On his podcast, Andrew Klavan told a story about how he and a friend learned a life lesson in a London alley that I think perfectly illustrates our current situation in Texas politics.
The two young men came upon 10 or 15 people gathered around a game called “three-card monte.” The game was played with the queen of hearts and two jokers. The key to win was to simply keep your eye on the queen as the three cards were shuffled around.
They saw several players lose and also saw some win. But even as they watched, they were convinced they would have won because they correctly identified the position of the queen every time, even when the other players lost.
That was when they decided to plop down their own cash and paid the price of earning some wisdom. They lost repeatedly and more than they could really afford.
Once their money was gone, they left and walked around the corner, realized it was a scam, and decided to go back to confront the dealer.
They were surprised to discover that not only was the dealer gone, but the makeshift table and all the “players” were gone, too. They quickly figured out that the scam worked on them because they didn’t realize the entire thing was a set-up job, including the other supposed players.
Klavan’s point is that we are getting scammed on a national level. He is, of course, correct.
I realize it is uncomfortable to acknowledge, let alone accept, but Texas politics is also a game of three-card monte, and we are the suckers. Let me prove that we have been playing a rigged game that is not winnable.
When I first realized that Republicans have held the governorship for more than 26 years and held controlling majorities in both the Texas House and Senate for more than 19 years, I thought they could literally have done anything they wanted for 19 years. The obvious question is: Why hadn’t they?
Learning from Andrew Klavan’s experience, I now realize the way I framed that question was entirely incorrect. The game only makes sense if you understand the governor is the “dealer,” the members of the House and Senate are the “players,” and you and I are the suckers.
The paradigm shift that must be recognized is that the “Republican” elected officials are doing exactly what they want, which is to NOT pass legislation that reduces property taxes, ends abortion, restricts the governor’s actions during an “emergency,” ends taxpayer-funded lobbying, or any of the other priorities that rank-and-file Republicans have wanted for decades.
With the correct framing, it is as obvious as it is painful. The dealer and the players do not want to pass this legislation. If they wanted to, they could. They have the legal authority and the power. And for goodness’ sake, they have had 19 years with a controlling trifecta to do it. Yet, nothing.
The good news is that the scam only works until the suckers become wise to the game.
However, it isn’t enough for just one or two people to raise the alarm; it is going to take all of us to expose them if we are to have any chance of stopping them.
The Republican Party champions personal responsibility. It is time to put our individual time, talent, and treasure where our mouth is. Take personal responsibility, stop playing the game, and start sounding the alarm.
Last year, I did. I stepped up to the plate and ran for office.
I want to challenge every single one of you to ask yourselves what you are willing to give of your time, talent, and treasure. You might not be able to give all three. But at least choose one. Because if you are waiting for someone else, it will be another 19 years.
I am happy to get feedback, comments, and suggestions. What I would rather have is a report on what you are actually doing. Let me know at TexasConservative@icloud.com.
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