Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Having tried several times to begin a piece on the awful topic of regionalism and having no results, I want to take this chance to say a few words on one of the more obvious phenomena of our time.

Anyone who looks at this blog knows that I've been influenced by Molly Ivins, and who hasn't. Her writing is the light that lets us see good sense on just about any topic she covers. If people are around to read her, people will remark on her pointed insight and her warm humor for centuries. Her insights into the human comedy based on the antics and the noble acts of the Texas "lege" have led me to believe that similar lessons could be learned in any of our state houses, we just lack the writers. I don't live in Augusta, Maine and so can't try what she does even though I do make a stab at humor. Not that a New Englander, not even an Irish New Englander, has much of a chance to compete with a Texan there.
One thing she has failed to do is to make me see George W. Bush as anything but a criminal and a swine. Maybe he behaves better in Texas than he does here in York County, though it might be that I'm not as polite as Molly Ivins is.

She by herself would constitute a gift to humanity but she is one of a group which, before some scholar can demote them to being "The Texas School", I would like to call "Those Smart Texans". Part of the group centers around the magazine The Texas Observer. Ronnie Dugger, Jim Hightower, Larry McMurtry, Larry L. King (not to be confused with) and many others who are listed in Molly Ivins'' tributes to the magazine have enlightened us all on many topics. Ivins' obituary of Clif Olafson, who I don't believe ever wrote but who was their business manager, makes me think he probably belongs in this group too just for keeping them afloat. She makes me certain that he is someone I would have liked to know.

But the list of "Smart Texans" is a lot longer than that. Bill Moyers redeemed himself of his brief period in government and went on to become, I hold, the greatest broadcast journalist we have had in English. I know we're supposed to say it was Murrow but I believe a comparison of their work will favor Moyers. Since his ouster from his brief but amazing period on NOW we don't get nearly enough of his work. His speeches, such as we can get over public radio, are documents of insight and erudition rare today.

Politicians like Sheila Jackson Lee, who should be one of the stars of the Democratic Party, Lloyd Doggett, (the same), Ann Richards, and down to Jim Wright, who while only very slightly a grifter, provided the ONLY effective congressional opposition to Ronald Reagan, would have to be listed along with many others.

And even among our own bloggers, Holden Caulfield would go on my list. His originality in crafting a beat for himself is truly pioneering.

Anyone on the left who makes stupid statements about ditching "the South" should ask themselves if they really would like to live in a country without these people.

I'm going to stop now before this turns into another 900 worder and because they are expecting thunderstorms here. No one would mistake me for an expert on the subject of Texan culture or politics. But I wanted to show that a Northerner could appreciate them from afar.

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