Politics: Can He Say That?

Last week’s issue of Newsweek sports Texas Gov. Rick Perry (“Governor Goodhair” to his detractors) on the cover, big bold letters blazoned across his business suit: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS. Don’t know about you, but I’d like to see Texas messed with just once, if only to shut them up from using that damned infernal slogan anymore.

Say what you will about our guv:

“He’s a closet case.”

“He’s a disloyal Republican.”

“He hugged Obama. Obama! That SOCIALIST!”

At least he’s not Rick Perry.

Dubya’s successor in the Austin statehouse, at a Tax Day Tea Party a year ago, greeted Tea Partiers who shouted “SECEDE!” by saying he didn’t want that to happen, but “if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people… who knows what might come out of that?”

Well, that made the Limbaugh/Beck crowd pee in their pants from excitement.

In the magazine’s interview, Governor Goodhair at least did the country-he-wouldn’t-mind-seeing-split-up a favor by taking himself out of contention for its presidential race in 2012:

Are you considering running and would you consider it?

“No and no.

Under any circumstances?

“That’s correct.

Vice president? Would you be willing to consider that?

“No. I don’t care about going to Washington, D.C.”

… Now if only we could convince Sister Sarah, Brother Newt and some of the other Grumpy Old Party president-wannabees to pledge the same.

Maybe Perry has the good sense to figure the country ain’t ready for another Texan in the White House until this current crop of Americans is dead and gone and no one’s left alive who has any memory of the last one we elected. (Or didn’t elect, depending on your point of view.)

Don’t get me wrong — I like Texas. Certainly do. Been through a few times.

Drove through the entire state years ago, on a cross-country excursion, from Houston on the east to El Paso on the west. Stopped in Austin mid-course, and enjoyed a night out with friends at an actual, bona fide Tex-Mex restaurant.

I remember wondering if this joint was the same one those notorious Bush twins had gotten busted in for underage drinking earlier that year, around the time the ‘rents were just settling into their digs in Washington.

“Do we really need more hotels? It’s performing arts centers we can’t spare. Let’s have a moratorium on knocking any more of those down, why don’t we?”

Have absolutely no recall of the gastronomic-atomic main course on my plate that night, but I do remember washing all that hot & spicy down with the first frozen margarita I ever had the supreme pleasure to imbibe. So good, I followed it with another. I began to feel the pleasure work its effect on me no sooner than I lightheadedly made my way back to the parking lot. (Disclaimer: No, I was not driving. Nor was anyone in my party, to my knowledge, carrying a concealed weapon on their person, as most non-Texans likely assume of most Texans.)

A sidebar article that accompanied the Perry piece spotlighted that bastion of educational excellence known as the Texas State Board of Education. These are 15 people who never came across a sex education textbook they liked. Or a history one. Or a social studies one. Or a science one. Hell, pretty much any textbook, for that matter. This month, the SBOE will be reexamining what 4.7 million Texas public high school students will be taught. A few months ago, preliminary discussions on the civics texts saw Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez out, the inventor of the yo-yo in. Aesop’s fables and separation of church and state are out; a reglossing of Joseph McCarthy’s reputation is in.

Oh, Molly Ivins, where are you when we really need you?

I kinda like the idea of Texas seceding from the union if only for one reason: so their stinkin’ textbooks don’t bring down the educational standards of the rest of the U.S. of A. I mean, really. Can you just see what those poor Texas schoolkids will be like, years from now, beyond graduation? Carrying with them into adulthood the notion that humans once saddled up and rode the backs of dinosaurs, that evolution is nonsense, that sex… Well, I don’t even want to dare conceive what their understanding of sex might be like. All that ignorance and stupidity has a way of being passed down generations and becoming quite stubbornly resistant to scrubbing.

What happens to us all if ever one of them grows up and decides to run for president and leader of the free world? I mean, can you imagine in the darkest recesses of your mind one of these Texas dolts making it all the way to the White…

Never mind.

Oswald forever changed the world that November day from behind the sixth-floor window of a Dallas building that served as the depository for…

… Texas schoolbooks.

And they’ve been a boil on America’s butt ever since.

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One thing I sure wish they wouldn’t mess with is the Jackie Gleason Theater (aka the Fillmore Miami Beach).

Evidently, there are thousands who are like-minded. Supporters of the Gleason have a Facebook page up and running for the theater’s fans. Word is that a hotel serving the convention center is on the drawing board for the theater’s exact location.

Do we really need more hotels? It’s performing arts centers we can’t spare. Let’s have a moratorium on knocking any more of those down, why don’t we? The Gleason’s main problem is it stays darkened for so much of the year. Just find a better event management firm to come in and infuse it with productions and entertainment galore.

If you really want something to demolish, perhaps a building whose occupants don’t quite fulfill its potential, I’ve got a candidate: Miami Beach City Hall.

For if those folks can’t leave the Gleason well enough alone — especially in wake of all this public love it’s now getting — what good are they?

Incredible. The idea of turning the Gleason into a rubble pile could only come from the minds of people who embody that expression some Texans have for dumb:

“If brains were leather, they couldn’t saddle a flea.”

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Attended my first Gay Pride Parade coupla Saturdays ago, the one right here in Miami Beach, down Ocean Drive. And I’m not even gay. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

I went because — one, it’s not often SoBe hosts a parade. Come to think of it, when else does SoBe have one? And why oughtn’t we have more? One every week, I say. It would really put us on the map. Give the tourists something to write home about.

Miami: The Parade-A-Week Vacation Spot.

As I watched the parade, my thoughts occasionally drifted to the visitors from Iowa or Minnesota whose Miami vacations had somehow collided with Gay Pride weekend. What must their postcards home have said?

Dear Aunt Mildred:

We saw actual gay people. In the flesh. And they were having a parade on the beach. It was very colorful. They had some interesting floats. We even saw a man dressed up like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

When we come back next year, we’ll bring you along.

The other reason I went: Out of curiosity for what a gay parade is like. Everybody loves a parade, right? And while practically anybody can do a parade, I had a hunch that when gays have a parade, they know how to throw a PARADE. And I was proven right.

By the way, there are no ugly people at a Pride Parade. I mean, really. Do you know of any other denomination of people with more good-looking and aesthetically-pleasing people per capita as the gay community? I saw guys attractive and good-looking enough to tempt me to want to be gay for a day. No kidding. And this from one who considers himself secure enough in his heterosexual masculinity to admit such a thing. And brazen enough to do so within the pages of a newspaper.

I came to discover, however, that what really hurts a straight man in a sea of such gay humanity is the sight of so many beautiful, luscious lesbians who will never, EVER be drawn to one like me in the sort of way that I and most other red-blooded straight males would crave. No matter how attractive our face, deep our wallet, or fast our car.

Alas, I could only lust and sigh.

That’s it. ‘Nuff said. I hope to return here in this spot next week, before any wrecking ball touches one scintilla of the Gleason, or before BP stock goes gangbusters and the pro-offshore drilling crowd starts cheerleading for oil rigs off Fisher Island.

About Charles Branham-Bailey

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