Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Scorched Earth Policy of the Texas GOP

The Scorched Earth Policy of the Texas GOP

Scorched earth…this cruel, yet effective practice, is as ancient as war itself; first occurring in ancient Persia and later during the Gallic Wars. America itself employed it against the Native Americans. This type of destruction is an effort of last resort, where anything and everything is destroyed to make it unusable for the enemy; including food, transportation, communication and other resources that are necessary for everyday life.

If there is nothing left for the conqueror, he can’t survive.

The GOP in Texas is not burning crops, poisoning wells, or killing people’s livestock, but they are committing other injustices in an effort to keep others under the boot of their control. Democrat Garnett Coleman, Texas House Representative from Houston, articulated it more succinctly and effectively:

"The Republican majority has made it their priority to underfund public and higher education, make it as hard as possible for certain populations to make their voices heard at the polls, and strip away healthcare benefits from needy families. In many cases, the only reason this state's safety net programs are not more draconian are federal mandates preventing lawmakers from defunding programs even further. To illustrate, when Texan lawmakers say they want more "flexibility" in Medicaid, what they are really saying is that they want the flexibility to push more people off."

Why would the Texas GOP do this? A single reason: Fear. Their hold on power in Texas is tenuous and diminishing with each election cycle. Most recently, Democrats held their ground in the state Senate and garnered seven seats in the House. And then there’s that uncontrollable, pesky little change in the Texas demographic. The only thing that’s prevented Texas from becoming a blue state more rapidly is that the electorate isn’t old enough to vote…yet. It’s only a matter of time; their days are numbered. The Texas GOP knows this. If you have any doubt about it, read this article in the New Yorker. It proves that Texas GOP Chairman, Steve Munisteri, is in full elephant-panic-mode, despite his Texas Hold ‘Em demeanor.

The only hope they have to stave off the change is to "starve the beast", a deliberate attack, a scorched earth policy, inflicted upon the social programs which allow for social and economic mobility, the hallmark of the those who aspire to a better life.

Nowhere is this more evident than the attempts of the Texas Tea Party to strangle public education. Someone in Austin must have remembered the words of John Henrik Clarke, distinguished academician of Hunter and Cornell.

“Powerful people cannot afford to educate the people they oppress. Because once you are truly educated, you will not ask for power, you will take it.”

And that’s exactly what the Texas GOP intends to do. Their intentions are to oppress Texans by keeping them armed and ignorant. Of course, they also seek to enrich the educational corporateurs, their largest campaign donors, who hope to transform public education into an unregulated and disconnected system of for-profit schools. (But, more on that later…)

The Texas GOP is cutting off their own nose to spite their face, however you view it. They’ve built an entire political party on incessant hostility and anger. They forget; those who splash poison around can’t help but get some on themselves. The Texas GOP is threatening to implode upon itself with interparty skirmishes, the Moderates against the more uneducated, vocal and primitive voices that resound behind the Pine Curtain of East Texas.

But good for them! (and great for us!) They’ve provided Democrats with an opportunity to capture the political middle, the GOP Moderates, and the Independents. That’s a fortuitous opportunity upon which Texas Democrats can and will capitalize. In the words of TDCP Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa: “Texas needs to succeed, not secede!”
Carol Morgan is a career counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Follow her on Twitter @CounselorCarol1, on Facebook: CarolMorgan1 and her writer’s blog at

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