empacipation rather than looking for the freedom of all people.

Yet what impression can be left with gay rights advocates and with all freedom-loving people in the Cincinnati area when  Christopher Finney is hired to work for the Cincinnati NAACP?     

Why can’t black folks and gay folks get along? When will leaders in the black community speak more forcefully about accepting all people as they were born? Black folks and most gay folks came together to vote for Mr. Obama last November.  Can’t this fact be used as a starting point for better relations between the two groups?  

Writing about this issue and seeing that Chris Finney is still causing trouble after I’ve been away from Cincinnati for 11 years reminds me of the Jean Sartre play No Exit. The same people year after year after year afflicting each other by dredging up bad memories and the inability to leave the room even though they may in fact have the option to go elsewhere.

It’s not really different anywhere else. Though in a big spread-out place like Houston, with a young and often transient population, fewer people make the pretense of caring.  I don’t advocate widespread apathy, though sometimes I see its virtues. 

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Do “The People” Exist In A Political Sense?—Questions Spurred By A Low Turnout Election

  

Despite a number of important ballot issues and at least a few open City Council seats in Houston, voters in Houston and Harris County turned out at only around 10% of registered persons.

Here are some questions I have based on this terrible turnout. They are questions that would apply to any low turnout election— 

1. Does a political entity such as a city or a county exist in the most meaningful regard of a shared sense of citizenship when so few people vote? No wonder conditions in Houston are so awful for so many people.

2. Are candidates elected by so few people legitimately elected? Why should office holders not vote the way large donors and more affluent voters wish them to vote, when little counter pressure is exerted by an involved public?

3. Don’t you imagine elected officials hold the public in contempt over such low turnout?   

4. If you accept Aristotle’s premise that society existed before the individual, to people delegitimize their very existence by failing to take part in politics? Do “the people” truly exist in a political sense when turnout is so bad?

5. If county and city services would be temporarily suspended unless municipal elections generated at least 75% turnout, do you think people would then vote? I bet a 75% threshold would be met if folks were told police, fire and water service would be stopped until enough people decided they were really part of our society.

The above picture is of people voting in Haiti in 2006.  Imagine that people can line up and possibly face violence to vote in a poor place like Haiti, but people in Houston and Harris County and elsewhere in America will not come out and vote.   

November 9, 2007 Posted by | Books, Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Politics | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments