Rural legislators have quit on Texas values

From The Dallas Morning News:  https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/08/10/rural-legislators-quit-texas-values

Richard Parker
August 10, 2017

WIMBERLEY — With a little rain, the grass here perks up and turns a reassuring green. The short-horned Charolais emerge from the live oaks to graze. At the end of each hot day, the cool Blanco River beckons.

There are lots of clichés about Texas but this one is undeniably true: Its values were forged in the hot, hard places of its plains, hills, woods and plateaus. “No cowboy,” wrote J. Frank Dobie, “ever quit while his life and his duties were most exacting.” It’s likely that not a lot of Texans now know who Dobie was, underneath his floppy, trademark Stetson and gone for more than 50 years. It’s for dang sure that the governor and lieutenant governor are utterly ignorant.

Born in Live Oak County in 1888, enamored of the ranch lands of South Texas, he became the state’s bard, story-teller, armchair historian, folklorist and self-appointed thorn in the side of politicians. He captured in words the real Texas of his time: a lonesome self-reliance, born of the land, with a humble circumspection for others and obligation for civil as well as individual liberty.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are winding up this legislature as self-appointed defenders of Texas values. But sticking your nose in other people’s business is not a Texas value. Their phony war against the cities, where 9 in 10 Texans live, and where nearly all the economy operates is, in fact, a betrayal of the values that emanated from rural Texas. And if they care so much about real Texas, then rural Texas could’ve used a hand.

Net farm income has dropped 50 percent since 2013, according to the Agriculture Department’s annual farm forecast. In Washington, the Trump administration’s budget calls for cutting agricultural spending, too, nearly 20 percent. Commodity prices for corn and wheat have steadily fallen, even as animal prices have been steady albeit volatile with a backlog of supply. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue didn’t even show up to an event to listen to farmers in San Angelo last month in preparation for the 2018 farm bill.

Oil prices have not and may never rebound to the highs seen during the boom. Instead they have settled into the $40.00 per barrel range, and at least one oil giant, Shell, thinks that’s where they will stay for the foreseeable future. Now, a crime wave has followed the bust. The most violent crime rates are not found in the big, bad liberal sanctuary cities but in West Texas, according to the FBI. Odessa tops the list, far ahead of Austin, which has earned Abbott’s milquetoast wrath.

And what have the politicians in Austin done about all this during the summer? Precisely nothing but make up excuses to poke their snouts in other people’s troughs. People like Patrick confuse their narrow minds and narrower bases with real Texas. Which might make sense given that he’s not even from Texas; he’s from Maryland.

“If I had to divide the population into classes today, I should characterize a goodly number as Texians, a very large number as Texans,” Dobie wrote, almost with a sigh, in 1936. “And finally, all too many people who just live in Texas. The Texians are the old rock, the Texans are out of the old rock; the others are wearing the rock away.”

Of course there have been a lot of helping hands in the state Senate, ironically from people who have bigger problems right in their rural backyards than eyeballing their urban neighbors. So that’s meant more restrictions on abortion. Legalizing swords in public. Chopping down local tree ordinances.

Pretending to cut property taxes and give teachers bonuses — but not. Keeping transgender kids out of school bathrooms. Funny how not one politician has seized, say, on saving rural Texas, which is disappearing underneath the developer’s dozer faster than any other state in the country, according to a report by Texas A&M University.

Complete editorial at:  https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/08/10/rural-legislators-quit-texas-values

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