24 June 2022

About that Texas Republican platform

The Texas Republican party platform has become notorious across the internet, mostly via second-hand descriptions and paraphrases.  Rather than put my trust in these, I took a look at the actual document to see what's really there.  Most of it is pretty conventional boilerplate stuff, and there are some positive provisions, but yes, there is also plenty of material that plumbs embarrassing depths of dumbth.  A sampling:

Point 36:  "We support reform to Social Security that allows people to opt out."  In a few decades the US would be back to having millions of elderly people living in abject poverty, which is why Social Security was implemented in the first place.

Point 40:  "No non-commercial vehicles should be required to obtain a state safety inspection."  Texas roads would quickly become the most dangerous in the developed world due to all the uninspected clunkers rattling around, and other states might need to restrict cars from Texas if they posed too much of a hazard to drivers and pedestrians.

Point 65:  "federally mandated legislation that infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified."  However, point 298 says:  "State and federal funds shall be denied to any public or private entity, including but not limited to sanctuary cities, that are not in compliance with immigration laws.  Prosecute the responsible elected officials of Sanctuary Cities/Counties/States for obstruction of Immigration Laws."  So, states can ignore higher-level laws that Republicans don't like, but states and lower-level entities can't ignore higher-level laws Republicans do like.  (They're not so good with consistent use of capital letters, either.)

Point 65, further:  "Texas retains the right to secede from the United States should a future president and congress change our political system from a constitutional republic to any other system."   No it doesn't.  States cannot legally secede.  There are various claims that Texas was given special legal rights in this area when it joined the US in 1845, but even if that were true, any such provisions would have been voided when it seceded in 1861 and joined the Confederacy.  People in Texas are US citizens, including the 45% or so who aren't Republicans, and the federal government is obligated to protect their rights; it could not abandon them to whatever random abuses an "independent" Texas regime might inflict on them.  As for "should a future president and congress change our political system from a constitutional republic to any other system", neither the president nor Congress have any power to do such a thing.  If the Constitutional system were replaced due to a coup or some such event, the legal federal government would have simply ceased to exist and there would be nothing to secede from.

Point 75:  "We support..... repeal of the 17th Amendment..... and the appointment of United States Senators by state legislatures."  This would mean less democracy, since the composition of state legislatures is increasingly distorted by gerrymandering, and direct election for statewide offices is one of the ways the people can counter the effects of that.

Point 81:  "We support the affirmation of traditional Judeo-Christian family values and oppose the continued assault on those values."  So presumably concubinage, polygamy, killing your own son if you hear voices in your head telling you to do so (Abraham/Isaac), offering your daughters to a rape gang to protect houseguests (Lot/Sodom), and all the other "family values" expounded and endorsed in the Bible.

Point 114:  "We believe religious institutions have the freedom to recognize and perform only those marriages that are consistent with their doctrine."  As far as I know, this has never been challenged.  Individual religions are free to refuse to perform same-sex marriages, mixed-race marriages, or any other kind of marriages they object to.  The issue is access to civil marriage recognized by the government, and to the legal rights that go with it.  Nothing to do with religion.

Point 136:  "We support objective teaching of scientific theories, such as life origins and climate change.  These shall be taught as challenge- able scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced."  What they mean by this, of course, is creationism in the schools and legitimization of global-warming denialism.  What it tells us is that they don't understand how the word "theory" is used in a scientific context, nor the fact that the origin of life and the development of life are two separate questions.  Concerning the origin of life, there is, as yet, no theory; there are a dozen or so hypotheses about how it might have happened, but none of them has come close to meeting the exhaustive standards of supportive evidence and explanatory power needed to qualify as a scientific theory.  Concerning the development of life, in all of history there has only ever been one theory -- evolution.  No other proposed explanation has even remotely met the standards needed to qualify as a theory.  As for "subject to change as new data is produced", it would indeed be of value to teach students how claims of new data and evidence are actually evaluated in science, such as peer review, as opposed to some idiot misunderstanding how mutations work or what the second law of thermodynamics means and having his nonsense go unchallenged.  Politicians really need to stop babbling about science when all they do is demonstrate that they lack even a rudimentary grasp of it.

Point 245:   "We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior..... and we oppose any civil or criminal penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values."  I've never heard of anyone proposing any "special legal entitlements or special status for homosexual behavior".  For example, same-sex marriage is exactly the same entitlement and status as everyone has access to, available to same-sex couples exactly the same way it's available to opposite-sex couples.  Nothing special or different is being offered.  Nor are there any "civil or criminal penalties against those who oppose homosexuality".  Preachers and politicians spout anti-gay hatred all the time without being penalized for it, as is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Point 317:  "We oppose homosexual marriage, regardless of state of origin."  This is "creation of special status for homosexual behavior", in the sense of denying an otherwise-available legal right on that basis.  Make up your minds.

As expected, the whole thing is laced with repetitious condemnations of abortion, but point 205 is especially weird:  "We support the right of Texas municipalities to protect mothers and preborn children in their communities by passing enforceable city ordinances that ban abortions .....within their city limits."  It's Orwellian to speak of "protecting" women by restricting their freedom of choice.

There are various proposals to ban pretty much everything that was done to mitigate the covid pandemic.  The next pandemic might be a lot deadlier than covid; health officials will need the flexibility to respond appropriately.

The convention also approved a measure declaring that Biden "was not legitimately elected", though this is not part of the platform.  Well, I suppose they can declare that 2+2=5 if they feel like it, but this is just undermining democracy for the sake of the ravings of a disgraced former president whom everyone outside his own cult recognizes as a con man.

Texas was originally a cattle-based economy, and the amount of bull there should never be underestimated.

In brief, this platform is largely incoherent nonsense written by people who have no idea what they're talking about.  Political candidates aren't bound by party platforms, but this one should serve as a rich source of embarrassing questions for journalists to ask them.


Blogger Jack said...

If nothing else, it may help future historians explain what happened, assuming there are any left to do so. Combined with a recording of the Jan. 6 Committee hearings, it could be informative.

24 June, 2022 04:18  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

It's never not baffling to me that Texas is always in a competition to the death with Florida for being the dumbest, most bigoted, least safe state in the country. Really.


24 June, 2022 05:10  
Blogger Mary said...

Oh yes indeed, Sixpence..I say let them secede but only if they take Fla with them. And maybe most of the Supreme Court justices and a few other southern states. Lincoln should have let the South secede long ago.

24 June, 2022 09:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jack: Oh, there will be future historians. There's a whole world out there beyond the US.

Sixpence: It's not so long ago that Florida was a swing state. For a while many thought Texas was going to become one, but with Hispanics swinging Republican, that no longer seems to be in the cards.

Mary: let them secede

See my second paragraph on point 65. You're advocating handing over millions of non-wingnut US citizens to a crackpot far-right government which would no longer be under any restraint from the federal Constitution or the rest of the country. Imagine if you were in their place. Even if the US could legally let this happen, which it can't, it would have no moral right to.

24 June, 2022 10:08  
Blogger Lady M said...

I have not stepped foot in Texas since 2016 despite having lived there for 18 years. I won't spend A dime of my money in that cesspool.

24 June, 2022 10:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I've visited Texas once (2002), but I wouldn't go back now. It's getting unnerving, like vacationing in Mordor.

24 June, 2022 21:54  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

Whew! I appreciate that you read the entire document and explained, point by point, the absurdity of it. I knew it wasn't by any means set in stone, but just the thought of this uneducated poison spreading to like-minded states is frightening.

25 June, 2022 09:34  
Blogger Mike said...

Any time republicans mention family values I have to laugh out loud!

25 June, 2022 10:23  
Blogger Angie said...

Excellent post. Would you mind if I share it?

25 June, 2022 14:27  
Blogger Paul W said...

it's both funny and sad that the Texas Republican platform both wants to secede from the United States but at the same is making demands about the federal government that would be meaningless if they even DID secede.

Just this one alone:

Point 75: "We support..... repeal of the 17th Amendment..... and the appointment of United States Senators by state legislatures."

Driven by the Far Right belief that states hold all the power, they are so eager to take away the individual voters' right to vote for officials directly. Never mind the history of corruption throughout the 19th Century where unelected Senators nominated by partisan state legislatures failed to do much outside of line their own pockets. It also ignores the history of where the state legislatures themselves turned against each other when it came to appointing those Senators. There are serious gaps in our political history - especially between 1880 through 1912 or so - where states failed to fill a Senate spot because they couldn't make up their minds. DELAWARE did not fill one seat between 1899 through 1903, and the second one was vacant between 1901 to 1903, meaning TWO YEARS Delaware had no Senate representation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_senators_from_Delaware

The madness of the Far Right: does not respect history, does not understand their own folly, all they know is they must hold all the power and none shall stand in their way.

25 June, 2022 16:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ricko: It was something of a task (33 pages), but once you get started you can't stop. There's always one more jewel of dumbth to unearth around the corner. And I'm afraid lesser wingnuts in other states are likely to copy it, minus the peculiarly Texan delusions about secession.

Mike: Their special sense of the term excludes about 80% of actual existing families in this country.

Angie: Thanks! Please go ahead, that's fine. Just please include a link back to my blog.

Paul W: It's interesting that the state legislatures did such a bad job of appointing senators when they did have the power. But the Republicans would still prefer that to letting the voters do it, since they have reason to worry about losing the voters' support.

25 June, 2022 20:11  
Blogger CAS said...

It's unbelievable how far the Republican party has fallen. Thanks for the measure-by-measure analysis.

"Politicians really need to stop babbling about science when all they do is demonstrate that they lack even a rudimentary grasp of it."

Add "history" and "world events" to the list and probably several other subject areas.

26 June, 2022 02:51  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Texas Republicans seem to be pioneers of dumbth -- they blaze the trail into new realms of stupidity, for others to follow.

As for history and world events, I'm not sure some of these people quite realize the existence of anything outside the US or before 1776.

26 June, 2022 05:02  
Blogger Daniel Becker said...

"In brief, this platform is largely incoherent nonsense written by people who have no idea what they're talking about."

I understand what you are saying and I do agree.

My concern is that to those writing such and those who are followers of such people it makes perfect sense. We are seeing this everywhere.

I learned a long time ago that for such people who write as this document is, their means of understanding and communicating is as such: What I am saying now has no bearing on what I said prior or what I will be saying next. It is all referenced to some marker in the past that is their statement of authority on the subject just spoken. Their assurance in what they speak comes from a learned position of superiority via their upbringing Most likely a strong religious influence that has an authoritarian structure that is part of their family structure.

That is it. 1 moment of thought. Then an other moment of thought. With each thought/statement being its own moment. What we see as lies are not lies. They can't be lies because what I just said has no bearing from what I said prior and no bearing on what I will say next.

We see it as incoherent, nonsense, lies. They can't see how it is we don't understand. We see their authoritarian position as mean, evil. They see it as how life is and sadly love. It is the only love they have known.

We want to protect ourselves from this, we need to understand how they speak. We can't communicate with them if we don't.

26 June, 2022 07:35  
Blogger Bruce.desertrat said...

The section on anti-pandemic measures declares that "a job is a fundamental right"

How...socialist of them...

26 June, 2022 13:19  
Blogger Bruce.desertrat said...

Also, if Texas did secede...the state would be a fully failed narcotraficante-run country within a generation.

26 June, 2022 13:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notice they don't say Judeo-Christian-Islamic. More accurate, but they want to keep their fantasy that their delusion is distinct from that of the people behind 9/11. I'm pretty sure y'all have the same imaginary friend.

Also claiming that Biden's election was illegitimate.

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind people that Plan B is shelf-stable for 4 years.

27 June, 2022 06:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

South Dakota says hi, but most of the racism is against Indians so the MSM doesn't care.

27 June, 2022 06:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But then slavery would still be a thing.

I mean, the modern economy rests on getting around the Thirteenth Amendment, and California just rejected a bill banning involuntary servitude in prisons, but the South was more brazen about it, with delusions of being aristocrats.

27 June, 2022 06:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anon: They never acknowledge that Islam comes from the same root as Judaism and Christianity. Of course, ignorance facilitates that. Most Americans would be startled if they realized how much Islam and Christianity have in common doctrinally.

It is curious that technically the US never really abolished slavery, since the Amendment does have that loophole that it can be imposed as punishment for a crime. I don't really object to that, in the case of real crimes, but it has certainly been rampantly abused in practice.

27 June, 2022 08:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean, in practice, we have private prisons. That's where they make their profit A reminder that basic state functions should not be handled by a private entity.

28 June, 2022 07:50  

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