Tag Archives: Houston

I don’t much care about Texas

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 30, 2017)

Image result for hurricane harvey flooding

Getty Images news photo

I want to care more than I do. It’s that it’s Texas…

That headline might be a bit provocative, but I’m just being honest; I don’t much care about what’s going on in Texas right now. For many reasons.

First and foremost, I think, is that Texas sociopolitically is pretty much diametrically opposed to my state of California. Night and day. (California is day and Texas is night. [Seriously, though, Texas’ claim to be better off economically and to be a better place to live and to do business than California is, of course, utter bullshit.])

Also, as a gay man, an atheist and a democratic socialist, I’m fully aware of how many if not most Texans regard me, and so it’s very difficult for me to want to help them.

And as a Californian, I’m very much aware that should, say, a huge earthquake devastate Los Angeles or San Francisco, many if not most of the so-called adults in Texas would claim that of course it was God’s will to punish all of those sinners, or, if it weren’t divine intervention, at least the denizens of the Land of Fruits and Nuts, who are not, of course, real Americans, nonetheless deserved it.

Don’t get me wrong. If I were on the ground in Texas to see the biblical devastation with my own two eyes, I’m sure that I’d want to help. But I decided years ago that I’d never set foot in Texas, fuck Texas.

It’s ironic that Texas, the Climate-Change Denial Capital of the United States of America, is now filling up like an over-sized bathtub. After all, it’s the fossil fuels that Texas always has pushed on us that have caused climate change, which has caused fiercer and wetter and thus deadlier hurricanes.

Would Texas learn its lesson if we (perhaps literally…) bailed it out?

Also, of course, is the fact that we can’t even trust the fucking American Red Cross anymore not to totally squander our donations, so, if you refuse to go to Texas in person and don’t trust that any donation that you give will be used for its intended purpose, and if you’re an atheist who correctly doesn’t believe that praying is going to accomplish a God-damned thing, then what, exactly, can you do for Texas from California, even assuming that you should do something for Texas from California?

I’m not proud that I feel nothing for Texas, that the idea of it being inundated — inundated like Texans believe that “God” inundated the world because it was a punishment for sinfulness (so ironic!) — stirs little to nothing within me when past catastrophes have stirred a lot in me, such as was the case with Hurricane Katrina and with the 2004 tsunami.*

Again, I’m not proud of my lack of feeling for Texas, but I won’t lie that I feel something that I don’t feel.

Frankly, with Texas it just seems like an awful lot of karma. With Hurricane Katrina and with the 2004 tsunami, those people really struck me as innocent victims. Texans, not so much.

Yes, of course I exempt children, the incapacitated, pets, livestock, wildlife and those progressives (and those who, if they are apolitical, at least aren’t fascists) who live in Texas (the poor things) from any karmic due from Hurricane Harvey, but pretty much everyone else, well, yeah, um…

We’ll see if I change my mind over the coming days.

It’s just that as a gay man, an atheist, a democratic socialist and a Californian who has had his sexual orientation, his atheism, his left-wing political beliefs and his state (the greatest state in the nation, as evidenced by the fact that far more Americans choose to live here in California than in any other state) bashed by Texans, it’s incredibly hard for me to want to lift a finger for a state that would lift a finger for me only to flip me off.

P.S. Deregulation kills. I recommend this Newsweek piece about how Texas’ love of deregulation is now costing lives.

The purpose of deregulation is to allow greedy, selfish traitors to make as much money as quickly as possible, regardless of the price that others predictably will have to pay later down the line.

Again: Karma.

I’m quite happy to live in a state where the state government believes in regulating capitalists who otherwise gladly would kill all of us for another fucking buck.

Government certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s the only thing that stands between us, the people, and the capitalist traitors.

Update (Wednesday, August 30, 2017): I’m such a softie. I just gave $20 to the Houston Food Bank and $20 to the Houston Humane Society, and I’m sure that I’ll give more over the coming days and perhaps even the coming weeks.

It’s just too hard for me to do nothing when I know that there is suffering. (On that note, The New York Times reports that more than 1,000 people** have died in floods in South Asia this summer. Do we Americans care about them? After all, they’re not Americans and they have brown skin and they’re far away…)

Don’t get me wrong; I believe that much of the misery in Texas could have been prevented, such as by having addressed climate change years ago and by having had meaningful government regulations that protected the people against the profiteers. Catastrophe is the foreseeable result of the rampant cutting of corners for profiteering.

P.S. OK, I’ve given some more today. I gave $10 to the SPCA of Texas, $15 to the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s help-Houston effort, and $20 to the Montrose Center, an LGBT assistance center in Houston.

I’m not bragging, but perhaps giving you some ideas to help out a little if you can and if you want to. I suggest to avoid the American Red Cross, as they very apparently are inept if not also corrupt, and I never give to religious-based organizations, since organized religions cause more misery than they relieve.

Of course I always hope that well-intended money that is received for things like Harvey is well spent and not stolen, and perhaps because of that I don’t give huge amounts to any one organization, and I like to spread my small donations around a bit.

*Also, to be fair even to Texas, it’s quite possible that I just have catastrophe fatigue. Seriously. I did give money toward both Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami victims, and both events made me heartsick.

Maybe I just can’t keep doing that. Maybe I have to shut it out, perhaps because with climate change, this shit is only going to keep on happening.

But mostly, I surmise, it’s that I just really hate Texas.

**The highest body count due to Hurricane Harvey that I’ve seen thus far is 30. Of course it is sure to rise, but Hurricane Katrina’s body count exceeded 1,800.

Also, from what I can tell, Katrina hit the already impoverished, mostly in Louisiana, and its victims disproportionately were black. The denizens of the Houston area are, I do believe, not as impoverished, as a group.

Finally, the body count in the 2004 tsunami, according to Wikipedia, was “230,000 to 280,000 people in 14 countries.” I add that for perspective.

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Muuuwaaahaahaaahaaaahaaaaaa!!! We’re taking over the world!

This past week, openly gay Democratic state Assemblyman John Pérez of Los Angeles, 40, was chosen to be California’s first openly gay speaker of the Assembly (California’s legislative equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives). Yesterday, Houston, of all places, elected its first openly gay or lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, 53. The Associated Press notes that “Houston is the nation’s fourth-largest city and the biggest to elect an openly gay mayor.”

(As an aside, the media have been referring to Parker as “gay,” and although technically the term “gay” covers gay men and lesbians, as in such terms as the “gay community” or “gay rights,” this gay man prefers that, when referring to individuals, the term “lesbian” be reserved for females who are attracted to members of their own sex and that “gay” be reserved for males who are attracted to members of their own sex. Therefore, Parker is a lesbian mayor. Thank you.)

Parker beat her opponent, a 61-year-old black man, with 54 percent of the vote.

I can imagine how painful the choice was for many Texans: Vote for the white lesbian or for the black guy. Oh! My! God! A sign of the End Times for sure!

Anyway, both Parker and Pérez are to take office in January.

Their election to their posts is a victory for diversity; neither one of them is a stupid old white man, which, until fairly recently, was a requirement to hold powerful political office.

The AP reports that Parker “says she hopes [that her election] shows the world that Houston is a diverse international community that welcomes everyone.” The AP then immediately notes that “The city of 2.2 million has about 60,000 residents who identify themselves as gay or lesbian.”

That seems like an awfully low number of non-heterosexuals for a city of 2.2 million people. It’s often bandied about that one in 10 individuals is gay or lesbian. That would be 220,000 non-heterosexual people in a city of 2.2 million. If you don’t accept the figure of one in 10, fine; one in 20 people still would be 110,000 non-heterosexual people in a city of 2.2 million. Only 60,000 people in Houston cop to being non-heterosexual? The rest of the non-heterosexuals there are too terrified to come out of the closet?

Alas, I probably won’t be visiting the not-very-non-heterosexual-friendly-sounding city of Houston any year soon…

P.S. The Sacramento Bee reports of Pérez:

Pérez is described by friends as a congenial intellectual with a rapid-fire wit, someone so enamored of the Bears – he attended the University of California at Berkeley but did not graduate – that the logo for his Assembly campaign featured a bear and Cal’s blue-and-gold campus colors.

Political consultant Roger Salazar affectionately has dubbed the burly Pérez “Big Papi” – a throwback to the days of legendary Assembly Speaker Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh.

Pérez is extremely knowledgeable about Mexican, Mexican American and Jewish culture although he is not a Jew. He is a rabid college football fan, enjoys an occasional cigar, has a steel-trap mind, and has a fun-loving side, too, as exemplified perhaps by his collection of several dozen rubber duckies, said Erick Bauman, his best friend of many years.

Bauman said that he and Pérez raise eyebrows by engaging in a makeshift foreign language they call “Spiddish,” a mix of Spanish and Yiddish.

“People are amazed to hear us,” said Bauman, vice chairman of the state Democratic Party.

OK, so the many apparent references to the bear culture I won’t touch right now — I will say that I saw Perez at a gay-rights rally here in Sacramento not long ago, and that like I am, he is a big boy — but Pérez and Bauman sound awfully close.

If they are a couple, as they seem to be — I can’t see Pérez learning the Jewish culture and speaking “Spiddish” for a platonic friend, but I can see him doing that for a boyfriend — I certainly hope that they are not describing themselves as “(best) friends.”

It does not advance gay rights for us non-heterosexuals to describe our same-sex mates as “friends.” To do so minimizes our relationships and tacitly agrees that there must be something wrong with same-sex relationships.

Perhaps worst of all, however, is to not talk about our same-sex partners at all, and I note that the biography page of Pérez’s website does not mention his presumed same-sex partner Bauman at all…

P.P.S. I apologize for the photo. I could not resist.

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