Living in Society

T for Texas, I for Iowa

Wild sumac leaves.

My trips to Texas have been entirely business related. I can’t say how many times I’ve been there but since 1984, when I began my work in transportation, maybe a couple dozen times. I may also have stopped over in Dallas on a flight from time to time. I am familiar with the skyline in the approach to DFW airport.

I wouldn’t want to live in Texas.

It is a land of uneducated people and many are proud of the fact. Texans I’ve known were both religious and hypocritical, always in things for themselves or not at all. Thievery was accepted if a person got something out of it and got away with it. Racism was common among people I met. There was a deep-seated hatred for black people treated equally by the federal government. Treatment by the government was a particular catalyst for conversations about injustice to white people. Hispanics? They were needed for labor whether they were documented or not. Hispanics were a permanent underclass during my travels. When I say “uneducated” I’m referring to white folks.

Don’t get me started on the treatment of women. Texas SB8 bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, before most women know they are pregnant. No exceptions for rape or incest, just bear the child. If you are 11 years old and can’t get a driver’s license, just bear the child. Got a medical problem during pregnancy? Just bear the child. Naturally, the man’s role in a pregnancy is seldom mentioned. The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to stay the law as it is litigated through the court system, effectively ending a woman’s right to choose in the state. The court’s decision was a step too far even for Chief Justice John Roberts who was responsible for gutting Texan Lyndon Johnson’s Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It’s well reported in the national news Texas Senator Ted Cruz placed a hold on President Biden’s state department and foreign service nominees needing confirmation by the U.S. Senate. It has to do with Biden lifting sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Oil and gas has played heavily in Texas politics since before LBJ was elected to the U.S. Senate. How different would our last days in Afghanistan have been if State was fully staffed with permanent people?

I’m not saying Iowa is much better than Texas. It’s not. Since the Republican Party went off the rails after the re-election of Terry Branstad in 2010 it’s gotten worse here with each legislative session. It won’t be long before Iowa clones Texas SB8, although there is a sticky problem with the Iowa Supreme Court decision in 2018 which said Iowa women have a fundamental right to an abortion according to the Iowa constitution. A news person I know said, “It’s pretty clear that anti abortion organizations feel this is their moment, so the pressure will be there (to pass a law similar to SB8).”

We don’t grow cotton in Iowa yet our approach to controlling agricultural pests is similar: spray them with chemicals until they die. About the best thing I can say about Iowa compared to Texas is we don’t have tumbleweeds here. We have a government controlled by Republicans who say they reflect what people want. I haven’t met many of those people in 60 years living here.

I retain some hope for Iowa. We’ll see how the 2022 election goes before going too negative. Suffice it I have no reason to travel to Texas anytime soon. Not even for a visit to the popular festival, the rattlesnake roundup. We have our own snakes in Iowa. They need to be voted out of office.