Aug 14, 2005

Who Are These People Who Seem to Have so Much Say Over Texas Public Policy?

Since my entry into state politics as a state representative in 2002, I repeatedly reminded that the current leadership and much of Republican Party politics is driven by folks in the rich suburbs of North Texas. Primary politics seems to be the game that drives much of the recent legislative failures Texas has been forced to endure.

As a person who was raised in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of the country, in Deep South Texas it is hard to understand a community that expects that Texas be run as if it mirrored their own community.

For the good people of South Texas or any other part of Texas for that matter, that are curious about this part of Texas that seems to be the center of state and national Republican politics a good story appears in the Dallas Morning News that tries to describe this little subculture of Texas. Our thanks for A Little Polyanna for pointing it out.

After reading the article I have a hard time seeing the community as a shining city on a hill. As was noted:

"They tend to buy more expensive things than they can afford because it's brand new, and they have not been taught to save," said Dr. Kathy Hayes, economics professor and associate dean for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University.

"There's a whole subset of people out there who are trying to keep up with the Joneses and trying to better themselves, and they're trying to do that at the cost of being in debt," said Bonnie Peterson, director of education and marketing for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of North Central Texas in McKinney.

Many families are struggling with materialism, debt and values, several Collin County-area church leaders said.

"Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Allen and Wylie households donated, on average, about $1,700 to charity in 2002, according to analysis of IRS data on income and charitable contributions. By comparison, Dallas income tax filers contributed about the same but earned less, at about $60,000."

The article goes on and on and paints an unflattering picture of American values gone astray. What irony that some in this group are all to ready to force their values down everyone else's throats and at the same time proclaim that "others" have no moral values.

One should wonder why a state turns its back on the poorer more rural communities in the school finance debate, the real fact of the matter is that the lessons of charity have yet to be learned at home.

My grandfather who had little to no education had little in terms of money. Food, shelter, work and family were his concerns yet his family was never so hungry not to share with those in need. My grandfather was indebted to no one but his God, one because no one would lend someone like him money in those days but more so because it was dishonorable to be in debt.

If my grandfather was alive he would marvel at the description of the people in the wealthy suburbs of North Texas. Slow to judge anyone, he would probably say nothing but with a smile would share his disappointment. If we had a moment to talk about our public schools, he would probably cry if he understood that some parts of Texas still continue to see other parts of Texas as less deserving.

You see my grandfather came to this country penniless, but believed in the American Dream, no not a dream where each of us would hoard our wealth and wall ourselves off with indifference towards our fellow man. He believed that through hard work, determination and a good education one had the opportunity to better his family and the community he lived in. In this manner he served God.

No offense, to the people of North Texas, these are the frailties of man of which we speak. They are evident were I live as well, but let us renew our commitment to each other. Let us find balance in our lives so that we can serve our fellow man and in turn serve God.


Ayatollah Mugsy said...

As a resident of Frisco, one of the aforementioned North Texas suburbs, I can say that a culture of materialism and excess does, indeed, exist. However I felt that the Morning News painted Collin County residents with an overly broad brush. I can say that I, for one, keep my financial doghouse in order. And through my ministry, I strive to help the underprivileged. I know that there are many others who share my values of fiscal responsibility and my desire to help the less fortunate among us.

The Penguins are Psychotic said...

Highly interesting blog. I've not read the article but will. Even without reading, from what I've witnessed, you hit the nail on the head. For I live in one of the poorer more rural communities in the school finance debate...equality isn't possible. Especially when you have no representation on any committees developing the plans. And fewer representation on the Senate and House floor. Who is going to take the fox out of the hen house when the door is locked from the inside?

Shaine Mata said...

I read an article recently, can't remember where, that discusses the rise of the Gold Collar worker. These are college age people who work 2 or 3 jobs in order to have the name brand clothing and accessories. Their main focus is looking good and living well. Their whole goal in working is the ability to shop for the good stuff. Everything else is secondary. There may just be a larger population of these people in Collin county, but they are everywhere.

Back to the point, they shouldn't make decisions for places like the RGV.