Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A murderer, a cannibal, and a serial killer walk into a bar

This is not a lead-in to a joke, actually. Sorry. If you came here looking for one, I apologize. You can go away now.

Texas Governor Rick Perry traveled to an evangelical church in Ft. Worth on Sunday to sign two bills passed by the Texas Legislature, one banning gay marriage, and the other requiring parental notification for abortions for girls under 18. These two bills are the major, and indeed the only, accomplishments of the Texas Legislature this year.

This is the most open and brazen Republican pandering to a right-wing Christian voter base we have ever had in this state. No governor has ever before signed crazy legislation in a crazy church, or for that matter in any church. This church, the Calvary Christian Academy, had about a thousand people on hand to watch the signing, and 350 people outside protesting. Perry's reelection staff sent out emails inviting people to the event that said "we want to completely fill this location with pro-family Christian friends who can celebrate with us." Later this was modified by saying that "people of all faiths are welcome."

Like who, for example?

Well, they got a Jew. A rabbi, in fact. Or so he calls himself. Turns out, he is David Stone, an apostate Jew for Jesus who heads a so-called Beth Yeshua Messianic Jewish Congregation in Ft. Worth.

The Calvary Christian Academy has tax exempt status. When it was pointed out to them that they could lose this exemption by holding a rally organized by Perry's reelection committee, they moved the bill-signing from the "sanctuary" to the gymnasium. Yes, they have a gymnasium.

It was quite a circus.

What we have developing in Texas is an interesting re-creation of the political situation of my childhood, a one-party state, where the real election is that party's primary. When I was growing up, it was the Democratic primary. The Republican candidate had as much chance of being elected, in the fall, as the Vegetarian candidate.

I fear that practicality is going to force me, in this lifetime, to vote Republican. Or at least vote in a Republican primary. Perry is facing opposition from Kay Bailey Hutchison, one of our right-wing extremist senators now in Washington, who, however, is nowhere _near_ as right wing as Perry. If Hutchison decides not to run, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, Carol Keeton Rylander probably will. (Don't ask me why Texas's most important women politicians go by three names. I don't know.) Rylander is also right wing, but again, is not as crazy and irresponsible as Perry.

Both would probably be underdogs, in Texas.

I hate being in a lesser-of-two-evils voting bind. It's like having to decide between a murderer, a cannibal, and a serial killer. The choice is hard, but you have to make it. But that's a one-party state for you. Let's hope we don't become a one-party country.

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