Why I Am Committed to Beto for Texas Governor
Or: How to Be On the Bad Side of BOTH Sides
If during the last 6 years anyone had filmed me working lots of hours knocking on doors and organizing meetings for campaign events to support Beto O’Rourke they would probably not guess how many positions I disagee with Beto on. I’m for reasonable gun laws but I don’t think prohibiting a particular gun or changing gun laws will make that much difference. It’s worth a try. I own and use guns — I’m a rural Texas rancher. I am Pro-Life although prohibition never works it just creates a more profitable and dangerous illegal market. I believe that rather than just talk about public school pay/not focusing on test results … we should be making bold innovative proposals to change school curriculum and structure to equip kids for the 21st century — more specialized hands on trade skills classes, individualized paths for kids that can code well or have strong STEM skills. Above all teaching critical thinking, collaboration skills, creativity and communication using smaller group sizes and supplementing regular teachers with subject matter experts.
I would advised against disrupting the staged, choreographed event that was put on by Governor Abbott after the killings in Uvalde. Its this last point that gets to why I will do everything I can to get Beto elected Governor and that point is: Character.
You see I’ve spent a lot of time with Beto. I have come to see the quality of his character from a lot of perspectives in a lot of different situations. He always stays true to his character — and it is a character full of caring, openness, inclusiveness, honesty, tolerance, humility and concern for any and all people in his life — regardless of politics. He solicits and listens to alternative positions, acknowledges their points and works to find compromise and common ground. He is authentically caring, emotional, passionate and action oriented. His well intended but unfiltered impulsiveness has occasionally created problems for him. When he goes through events of 23 people getting killed in his home town motivated by a murderer acting on conspiracy demagoguery and then sees teachers and kids (just like his own kids) slaughtered he does not check polls or do a calculated set of posturing — he follows his own unfiltered authentic candid character and passion.
Gregg Abbott on the other hand consistently pursues a calculated narrow political strategy that has often been used in American politics for the last roughly 15 years: Focus on a narrow high intensity base stoking their fear, rage, anger and extremism. Maximize divisiveness and hatred and build huge war chests of campaign funding by pandering to big money (that US campaign laws allow) and let that big money self interest be served by influencing government policy. Texas is a one party deep red state. The machine in power keeps its power not by serving and listening to all the people and building systemic solutions but by using near surgical precision to 1) serve big money as payoff for campaign millions, 2) pander and inflame an extreme base often with simplistic fear baiting such as exaggerating immigration/border threats while refusing to work with agencies and the Federal Government to calmly build a systemic actually workable solution (why give up a handy fear generation device), and 3) avoid any true innovation or vision and instead provide calculated populist rhetoric and tactical laws and regulations that satisfy specific special interest groups.
In these days of a high velocity and volume of change it is easy to develop a heuristic short cut for what is true: “What is true is what I agree with”. Greg Abbott uses that avenue to ratchet up fear and eliminate calm adult discussion. No one wants “an open border” but instead of working with agencies and the Federal government to accomplish real systemic solutions Governor Abbott builds on the “truth is what I already agree with” heuristic to further divide and eliminate compromise and adult discussion. That is how power works.
I’m used to having policy and opinion disagreements with Beto and him being okay with working through the differences and listening and seeking to find common ground.
The difference between using demagoguery to control and a highly energized narrow base vs an inclusive optimistic vision of the future that includes the whole spectrum of views will make all the difference for Texas in the 21st century. I will work to elect to the state’s highest executive office someone with character who I don’t always agree with vs. someone who is devoted to big money and power using the extreme and raging base formula. I think the choice will make all the difference for the 21st century in the state I was born in and love, Texas.