The Texas Republican Party recently came out with its platform. It had what you would pretty much expect on issues like abortion, (advocating the reversal of Roe v. Wade), and opposing Affirmative Action, and opposing same sex marriage.
On the positive side there were some surprises. They support a law that would force politicians to subject to all the laws that they pass (you may have received an email about this); revising sections of the Patriot Act that have eroded rights and liberties of citizens; repeal of the War Powers Act; limiting eminent domain to exclude the taking of private property for economic development; limiting the ability of politicians to move into lobbying, requiring a 25% voter turnout for bond elections to carry, and banning red light cameras. I think everyone can agree with those ideas.
On the other hand the bulk of it, for me at least, is downright scary. There are some planks of the platform that would eliminate government programs that we have all become accustomed to and view as vital. Social Security, minimum wage, the U.S. Department of Education, the Endangered Species Act, and the United Nations would all be eliminated. Water districts would be eliminated in favor of putting all of our water in the hands of private corporations. That is just plain scary to me. Can you imagine a corporation like Enron or BP having control of your water?
They also want to eliminate the Department of Energy. Since its inception during the Carter administration we haven't seen a comprehensive or coherent energy policy so I could go along with that one.
In addition to making all abortions illegal and making all same-sex unions illegal there are many provisions of the platform that put big government directly in your lives. For example, they would: urge the repeal of no-fault divorces; force sonograms on women seeking abortions; make the "morning-after" pill illegal; prevent homosexuals from adopting or having custody of a child; prohibiting "gun-free" zones; and making a certain sex act illegal even between consenting adults.
Then there are those things which I don't think are very well thought out. They oppose the use of a Constitutional Convention but that's probably the only way a law forcing politicians to abide by all the laws that they create would ever pass. They affirm the right to own property without governmental interference and yet that would prevent the building of the "Border Wall" along the Mexican border.
They support the display of The Ten Commandments and "other religious symbols" on public land and yet that would allow a Koran, or quotes from it, to be openly displayed in government buildings. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) They support having absolutely no restrictions on the ownership of any kind of gun and yet that would allow convicted felons, the mentally insane, and would-be terrorists to obtain guns legally and openly.
They would require prison inmates to perform meaningful work and yet, isn't that slavery? They support the embargo against Cuba until democracy is restored and yet China, our biggest trading partner, is the worst human rights violator in the world. They support the dissolution of the Federal Reserve and yet no large, modern economy can function without a central bank. They support elimination of day labor work centers and yet isn't that how many construction workers find work?
Some of the planks support policies which have been shown to be ineffective or just plain wrong. Making abortion or drug use illegal doesn't stop it. It only creates a black market for it so that criminals can thrive. Then some otherwise ordinary citizens become criminals and we spend a lot of time and money building and filling prisons. Education and treatment programs are much more effective than prohibition.
Republicans "oppose any sex education other than abstinence until heterosexual marriage." Statistics show that this only causes higher teen pregnancy rates and then a myriad of issues for the people involved who then have to turn to government assistance, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
The platform also states: "We pledge our influence toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state." It is just plain fact that the author, James Madison, borrowed from Thomas Jefferson's similar law in Virginia. Jefferson was Madison's mentor and subsequently wrote the words "wall of separation between church and state" when explaining the first amendment in the "Danbury Letter".
Republicans still claim that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime. "Capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent." Yet research proves otherwise. "The results of the more than 200 studies done on capital punishment are either inconclusive or adverse to the claim that it is an effective deterrent to murder." (www.deathreference.com)
Then, of course, there is the hatred for certain groups of people. If you're gay, Black, or an immigrant, you should fear the Republican Party of Texas. They support making it a "felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple or to perform a marriage ceremony for such. We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases." We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values." We urge repeal of the Hate Crimes Law, "disqualification of homosexuals from military service; immediate discharge of HIV positive individuals." We oppose the repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy" In other words, it is alright to discriminate against gays and lesbians and only gay sex spreads disease.
Concerning immigrants and Blacks, legal or otherwise: "One nation, one flag, one language, one loyalty. "This is predicated upon the fact the person is in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance. Anyone who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't American at all."
While claiming to reach out to Hispanics, the Republican Party clearly must do a better job. Not one of the state's 181 legislators is a Hispanic Republican.
Finally, health care is addressed in the Republican platform but only minimally. Tort reform and interstate competition is encouraged but by and large the status quo is favored. They would repeal what they call Obamacare or "any similar legislation" thus eliminating gains made for consumers concerning obtaining insurance coverage and keeping it regardless of their health status or financial situation. They are opposed to the formation of any kind of Congress-like health plan involving health care exchanges or allowing children to stay on their parents health plans until age 26. Separately, vital health care for illegal immigrants and prison inmates would be denied.
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