Saturday, October 25, 2008

Justice, Texas-Style

Like everyone, there are things I like to hate. One of my favorites is the state of Texas...well, almost all of the state of Texas. I will grant favored-city status to Austin, where my aunt and uncle used to live and my cousin still does and where there is an oasis of enlightenment in a desert of materialism and ignorance. Oh, occasionally, the people of Houston will elect a gay woman as sheriff or something else will happen that dampens my enthusiasm for hating Texas, Texans, and everything about The Lone Star State. Texas gave us Bill Moyers, the American I would most like to have a beer with. But he's left Texas far behind now. Then, there's Jim Hightower, one of the funniest and most liberal Texans I know, now that Molly Ivins no longer freshens those barren confines (if you can call anything about Texas physically confining)or any other.

Texas is the state that gave us George Herbert Walker Bush and his morally-challenged son, George Walker Bush, as Presidents of the United States in exchange for taking the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Some swap! Texas also gave us John Tower, Tom DeLay, Phil Gramm, and Dick Armey--the Four Coarsemen of the Texapocalypse. Texas is the only state whose legislative minority has been the object of a manhunt by the Department of Homeland Security ordered by the legislative majority. They execute more prisoners, summarily shoot more Mexicans (at the hand of Texas Rangers, circa 1900), allow more air and water pollution, pray at more public high school football games, and rear more bigots than any other state in the union.

Just this week, two stories broke in the news that reminded me, once again, of how much I hate Texas and Texans--

The first concerns a certain young lady--a McCain/Palin campaign worker, as the story goes--who claimed that she was assaulted, raped, and disfigured by a tall, black man who was upset because she had a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on her car. Matt Drudge picked up the story first, followed by a few newspapers. Soon, the McCain campaign was demagogueing the story in an effort to raise doubt in the minds of undecided voters as to who the REAL OBAMA is. Then, the whole thing collapsed when the young woman admitted that the entire story was made up. While the fictional event took place in Pittsburgh--another geographic location that seems to have its share of bigots--the disturbed young "victim" was from...try to guess...Texas.

The second horror story comes from Paris, Texas, where racism has been institutionalized. There, in September, two white men returning from a beer run across the border into Oklahoma (Paris is apparently a place where sanctimoniousness about using alcohol is more valued than the life of a black man) drove their Dodge pickup over their dark-skinned drinking buddy and dragged his body along the two-lane highway until body parts littered their wake.

One of the accused white men had been previously found guilty of shooting another "friend" in the head three times while trying to ward off "two black men" who were attempting to rob the two white guys in the (same?) truck. The black would-be robbers were never located.

According to the byzantine and bizarre machinations of Texas justice, the shooter, who was defended by the county district attorney appointed as his public defender, plead to a lesser charge of manslaughter and served a little over a year of a four-year sentence. The victim in the more recent "black buddy as road kill" case testified on behalf of the very man who may have driven the truck that later killed him, hoping to provide him an alibi. For his trouble, the African-American was convicted of aggravated perjury and spent two years in jail, nearly double what the white murderer served.

Last year, also in Paris, Texas, a 14-year-old black girl was sentence to seven years in detention for shoving a hall monitor at her high school. Just three months earlier, the same judge had sentenced a white 14-year-old girl to probation after finding her guilty of setting fire to her parents' house. Only pubic outrage at the injustice led to the release of the black defendant.

Texas never disappoints when it comes to Third-Word kinds of outrages. In fact, I feel a little bad about lumping Bolivia in with Texas. If I had my way, I would offer to rent Texas back to Mexico for the cost of tearing down the wall that now separates the two. Of course, I would require that businesses in Texas remain open to provide jobs for the former "illegal aliens" who would now have their own "state". Whites who had no real business responsibility could freely emigrate northward. When Texas was no longer a majority white "state", we would terminate the lease and welcome the new 50th state back into the fold, now transformed into a civilized society.

No comments: