Dear Texas: A Love Letter
It’s me, Mark Gordon. Former resident. Frequent visitor. Big fan of SRV, Townes, and Willie. Connoisseur of East Texas barbeque and West Texas landscapes.
Texas, I’m writing because as much as I like you I’m really getting tired of your act. You always say, “Don’t Mess With Texas!” Okay, but why do you keep messing with the rest of us? What’s got me hotter than a billy goat in a pepper patch is the politicians you insist on sharing with us. You know, those strutting John Wayne wannabes with their Rapture-ready smirks and itchy trigger fingers. The last one destroyed what was left of America’s moral standing in the world and brought us to financial ruin. The next one, with his army of Dominionist minions, his stack of oil-industry IOU’s and a bad case of Israelophilia … well, he might just mosey into Armageddon with the Third Infantry Division in tow.
Speaking of religion, Texas, please don’t share any more of your preachers either. Trust me, you can keep John Hagee all to yourself. We won’t mind. Same goes for Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, and the whole cohort of reptilian carnival barkers and prayer cloth salesmen. We’ve already seen the sideshow and we’re not buying another ticket. And if you want to put a young-earth creationist in charge of your education system, that’s your business. Hell, the terrain on I-10 between Fort Stockton and Kerrville looks like it was coughed up the day before yesterday. But the rest of us actually like science, and we don’t think it conflicts with our faith.
Texas, everyone knows you’re as full of wind as a corn-fed horse, but despite the boasting you’re not all you’re cracked up to be, are you? You have the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance in the country. You’re in the top five in both income inequality and poverty. You spend less per capita on your citizens than any other state. And you come in 49th in verbal SAT scores and 46th in math. Texas, you can talk all you want about your sun-baked independence, but you took your share of that Obama stimulus money, didn’t you? Balanced your last two budgets with it. And whenever La Nina gins up a hurricane or wildfire, you belly up to the federal trough with the best of ’em. And by the way, your debt load is growing faster than Uncle Sam’s.
So let’s face it, Texas, you’re all hat and no cattle. We’ve been friends a long time, and we’ll remain so at least as long as Billy Gibbons lives. But I’m begging you: please stop sharing. Except Austin. You could share Austin. Oh, and some of that barbeque, bless your heart.