Texas' image has suffered a great deal over the past 20 years and for those who keep up with current events, it's not exactly breaking news.
From columnists to forum commenters, Texas is continually referred to as the "stupid state". If you Google "Texas as the stupid state", you receive 95 million results. It's downright embarrassing, because there are many brilliant academicians, writers, speakers, and public intellectuals who call Texas home.
But, our Conservative politicians?
Think about Louie Gohmert's continued faux pas that characterize him as Tyler's village idiot, to Debbie Riddle's terror babies rant on national television, to a certain Ag Commissioner who uses the phrase "whup up" three times in an interview. Not so much.
Who could forget Joe Barton's claim that wind energy might actually heat Texas up? Or Blake Farenthold in his duck pj's? Or Steve Stockman's wholesale insanity that deserves an epic novel? As always, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease; the more intellectually-challenged shout louder and garner more attention.
In terms of image, Texas politicians have done us no favors. It's almost as if public stupidity is a prerequisite for holding office.
The crazier and more outlandish the candidate, the better chance he or she has of being elected. You know we're in trouble when the Texas GOP platform states "We oppose the teaching of higher order thinking skills and critical thinking skills."
Texas has a proud history of ignorance with its bold bootstrapping ethos, but Gov. Rick Perry and Atty. General Greg Abbott's attitude that Texas will be the death star for the federal government is bordering on delusional. When confronted with a mountain of evidence pointing to how far we have fallen under the hand of the conservatives, the Texas diehards always point to the Texas economy. That's all they got, there's nothing else.
For the Texas-love-it-or-leave-it-patriots, the economy is the Holy Grail that cancels out our many sins.
If we didn't have the oil and gas industry to prop us up, we'd be dead last in every quality of life category. As a matter of fact, the only state that prevents us from falling into the toilet of shame is Mississippi. Thank God for Mississippi!
We're second in the nation for food insecurity, yet we're number one in executions (so much for Texas values life, right?). We rank 49th in credit scores, last in the number of high school graduates, near bottom in college graduates. Thanks to the oil and gas industry which artificially props up our economic honors, we're number one in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions, of toxic chemicals released into water, and in the amount of hazardous waste generated.
The stupid lurking among us continue to cheerlead for our race to the bottom, not realizing that quality of life doesn't always equate with money.
The Texas Miracle won't last forever. A recent study by ALEC (yes, that ALEC) shows Texas' economic outlook to be slipping. Once the carpetbaggers have sucked all the black gold out of the ground, drying us out like a raisin in the sun, Texas will be "Detroit 2.0".
The Texas Tea Party has ruined the once-honorable State of Texas. It's going to take years for Texas to shed its international image of being the "Stupid State", the land that time forgot. If the corporate welfare and the dollar-for-dollar matching contributions to Texans for Perry are withdrawn, our state will be as dry and barren as the Antelope Triangle in the middle of July.
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