Columnist misses the point on Texas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2005

Mr. Pocklington sets his sights on Louisiana but misses the point when it comes to Texas.

Having lived my first, formative 30 years in Texas, I know well the virtues of the people.

It didn’t surprise me that from Houston to Dallas cities and small towns welcomed Hurricane Katrina victims; it’s what neighbors and kinfolk do.

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I must agree with Mr. Pocklington when he ascribes all those virtues to Texas as if they began when Texas discovered there was another party in this country 40 years ago and woke up to the fact it had somehow elected John Tower to the U.S. Senate. The state has been baffled and buffaloed by Republicans ever since and its virtue has barely remained intact.

Witness: Speaker Tom Delay’s indictment for money laundering. Since Republicans moved in with their &uot;I’ve got mine so s**** you, Jack,&uot; attitudes it threatens to replace the humbler values of brotherly concern for neighbors and community and the adage &uot;There but for the grace of God go I.&uot;

Mr. Pocklington wants to blame the victims of Katrina and implies they deserved what they got for living in a Democrat state. To his way of thinking, the stranded and drowned poor should have had the good sense never to have had antecedents as the victims of slavery prior to 1865, the victims of Jim Crow segregation, the impoverished of education opportunities in segregated schools and not be caught in part of New Orleans below sea level without an SUV and a full tank of gas before a hurricane. What an incredible lack of forethought!

A more compassionate approach might be to realize that the glaring gaps between the rich who could flee and the poor who were trapped might have to do with the increasing extremes of the inequitable distribution of wealth and educational opportunities in the country under Republican &uot;no-new-taxes&uot; leadership.

The same people who cooked up vouchers for private schools also have used their influence to under-fund public schools and state colleges.

What if we in Virginia were forced by circumstances to look at the inequities that remain in our fair state 35 years after civil rights?

Louis S. Seyler