Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Morality Is In Large Part About Our Views On Public Questions

My friend David Jennings, a top conservative blogger and reflexive mouthpiece for the so-called Tea Party here in Houston, wrote the following in his blog Big Jolly Politics a few days ago–

“Remember folks: these vile, vulgar, angry bigots on the left HATE YOU because you try to live clean lives and do right by other people. No amount of coddling to their wishes will change that.

The post was about a liberal blogger in town that Mr. Jennings feels is off the mark in a variety of ways.

I’ve been thinking for a few days about these two sentences from Mr. Jennings.

I live a clean life by conventional standards. I’ve been married for ten years and have never cheated on my wife. I don’t do any drugs. I don’t smoke. I drink in moderation. I go to work five days a week and I pay my taxes. I vote in every election. Regular readers of this blog know I never use obscenities in the blog. Anybody who has ever shared a meal with me  at a restaurant knows that I’m as polite as could be and that I tip 20%. I am, in fact, quite conservative in many respects.

I live a clean life and try to do right by other people. And from what I know of Mr. Jennings, he values courtesy and hard work as well.

Here’s the difference between a conservative and a liberal —-A conservative likely favors repeal of the recently Health Care Reform that—Among many other helpful things— will help millions of Americans with the elimination of lifetime caps on policies, and the prohibiting of the practice of kicking people off insurance because they get sick.  A liberal does not likely favor repeal of Health Care Reform.

I’ll side with the person who puts human life over small government ideology.

Let’s say that a conservative  is in his or her own private life a wonderful person. I suppose this is possible. No type of person has a corner on right living. But what good will the private conduct of someone on the right do for our fellow Americans when health insurance is needed? Or when we need social security? Or when we need parks and libraries that are sufficiently funded?

Lot’s of really bad people love their spouses and love their kids.

Politics is about how we will run our society. It is about far more than private life.

In addition to how you live your private life, a test of character is are you willing to pay the taxes required for a decent society and not just for your own perceived gain?

The right wants to privatize every aspect of our lives. A view of good conduct that stops at private conduct is an insufficient view.

Character is about how you view the public sphere just as much as about how you conduct your private life.

We are obligated to each other by the simple fact that we exist.

Of course we must work if we are able. We must be kind to the people in our lives.

We must also see that morality involves progressive taxation, needed investment in our schools and parks, acceptance of people of all faiths, and Health Care Reform that will help millions of Americans.

These are aspects of morality just as much as how we live our private lives.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Are The People Who Run Texas Human Beings?

Are the people who run the State of Texas human beings in the sense that we associate humanity with the possession of basic morality and regard for life? In the ten years I’ve lived in Texas I’ve wondered about this more than once. A recent Houston Chronicle story about the debate over expansion of children’s health insurance, taking place in that malignancy known as the Texas Legislature, made me ponder this question again. 

One in five children in Texas lack health insurance. It’s another way we hate children for not having the ability to pay their own way.  Children are in this regard as despicable as old people and wounded veterans. Drains on society. Is their any more certain death sentence in our society than the widespread expression of care and sentiment?  

From the Chronicle article

The debate over children’s health care this year will be as arduous as ever, but so is the ante: More than 160,000 Texas children whose cash-strapped parents can’t get state help to pay medical expenses for maladies as common as chronic ear infections or as daunting as cancer treatment. The argument among legislators will be whether to raise income-eligibility levels so that those children can join the 451,000 now covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Supporters say reducing the number of uninsured youngsters — now one in five — would benefit not only the children’s physical health but the fiscal health of Texas taxpayers. The federal government picks up 72 percent of the cost and providing health care in doctors’ offices is almost always cheaper than treating children in public hospital emergency rooms.

Critics worry about undermining employer-sponsored health coverage and point to the growing costs for the state. CHIP enrollment increases over the past two years have driven the state’s tab from $102 million to $267.5 million. There are no monthly premiums but families pay an annual enrollment fee of $50 and most co-payments for doctor visits or prescription drugs range from $3 to $10. A pending federal bill that renews CHIP is expected to allow Texas to increase income limits so more can enroll. The current limit for a mother and two children of $35,200 could be increased to $52,800. Rep. Ellen Cohen, D-Houston…Cohen this week plans to introduce a bill that would expand CHIP and take advantage of anticipated new federal funds. “Since 2003, Texas has turned away almost $1 billion of federal matching funds by failing to invest in CHIP,” Cohen said. “As a result, we are left with the highest uninsured population of children in the nation.” Gov. Rick Perry’s spokeswoman, Allison Castle, said the governor does not support expanding CHIP’s eligibility standards because of the higher income families who would be covered. She said Congress is trying to lure the state into expanding programs in tough times and doing so would put the state on a “slippery slope to socialized medicine.”

Children living in middle-income families are increasingly joining the ranks of the uninsured. That is largely because employer-based health insurance premiums have more than doubled since 2000. The average annual cost to employees is $3,355 and the cost to employers is $9,325, for a total cost of $12,680, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only half of Texas private-sector employers offer insurance, and among small businesses, the percentage drops to 34, the federal government reports.

The “slippery slope to socialized medicine.” Sure. We can’t have that. We”ll just have all these kids without health insurance.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas, Ways We Hate Children | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Houston Neighborhoods Should Relocate To Suit Strip Club Locations

The City of Houston has won a long legal battle with a strip club called The Penthouse Club. The city asserted that the club was too close to a residential neighborhood. A court has upheld Houston’s claim. Click here for the details. It seems the city soon intends to go on the offensive with a number of these lawsuits.   

My view is that the neighborhood should be made to relocate. We can’t let people get in the way of lawful business places. Neighborhood relocation would be a source of jobs for movers and, if we forced the people way out along the highways, new home construction.  Even better, maybe we could move the people to a remote location and then build a new highway to reach the new population center with all the new houses. 

No–That’s not really my view.

I’m glad to see an assertive city government advocating for people at the expense of sexually exploitative business places. Would you want your wife or sister or daughter working at one of those clubs? I think we could make that a test of people’s libertarian notions about these places. We’ll put your daughter up on stage dancing around the pole.

Many political issues are questions of morality—Far more than we realize can be classified as such. Decisions of who we tax and to what extent are questions of morality. How we spend tax money and for what purposes are also moral questions.  

Morality, and the debates at the ballot box and in city halls and legislative chambers around the nation between competing ideas of morality, are a foundation of politics and public policy.

So go Houston! Get rid of as many strip joints and such places as legally possible.

January 2, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , , | 7 Comments