This past weekend, Governor Perry of Texas led a prayer service. What I never understand is—and maybe it is something about being Catholic?—if I’m looking for a community leader to provide spiritual guidance, I usually look to the clergy. Am I weird? I don’t necessarily mean a priest, or even a Catholic clergy. Maybe I’m preoccupied with professionalism, but I figure someone who has devoted themselves to a career as a faith leader would be the person to provide, uh, faith leadership? I really have never understood the fundamentalist desire to see their political leaders provide spiritual guidance.
This follows on recent coverage Governor Perry’s “management” of the Texas University system. Without saying more, as someone who has never visited Texas, the University system, along with SXSW, Austin City Limits, and Austin generally, the Texas University system is generally considered one of the bright spots in Texas. Higher education is usually an engine of the democratization process, which I view as a never-ending endeavor. Not that University systems are perfect, but I would say the Texas Universities were doing pretty well on their own, so why wiggle the fingers?
And then let’s not forget the interesting defiance of the Constitution, International Court of Justice and International Treaties, but executing foreign nationals who’s Rights under international treaties were violated by Texas officials. I realize that state of Texas is all about executing people. And the chances that the Feds are going to send the troops in to occupy Austin and the State Prison system over this is negligible, but the Right is really there and the international optics on this are so not great. I guess the other side is the State of Texas is asserting its Right. No one is disputing the Right of Texas to execute certain violent criminals, who have received Due Process. Yes, the criminals are supposed to have Rights as well, like access to their Embassy, and maybe it is my stereotype, I would think the average Texan on the street would be all about the Who Did What When. I have a fair amount of confidence that, as a result of this, some American family is going to get a whole lot of reality in their week someday, when some other nation decides to ignore an American’s Rights, possibly pointing to a local government with a “what can we do?” response. Thanks, Texas.
That the guy is setting up a presidential bid is a no brainer inside the Beltway. (Of course, with the unexpected passing of one of his big financial backers just today, one is reminded that all politics is not only local, but also fickle.) He’s got so much press right now, you can hit a website without finding a Rick Perry story, and he apparently visited South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Iowa over the weekend? OK. What is amazing to me is that the above is considered a success strategy for a setting up a presidential bid.
As a Northerner, Texas has never really won big props for its level of democracy, from an arm’s length view. However, I guess this guy is duly elected, and if this is what the People of Texas want for themselves, that’s what they get. I guess time will tell if Middle America is happy with this level of democracy. I wish I had more confidence in the answer.