The lazy “journalists” at TIME have announced on the cover of the October 28 issue that “the Lone Star State [Texas, of course] is America’s future” — so much so that we’ll be “the United States of Texas.”
It’s popular these days to make such an assumption, perhaps especially after Gail Collins’ June 2012 book As Texas Goes…: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.
But it’s also a ridiculous argument to make that any one state is going to take over the entire nation’s sociopolitical culture any decade soon.
Of course you can take the nation’s most populous states — California, Texas, New York and Florida are the top four, in that order — and find similarities between these states and the rest of the states.
We’re talking about the top two most-populous blue states and the top two most-populous red states, yet the combined population of California and New York exceeds 57.5 million Americans, whereas the combined population of Texas and Florida, by comparison, is around 45 million.
Texas and its red-state mentality aren’t exactly taking over the entire nation.
TIME helpfully notes that from 2010 to 2011, California lost 94,000 residents while Texas gained 110,000 residents, but the graph in the magazine does not give us the context of that, which is that California has just more than 38 million residents to Texas’ just-more-than 26 million — yes, Texas is a good 12 million people behind California, putting it at a distant second place — so we’re hardly talking about an exodus.
And comparing other red states to Texas is pretty fucking stupid because duh — they’re red states.
The God-awful red state of Arizona, for instance, where I lived for the first 30 years of my life, of course is much like Texas. In Arizona, like in Texas, the business owners, the plutocrats, the fat cats, call the shots. You, the commoner, probably especially in the workplace or as a consumer, have almost no rights, because that’s how these states’ laws are written: for the benefit of the plutocratic overlords and to the detriment of the working class and the poor. It’s set up that way.
Consumer protection? Employee protection? Environmental protection? Dream on! These Commie luxuries cut into the fat cats’ profits, and that’s anti-American! And anti-Christian, too (even though Jesus said to pay your taxes without complaint and that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of Heaven)!
This is how Arizona was when I left it for good 15 years ago, in 1998, so to claim that Arizona is copying Texas now is bullshit.
The red-state-blue-state divide has been with us since before the Civil War, and to claim that the entire nation is going to turn all blue or all red during our lifetimes is short-sighted and ridiculous.
Despite even the McDonald’s-ization of the United States of America — I refer to the monolithically capitalistic American culture, with McDonald’s and Wal-Mart stores in all 50 states, as well as movies and television shows that Americans watch in all 50 states — the regional sociopolitical and cultural differences throughout the U.S. persist, and they will for a long time to come.
TIME’s article quotes one person who puts the Texas “miracle” into a nutshell: “The Texas model basically calls for low taxes and low services,” TIME quotes Erica Grieder, author of the April 2013 book Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas. (Clearly, Grieder sees the Texas “miracle” in a different light than does Gail Collins, and I have to wonder if Grieder’s book was a response to Collins’.)
More emphasis needs to be placed on “low services,” the part of the red-state equation that almost everyone usually misses when singing the praises of Texas’ low taxes. There are low services because these red states don’t care about the individual, unless he or she is filthy rich. For the filthy rich — those who need the least amount of help — the red states can’t bend over backwards enough.
The commoner, however, is pretty fucking fucked in a red state. Those who need the most help in a red state are the most fucked, yet, ironically, these are the very same states that claim to be the most “Christian,” even though Jesus Christ was all about people helping other people (and not about claiming that the richer the plutocrats get, the more all of us will benefit — somehow!).
As far as taxes are concerned, you get what you pay for, and I experienced the “low-services” environment of Arizona, in which everyone except for the richest was pretty fucking miserable. The richest Arizonans could afford their own health care, education, transportation, etc.; the rest of us were quite on our own in this “low-services” environment.
So if you are a commoner and you want to pay lower taxes but stupidly don’t give a shit about your quality of life, then by all means, pack up your shit and move to Texas.
Concurrent with the myth that there is an exodus of commoners from California (and other blue states) to Texas is the myth that we Californians are so distraught over seeing anyone leave the state.
No, actually, we’re not.
The lower the population is, the lower the taxes can be, the lower the competition for resources will be, and the quality of life will increase for those of us who remain.
And most of us Californians are fine seeing greedy, unethical business owners packing up and moving their businesses to Texas (and other red states), where, without state regulations that protect the consumer, the employee and the environment, they can rape, pillage and plunder and profiteer far more effectively than they can do here in California, where we believe in protections for the environment, the employee and the consumer.
Most of us Californians aren’t abject fucktards, and so we are quite clear that the vast majority of plutocrats don’t exist to help out anyone else, but are in it almost entirely or entirely for themselves and their fortunes, which they gain at our expense as employees whom they under-compensate and as consumers whom they overcharge (and, of course, at the expense of our environment, which they destroy in their quest for obscene personal profits).
“Trickle down” is the fat cats urinating all over the working class, what little remains of the middle class, and the poor. The plutocrats don’t ensure that all boats rise. No, they keep buying larger and larger yachts for themselves while they foreclose upon our dinghies.
“Jobs!” is the mantra of the Texas-promoting plutocrats and those who love them like chickens showing love to Colonel Sanders.
Right: Jobs with shitty wages and shitty or even no benefits — in states with “low services,” so don’t expect any help outside of your employer, who only exists to fuck you over! Lots and lots of these shit jobs in Texas, but hey, they are jobs, in the strict, dictionary-definition sense of the word, right?
Again, does quality matter at all?
I say that it does, and so I’m staying here in California, where I’m happy to pay my fair share of taxes for a better quality of life — instead of evading taxes and living among the miserable in a dog-eat-dog, “low-services,” pro-plutocratic red state.
And again, when you are talking about the nation’s two most populous states, the blue state of California and the red state of Texas (states so populous and so influential that the two of them have the most influence on the public-school textbook industry, with, basically, Texas editions and California editions), it’s easy to compare the two states to other states — or even to the nation as a whole.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s accurate to do so.
I’m not a hypocrite on this matter; it works both ways. The New York Times on Friday apparently held out California as a model that, if followed, could break the gridlock in Washington, D.C.
Indeed, although wingnuts claim that California still has a state budget deficit, California for some time now actually has had a budget surplus under Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who after his November 2010 election reversed years of budget deficits under former Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, the Repugnican fraud who ruled the state from the do-over gubernatorial election of 2003 through early 2011, and under the nation’s shitty economy under George W. Bush from early 2001 through early 2009.
Because Brown has accomplished in less than three years what Baby Daddy never accomplished in more than twice that amount of time, Brown’s re-election in November 2014, should he seek it, is guaranteed. Because Brown — unlike his Texas counterpart, the blowhard Repugnican Gov. Prick Perry — just quietly does his job (which I define as doing what’s best for the majority of the residents of the state that he governs, regardless of their income) without a lot of fanfare and bluster, Brown’s accomplishments aren’t well known outside of California, but here in California, Brown is on solid footing with the majority of the state’s voters.
That is the truth of where California and Californians stand today.
“The turnaround [in California] from just 10 years ago — striking in tone, productivity and, at least on fiscal issues, moderation — is certainly a lesson in the power of one-party rule,” the New York Times notes. “Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the [state] Assembly and [state] Senate and the governor, Jerry Brown, is a Democrat. The Republican Party, which just three years ago held the governor’s seat and a feisty minority in both houses, has diminished to the point of near irrelevance [in California].”
Gridlock doesn’t happen when the Repugnican Tea Party is as impotent as it is in California, and, the aforementioned Times article also notes, because in most elections in California a Repugnican candidate would have to be moderate (or at least campaign as a moderate) in order to win, most Repugnican candidates in California don’t have to worry much, if at all, about being “primaried” by a far-far-right-wing whackjob of the so-called “tea party.”
But, unlike those who tout the so-called Texas “miracle” — and only our treasonous plutocrats have anything to gain from the “miraculous” arrangement in Texas — I’m realistic.
Yes, as the New York Times at least insinuates, if the treasonous Repugnican (Tea) Party were as weak in D.C. as it is here in California, the nation would be much, much better off. We most likely would have no more gridlock and a return to prosperity. It would be great.
But like the Texas “miracle” is a right-wing fantasy, that the much-quieter California miracle will sweep the nation is a left-wing fantasy.
It’s not like the long-standing dynamic of the red states and the blue states is going to go away soon. The entire nation isn’t going to California-ize any year soon any more than it’s going to Texas-ize any year soon.
Indeed, the Civil War still wages. The red-state-blue-state divide is not an oversimplification. It’s a fact. (I could produce a lot of proof, but how about [once again…] a map of the slave states and territories and the free states and territories compared to a map of the 2012 presidential election results?:
Florida went to Obama in 2012, by the way.)
It’s a long, hard slog, and the change is slooooow, but, I predict, once it becomes clear to enough Americans what, exactly, the so-called Texas “miracle” actually entails, and once more Americans realize that the right-wing lies about how California is today are just that — lies — the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. will see their power diminish, as it has here in California.
It’s already happening.
After all, in all but one of the past six presidential elections (the 2004 election), the Democratic candidate indisputably received more votes than did the Repugnican; Texas Gov. Prick Perry, for all of the blather about the coming “United States of Texas,” couldn’t win even his party’s presidential nomination, much more the White House; and more and more it’s appearing that the Democrats might take back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2014 elections.
In the meantime, go to Texas and have your “miracle” there, while I enjoy the actual miracles that are happening here in California.