Friday, April 10, 2009

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

As a young man in Texas, you grow up with icons like Wyatt Earp, The Texas Rangers, Col. William Barret Travis (Commander of the Alamo) and David Crockett. You learn what it means to stand up when no one else will, and look adversity in the eye knowing full well it could lead to your death. You're taught that being a Texan means having the courage of your convictions and standing up for them. Sure, some who are raised in Texas have a more metropolitan upbringing, where your taught that compromise is the way, and that your convictions are fine as long as they don't cost you anything. Thank God, I was raised away from this thinking and taught what it meant to have real courage, by a man who knew what courage was. That being said, I can't say this for the current crop of would be GOP leaders, Governors Mike Sanford (S.C.), Bobby Jindal (L.A.), and Sarah Palin(Alaska) (not a man, but courage respects no sex).

Today in an article in the Politico, we find out that Gov. Sandford, Gov. Jindal and Gov. Palin have all backed away from their stance that they will not take any federal stimulus funds. All three have submitted letters to the federal government asking to be eligible for federal aid. This is a complete 180 degree turn from their stalwart positions made a few months ago. What happened?

The answer: All three have claimed that it is the stiff political pressure from home that has led them to acquiesce to the demands of the political powers that be. Notice it is the political powers that be, and not the people of their state that they are giving into. In other words, it is becoming to politically difficult for them to stand up for their convictions!

The people of their great states demand that they be men and women of action, and to also be men and women of their word. If these individuals hope to run for the highest office in the land, the American people expect the same, and yet, when given a chance to show real leadership they took the most politically expedient way out. This kind of cowardice reminds me of a story all Texan youths are told.

On the twenty-third day of February 1836, Col. William Barrett Travis was faced with a predicament. His troops and the troops of Col Jim Bowie's militia saw the force that Mexican General Santa Anna amassed around the small mission, the Alamo (where Travis and Bowie agreed to fortify themselves), and the Texas troops begin to formulate plans to run. Col. Travis sensing this revolt in the ranks assembles the troops for an announcement in the main yard.

There Col. Travis begins to inform those who have gathered of the worthiness of their cause, and what it means to fight for freedom and to be free. He then informs those who wish to leave that they will not be charged with desertion and are free to go, but he makes one last bold move to get them to join him. Col. Travis draws is sword and cuts a line in the sand before him and asks "Who will join me? Who will join me for Texas?" Not everyone stayed but many did, and thirteen days later they were all dead and the Alamo was lost. However, their bravery became the battle cry for Texas Independence, and became the motivation that led to the successful fight for freedom.

We need more men today like Col. Travis. Yes, he was indebted dandy from South Carolina - hint, hint Gov. Sandford- who took more time designing his uniform than training his troops, but when the time came for him to stand for what he knew was right, he was not afraid and he led his troops valiantly. This gallantry should be ingrained in the leader the GOP chooses to be its standard bearer in 2012. Otherwise, we deserve the scorn that the American people hurl at us, and we do not deserve to have a Republican occupy the White House. America deserves a real leader, not a political hack.

I am proud of my State's heritage, and I am even more proud that my family is now a part of that heritage through my wife. I will now be able to raise my children with these stories, and they will no longer be in the abstract, because the blood of Davey Crockett will flow through their veins. They will now have an ancestral model in which to measure their actions.

On April 15th, all across this great country there will be mini-Alamoes taking place in the form of "Tea Parties". I recommend that you join me and your fellow Americans in their demands that Washington listen. Step across the figurative line in the sand, and join me in standing up for what we believe in, even if our leadership will not!

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Hey Joe!

So, I've been reading your blogs for a while and, I'm sure you know, I have a lot of opinions regarding the thoughts you have expressed.

First, I applaud you for your call to Republicans to start standing up and developing a leader. The one's that they are putting out now, whether it's John Boehner (who couldn't answer a reporter's question on whether he would oppose further bailouts or deliver's a budget proposal with no number's in it) or the bloviated self-indulgent Michael Steele, just don't cut it. As a supporter of the Obama administration, I am hoping a real counterpart emerges soon. It would be the best thing to happen to President Obama and the country. People in power need competitive adversaries. When they emerge, better ideas and better, more thorough programs emerge. I am hoping, someone like Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, will stand up and a dialogue on issues will begin. It will be better for both party's-think Larry Bird to Magic Johnson, Newt Gingrich to Bill Clinton.

It seems right now that the party is in much deserved chaos right now waiting for such thing to occur. It is a growing pain that must happen for new leaders to rise to the forefront. In the meantime, falsities are being expressed as truths like Sen. James Inhoffe talking about the Obama administration gutting the Defense Department's budget and disarming America even though there is actually a 4% increase in defense spending (that lie got spread all over the media), Tea Party's popping up all over the country protesting the rise in taxes even though since Obama has become president he has lowered taxes for the middle class and returned tax rates for people making over $250,000 back to the rate under Clinton. Juvenile political tactics have begun, like Rep. Eric Cantor deciding on a strategy to ambush Democratic freshman on the floor. Presidential hopeful governors taking the politically motivated stand to rail against taking the stimulus money (even though people in their state who are hurting need it)then quietly asking the government for it. It's mass chaos on the right side of the aisle.

I support, on the whole, the track that the administration is doing, taking us back to reality and rejoining the rest of the world. We will be moving towards a green economy which will restore our economy by being the leader of the world in technology and give us a new area to import to other countries. Improve our education system, and give us back basic fairness in our tax code. For far too long the super-rich have gotten away with not paying as much taxes as people in my bracket. Under the Bush administration, the top 1% of the country made 20% of it's income and controlled 33% of it's wealth, all while paying a smaller percentage of taxes than the rest of us. The wealthy recieved things like child tax credits while the lower bracket did not. It's time for a fair tax code!!

I hope that this country will become a shining monument to the rest of the world again. I hope, after the next four years, both party's can be proud of their work. If they are then this country will be back on it's feet and once again be the envy of the world.