Yesterday Shinyribs participated in a taping of a podcast for the Texas Tribune. I had taken Mucinex DM in the morning for a horrible cold, so the names haven’t so much been changed to protect the innocent, as to protect me from looking like a dumbass. I was in outer space, picking up more of the overall vibe than the specifics. But it was a truly amazing experience that I hope to repeat again at some point.
Being a transplant in Texas, even though I’ve been here almost 8 years, I have always found it hard to crack the political Da Vinci Code that is this state. I think that is partly, if not wholly, by design due to the firm grip of the GOP on state power. It was really interesting and stimulating to hear some local and state political discussion. The Texas Tribune podcast is now using Shinyribs’ Texas Talking as its theme song.
I can’t imagine being in a better place than yesterday. Hearing interesting political talk while playing songs that make people clap and dance and get free. It’s really the best of all worlds.
In the weeks leading up to this Kevin has been trying to tell me that I need to start reading the Texas Tribune and the Texas Observer, as they are really the best places to understand what is going on at a state level. Let’s just say that I am a political junkie and finding a good Texas news source is like looking for a needle in a haystack. My experience yesterday has confirmed to me that Kevin is right.
Before the show yesterday Kevin and I were trading some friendly jabs about the whole North\South thing. I am from Pennsylvania and he is from the Louisiana\Texas Border. Kevin is a much more proficient verbal arguer than I, and my girlfriend will attest that pretty much anyone is. I think half the reason I write songs is to make up for this deficiency. I need time to think and ponder and because of this I represent my beliefs best in writing. I’m too introverted and inward looking. Every once in a while the clouds will part and I can dance with the best of them, but often I realize the things I could have said to win the argument about ten minutes after it happened. I did mention to Kevin that he should have been wearing a grey shirt instead of a blue one, and he got a good laugh out of that.
Last night after watching some bubble gum action movies, I returned to Ken Burns The Civil War. I found one thing particularly interesting. Jefferson Davis knew that if the South were to win the Civil War that he had to have the same kind of sweeping powers that Lincoln had. He had to have broad federal like powers to get the South moving in a unified direction to defeat the North. Because of the Confederate states were so set on States Rights this never happened. It was their anti-federalism that helped to spell their doom amongst other things. I can’t help but thing that the current GOP could learn something from this. By being so anti-government, in ways in which even moderate conservatives realize are insane, they are dooming themselves more and more to the fringes of American politics. There are still enough old white voters, and they still have things redistricted enough in their favor in certain places, but eventually the damn is going to break. If they don’t modernize they are going into the wilderness for a long time to come. They will have no one to blame but themselves. People like Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and Sarah Palin are singing a death song for a way of life that is slowly fading. In closing I would like to quote the Elvis Costello song Tramp the Dirt Down. It was originally written about Margaret Thatcher, but I think it works now as well:
Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
Long enough to savor
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down