Friday, August 26, 2011

Texas Tragedies

As I have noted before on this blog, I grew up in Texas, and after reaching adulthood I lived there on and off until I was 33 years old. I grew up in Lubbock, out on the flat high plains of West Texas, where if you drive just a few miles out of the city you can get an uninterrupted 360 degree view of the horizon. I spent my undergraduate years in San Antonio, in south Texas, where I enjoyed the Mexican culture and food, and trips with my friends to the border towns and the state parks of the central Texas hill country. It has been well over a decade since I last moved away from the state for the last time, it is extremely unlikely that I will ever live there again, and to be honest I have no desire to move back. However, I have very good memories of the part of my life that I spent there, and I know that Texas is and always will be a huge part of who I am, ultra-liberal politics and all.

This is why it is so hard to read the news that comes out of Texas these days. Governor Rick Perry, who could be our next President, is possibly the most loathsome political figure that I have seen in my lifetime. More so than his predecessor, in my opinion. More so than Bachmann or Palin, if only because more people seem to take him seriously. This is a governor of the second biggest state in the union who seemingly every day, with every utterance that he makes, spews contempt of science and learning, of anybody or anything that differs from his narrow fundamentalist view of the world, who surrounds himself with radical religious rightists who resemble more than anything the Taliban... just replace the word "Islam" with "Christian."

On another front, the state's environment, wildlife and agricultural industry is being decimated by the most severe drought in recorded history. I heard this story on NPR this morning while I was waiting for Starbucks to open. The bats that the article mentions are an iconic symbol of the city of Austin; the huge colony that nests under the Congress Avenue bridge can be seen every evening at dusk during the summer swarming out for their nighttime feeding. The loss of any wildlife population is a tragedy, but if this bat colony dies out it would also kill off part of the soul of an awesome city.

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