The Texas GOP has released its platform a few months ago but it’s taken this long to process what it actually says. Really. It is a “laundry list of Fox News bullsh*t,” according to activist and writer Jesse LaGreca. That is an apt description.
On the strength of my friend Jesse’s writing about the Texas GOP’s new platform, I opened the .pdf file to see for myself. My head still hurts. Let’s take a look at a few of the more ridiculous items…
20 most ridiculous items on the Texas GOP’s platform.
It was hard to narrow all of the Texas GOP’s ridiculous, insane, and downright scary items into just one
1. The ‘sovereign citizen’ plank. The first section is entitled “Preserving American Freedom.” The first sub-section deals with “Limiting The Expanse of Government Power,” and it’s a doozy.
Just in the first four items, the crazy shines through. No federal legislation can infringe upon the state’s 10th Amendment rights and…
All federal enforcement activities in Texas must be conducted under the auspices of the county sheriff with jurisdiction in that county.
So county sheriffs are the ultimate authority in their jurisdiction. We heard that song during the Cliven Bundy hoedown. It’s one of the tenets of the sovereign citizen movement.
2. Ditching senatorial elections. The platform calls for a full repeal of the 17th Amendment. Senators should be selected the old-fashioned way: in smoke-filled rooms by the movers and shakers (read; old white men) of the Party. Elections are too hard to control.
3. “Traditional” marriage. Of course, the platform supports the definition of marriage as one natural man and one natural woman (you trans people are too scary). No judicial meddling will be allowed! Or, as they put it, “the assault on marriage by judicial activists.”
4. “Christian,” “Family” values only. Only traditional Judeo-Christian family values for Texas. None of that Muslim or Hindu or any other “false religion” crap. They support a woman’s right to choose… to stay at home and make babies.
5.The anti-gay plank. Homosexuality is just not okay by the Bible (as they interpret it), so all of Texas should comply. No gay people can have any kind of legal status in Texas and nobody can be penalized for treating “those people” like pariahs. But praying away the gay — “reparative therapy” in the text — is absolutely fine.
6. The usual anti-choice language is here; pro-life, sanctity of life, partial-birth, wrongful birth, judicial bypass…. But there’s one weird thing in the “we hate women having any choice” section:
Human Embryos – We support the adoption of human embryos and the banning of human embryo trafficking.
Adoption of human embryos? What, like a couple can shop for frozen embryos? Or is this about surrogate mothers? It just sounds very Brave New World-ish to me.
7. Abolish social security. Social Security is socialism to the Texas GOP. They want to go to “private pensions” based on IRA concepts. We’ve seen this from the Republicans for years. Ever since it was instituted, they have tried to abolish Social Security as we know it. Why? Because their buddies on Wall Street would get control of those “private pensions.” Yeah, they are that corrupt.
8. Repeal Obamacare. Naturally, they support the repeal of the ACA. Even though it is working, it was the signature reform of President Obama so of course it must be abolished. We expect to see this. What we do not expect is the opposition to the digitization of medical records. They see it as a privacy issue. But there is no denying that having medical records in a database would prevent deaths. See Heath Ledger, for example. Having medical records in a database makes things easier and safer for everyone; doctors and patients. As a personal aside, I belong to a health cooperative which keeps records electronically. I have never experienced any drawback from this and it has, in fact, made treatment easier and avoided a deadly drug interaction.
9. “Patriotic” education. Now we come to the education section. The first section here is entitled, “American Identity, Patriotism and Loyalty.” This loyalty includes daily pledges to “instill patriotism.” Now, we all said the pledge when we were kids but to include it in a Party platform is a bit Big Brother-ish, IMO.
10. Creationism and climate change denial in schools. The teaching of “controversial theories” is dealt with. That is a dog whistle for the right for evolution and climate change, both of which are scientifically proven. But not in Texas. These theories (and, again, the real meaning of that word is misunderstood) should be “taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.” Remember that the bar for “new data” has been set very low when conversations with Jesus are accepted as “new data.”
11. Ban “knowledge-based” education. The Texas GOP thinks that parents always know best when it comes to their children’s education. And I can agree with this… up to a point. This point, to be exact:
Knowledge Based Education – We oppose the teaching of values clarification and similar programs that focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. Rather, we encourage the teaching of critical thinking skills, including logic, rhetoric and analytical sciences.
The last sentence is at odds with the rest of the paragraph. What the Texas GOP thinks is that children should never be taught to question what their parents tell them to believe. Thinking leads to questioning and, despite that last sentence, they really don’t want their kids to question. That way may lead to <gasp!> liberalism! I have heard again and again from many liberals, and they point to their ability to think critically leading to the adoption of their political leanings. And the Texas GOP can’t have that.
12. No sex education in Texas schools! By God, our kids need to learn about sex the way their parents did; by accidentally getting pregnant at sixteen. There will be no counseling, referrals, distribution of condoms or contraception of any kind. Even though their abstinence-only programs are a dismal failure, they will be the only form of sex ed allowed.
13. The right to worship a Christian God. Oh, this one is too funny. The Texas GOP states as fact that America is a Judeo-Christian nation, founded on those principles. It is one nation “under God.” But they totally affirm the right of all individuals to worship as they choose. As long as you worship the Judeo-Christian god in the manner of which they approve.
14. MOAR GUNS! Regarding the Second Amendment, there is the usual bull about the intent of the framers — as if the Texas GOP were actually there at the time and knows exactly what they were thinking — and fighting infringement. However, deeper in the paragraph is this:
All federal acts, laws, executive orders, and court orders which restrict or infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall be invalid in Texas, not be recognized by Texas, shall be specifically rejected by Texas, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Texas.
So Texas is above federal law. Or they think they are.
15. “Freedom” of religious expression for “Christians.” Anything that the Texas GOP says falls under the freedom of religious expression, does. This includes blocking abortion clinics, refusal of services and anything else that infringes upon the “freedom of conscience of religious expression as stated in the 1st Amendment.” Got that? Expression of religious belief trumps everything else. Because God says that there is no separation of church and state. It’s one of those myths. You know, the kind that Founding Fathers approved of.
16. Defund ACORN, even though it doesn’t exist. The funding of “special interest” organizations by the government is not to be tolerated. Especially funding of that insidious ACLU, who protects the rights of all Americans, even Christians. And ACORN. Don’t forget them. Even if they don’t exist anymore.
17. Cut taxpayer funding to all levels of education. Because more money just doesn’t help. That the reason why this is true in Texas is their backwards text books and emphasis on Biblical teaching never occurred to them. D-oh!
18. MOAR Fracking! The Texas GOP supports fracking. So that’s nice. But they still want to eliminate the Department of Energy.
19. Incandescent lightbulbs. The Texas GOP supports the freedom to manufacture and purchase incandescent light bulbs. They prefer to live in the past even though LED and fluorescent bulbs save individuals on their energy bills. I’m surprised they don’t support the return to gaslight and candles.
20. Benghazi! No, really. The Texas GOP felt the need to include a section on Benghazi. They want a select committee — another one! — to investigate. Again. Because all those other ones didn’t come to the conclusion desired by the right. Their insistence on trying to prove that the White House “concocted a story bout a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video” borders on the psychotic. I guess they haven’t read much about what those other investigations found. Which is nothing.
The rest of the Texas Republicans’ platform is the usual anti-immigrant, anti-federal government, anti-tax, pro-oil, anti-climate change claptrap. What you’d expect. However I actually did agree with a few of their planks. Supporting our veterans; dismantling the TSA; hemp cultivation; developing technology to desalinate sea water to address the drought; protecting our electrical grid; toll road funding and opposing bail-outs.
By and large, the Texas GOP’s platform is more of the same only with a bigger doses of the stupid, paranoid and crazy. This sort of thinking is not just laughable, it’s dangerous. When you teach kids not to question what they are taught at Mommy and Daddy’s knee, you are asking for a level of conformity that presages a very scary America that is not exceptional. An America where the status quo is the only way. Where thinking for oneself is forbidden. That America is not the one I want to live in.