Thursday, June 18, 2015

Two Questions for Governor Abbott--and a bit of history

This is not a political post. I’m not attacking Governor Abbott or anyone else, but I am sincerely puzzled by two things I’ve been seeing on Facebook a lot.

The first is the new law limiting suits by communities and dollar amount against big corporations for pollution. With climate change and the environment one of the major concerns in this country and the world, I cannot see any advantage to this except protection of big corporations—and endangerment to the everyday Texans our state government is supposed to protect. I wish Governor Abbott would tell us his thinking when he signed this law—you know, transparency in government and all that.  I genuinely want to know, because it sounds like a disaster in the making to me. Once again, I am disturbed by what we do to Mother Earth in the name of greed.

The second questions has to do with all this gold bullion being stashed away to back Texas currency. What Texas currency? As far as I know we don’t have our own money. Does this hark back to Reconstruction when some Texans wanted to secede? I’ve heard that it’s a first step toward secession. Then I’ve also heard that the gold is safely stored in a New York bank, Why New York? If we’re stashing it, why not in Texas? If it’s an asset, why don’t we use it to help the poor with housing, medical costs, food, etc. Or schools?

The whole idea of secession has been around since we first became a state back in 1845, but today it make me shudder. Does anyone know the story of Van Zandt County’s secession? After the Civil War, that county decided to withdraw from the Union and from Texas. General Phil Sheridan was in charge of Texas during Reconstruction, and he stormed troops north to Van Zandt County to tell those misled farmers they couldn’t do that. But the farmers used a Revolutionary War tactic—they hid in trees and took potshots at the troops in formation as they marched up the road—and then turned around and retreated.

The citizens of Van Zandt County retired to Canton where they built a big bonfire and got out the little brown jug. Late that night, Sheridan’s troops surrounded the town, put all the men in a stockade where they kept them one long cold, wet winter. When spring came and the ground was muddy, the prisoners could push the poles of the stockade apart. One by one they disappeared into the night. Some never returned to Van Zandt County. I think it’s a cautionary tale.

Can’t resists getting in a plug: you can read all about it in Luke and the Van Zandt County War, winner of the best juvenile award for the year from the Texas Institute of Letters. Available from TCU Press, Texas A&M Press, or Amazon. Yeah, I wrote it. Maybe I should send the governor a copy—ya’ think?

If the guv answers my questions, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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