By: HW “Bill” Sparks

Children are cautioned by their parents to behave and then the parents do not behave themselves. The “Do as I say, Not as I do” adage only serves to confuse children. So it has been for ages, and so it will be in the future. And yet, these very same words are now appearing in our everyday life, as self-appointed leaders of moral authority are passing law after law that restricts personal behavior.

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To the point – Texas Governor Greg Abbott proudly announced that he signed Senate Bill 12 into law, a Bill that intended to ban Drag Performances but never mentioned Drag Performances. There was a recent online article that got my attention. Published by Raw Story, it exposed the hypocrisy of the situation as well as its silliness. My experience as a political observer tells me that we sometimes write bad laws, but this attack on personal behavior is crossing the line from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The language found in SB 12, leaves open the possibility of confusion over so many aspects of the lives of Texans, that enforcing the law could put a strain on the judicial system statewide as everyday Texans could be rounded up and possibly jailed.
According to the article, there were discussions among the legislators asking if the “sexually explicit performances in front of children” would apply to professional football cheerleaders, such as the Dallas Cowboys? Or maybe the servers at Hooters? Or maybe ‘R’ rated movies? One legislator thought that would be a “blessing.”

The fines and penalties in SB 12 criminalize individual behavior as a Class A Misdemeanor – up to one year in jail and a $4 thousand dollar fine. For businesses that host such events, the fine is $10 thousand dollars. I think the legislators were just jesting, having fun with the wording of the Bill – but at whose expense?

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The article reminded me that there was considerable outrage by the conservative community over the so called “nanny state.” You remember, when Mrs. Obama was championing healthier school meals and restricting in-school promotions of sugary soft drinks in the vending machines on campus and was lambasted and chastised for her efforts by conservatives across the country. The same happened when Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City at the time, wanted to address the issue of sugary soft drinks. I guess that obesity among our youth and the health risks associated with junk food are okay with conservatives. The argument at that time was government overreach on the individual to make their personal choices – funny that.

Matthew Segal, a Civil Rights Attorney, was cited in the article as to the ‘why’ the Bill was written with what I would call white bread generic language with just a twist of legalese added for good measure. “Writing a bill to target a specific group wouldn’t make it through the courts,” he commented.

Well, that should have ended the matter right there, but no, the legislature passed the Bill through committee and on to the floor of both houses of the Texas legislature and on to the Governor’s desk for his signature. By not mentioning Drag Performances directly, the legislature thinks that they stand as the moral authority for all of Texas.

I find it strange that a country founded on the basis of protecting individual rights is moving to restrict the rights of so many people. “Do as I say, not as I do” has a whole new meaning nowadays. Books are being banned, and school curriculum is being sanitized. The very right of individuals to be themselves is criminalized.

Looking at the numbers, it seems that the elected leaders are attempting to reshape America in their own image. This will affect everyone, especially those that do not share the same world view. The claim of these conservative politicians to be the self-appointed moral authority for the United States rings hollow to me (By the way, the extreme left is not immune to taking a similar position either).

There are many questions not being asked at the state and national level, such as “What is the role of government in our daily lives?” We each have our own answer to this question based on our own world view. Another question would be “What expectations do we have when it comes to government services?” Do we even know how government works? Do we even know how government is funded? Probably not.

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It seems to me that most Texans are not engaged with our government. Many, just going with the flow, so to speak, until their lives are disrupted by changes in the law. And then, they speak up loudly demanding change. Hmm, that in itself is a kind of hypocrisy of our own, eh?

Here on the home front in El Paso, we see the city council attempting to direct our police department to de-prioritize some of these new laws. That could set the city on a path for a clash with Austin.

For example, the recent law that preempted home rule cities in Texas in there their ability to create local ordinances that may already be set by Austin, was a result of heavy lobbying by statewide business leaders that did not want to deal with local jurisdictions, especially when it came to labor issues and varying restrictions in different parts of the state. Kind of defeats the whole concept of home rule in Texas.

There is more of course, cynicism abounds. The truth is hidden in the false and misleading statements we are subjected to daily these days.

“The time has come the Walrus said, to speak of many things. (Apologies to Lewis Carroll).”

And, as Patrick Henry beseeched us, it may also be the “time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” There is a political division in America – progressives on the left and conservatives on the right. The meanings of the labels we use to identify the politics of today have drastically changed from 70 years ago. Then it was who could make our country and our state a better place to live, work, and play. Today, with all of the shouting and toxic rhetoric, it is more about power grabbing than governing “…of the people, by the people, and for the people…”

The question at the beginning of this experiment in self-government was simple: What have we wrought? The answer: A Republic if we can keep it!

About the Author:

My bio would say that I am a Yankee by Trade, a Texan by choice. Retired US Army Warrant Officer with a long list of boring community activities for more than 35 years in El Paso, and now retired-retired and writing his memoirs about serving in the Cold War.

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Wannabee Hemingway, Half Irish, Half Greek, Left Handed, Big nose, Bad Back, Cold War Warrior, Yankee by Trade-Texan by Choice, Veteran's Advocate, and more...

One reply on “Guest Editorial: Hypocrisy Is Alive And Well In American Conservative Politics Today And Its Home Is In Texas”

  1. I don’t see any hypocrisy on the part of conservatives in trying to ban lewd behavior. Conservatives do not publicly promote lewd or immoral behavior either culturally or legislatively, . The nanny state which conservatives resist, the Democrats one at war with America, is the one that is truly trying to “reshape America into it’s own image,” that of the socialist, ammoral, if-it-feels-good-do-it Left. Darn right therefore, that conservatives are trying to reshape American onto their chosen image: an image of decency.

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