Mike Kueber's Blog

November 15, 2014

Servants, etc.

Filed under: Culture — Mike Kueber @ 9:25 pm
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I recently blogged about American exceptionalism and noted that egalitarianism is one of its key components. Egalitarianism, according to Wikipedia, is a doctrine “that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status.”

Because of my recent bingeing on Jane Austen and the landed gentry in early 18th-century England, I have been exposed to dramatic examples on non-egalitarian life. By contrast, I was born & bred on a farm in North Dakota, a state that is probably more egalitarian than most.

That statement about North Dakota obviously depends on your definition of “equal fundamental worth or social status.” As a practical example of egalitarianism in North Dakota, I had to move to Texas to learn the honorifics “sir” and “Mr.,” and this informality made it difficult for me to deal with judges who insisted on being called “Your Honor.” Or when I was in Army ROTC, saluting to upper classmen.  Who do they think they are, better than me?

I suggest that an egalitarian people don’t have other people as servants; they don’t pay other people to pamper them; they don’t continually crave VIP status/recognition; they don’t enjoy unctuous waiters who fawn over them.

Of course, not everyone chooses to be egalitarian. But that would be un-American.

Saturday Night at the Movies #132 – Sense & Sensibilities

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 1:19 pm
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Following up on my fascination with Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, I watched another movie adaptation, Sense & Sensibilities (1995), which is based on her 1811 “novel of manners” – i.e., according to Wikipedia, a literary genre that deals with aspects of behavior, language, customs and values characteristic of a particular class of people in a specific historical context.

This romantic drama is blessed with a strong cast, including Emma Thompson (Howards End), Kate Winslet (Titanic), Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber in Die Hard), and Hugh Grant (Notting Hill). As with the Bennet ladies in Pride & Prejudice, the protagonist females in Sense & Sensibilities – Elinor and Marianne Dashwood – are part of the landed gentry (i.e., people able to live off the rental income of their real estate), but due to male primogeniture their all-female brood is in danger of losing its lofty status.

Although many men (and women) of Austen’s time (as well as our current time) place heavy emphasis on social and financial standing in selecting their life partner, the Dashwood sisters are lucky to find two gentleman who place more stock on making a selection based on romantic love.

The movie scored an amazing 98% with the Rotten Tomato critics and almost as well with the audience – 90%. Plus, there were Oscar nominations for the movie and Thompson’s acting and her script.  (Thompson claims the movie dialogue didn’t track the book as faithfully as adaptations of later Austin books because the dialogue in this book, her first, was more “arcane.”)  I didn’t like it as well as Pride & Prejudice because the characters are not as engaging – Thompson is too dispassionate (sense), Winslet is too passionate (sensibility), Grant is effeminate, and Rickman lacks charisma. But I still like it enough to give it three and a half stars out of four.

November 14, 2014

Sunday Book Review #150 – Pride & Prejudice

Filed under: Book reviews — Mike Kueber @ 2:52 pm
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A couple of months ago I watched a 2005 film production of Jane Austen’s classic, Pride & Prejudice, and then blogged about it very favorably.  After reading my post, a friend/law-school classmate in Austin told me that he had liked the movie so much that he watched an earlier BBC-miniseries production of the book and then actually read the book, both of which he highly recommended to me.

Well, I was certainly willing to watch the BBC production, which brought fame to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, but I doubted that I had the willpower to read a 1813 book described by Wikipedia as a “novel of manners.” Then last week, my reading queue got low, and I decided to give the book a chance.

My Austin friend, who called the book quite romantic, was absolutely correct. And although I thought the 2005 movie focused on four distinct romances, the book is more centered on the Cinderella story of one person – Elizabeth Bennet. Her story, which occurs more than 100 years after the original Cinderella, is exceedingly well conceived and well executed through a wonderful blend between the narrator and lengthy dialogue.

The intimidation factor in reading an 1813 “novel of manners” was greatly ameliorated by procuring a heavily annotated edition of the book from the SA library. The annotations not only provided definitions of unfamiliar words, but also provided context for unfamiliar situations. And best of all, it provided some critical analysis of the book. Although I often blog about books and movies, I have no background or study in how to critically analyze them, and that is something that I need to remedy in the future.

November 11, 2014

Veterans’ Day

Filed under: Business,Facebook,Military — Mike Kueber @ 8:53 pm
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A few days ago there was a poster on a friend’s Facebook wall suggesting that a veteran should never be homeless, hungry, unemployed, in need of medical care, etc. My initial reaction was that America wouldn’t be doing our veterans any favor by treating them like it treats American Indians – i.e., as helpless dependents who must be taken care of – but I wasn’t in the mood for arguing or defending that position, so I let it pass.

Today, on Veteran’s Day, Facebook as well as various other media outlets are filled with similar sentiments. In a USA Today article, the CEO of Starbucks suggests that America should honor vets by giving them jobs, his company will give vets 10,000 jobs in the next five years.   But CEO Howard Schultz provides additional insights into why this hiring priority is appropriate:

  • “Schultz… says service in Iraq and Afghanistan has becomeahurdlerather than an asset for many veterans seeking civilian employment. It’s one reason the unemployment rate for vets is higher than that among those who haven’t served in the armed forces.
    • ‘The irony there is that there is a stigma attached to many of them about either PTS (post-traumatic stress) or brain trauma or things of that nature when in fact I can personally demonstrate through the hiring of people at Starbucks who have been veterans that they have done extraordinary things.’
  • “Employers are sometimes skeptical, and veterans often have little experience with such basic job-seeking skills as writing a résumé and going on an interview.”

A few months ago, the San Antonio City Council revised its non-discrimination ordinance to protect not only the GLTB community, but also the military veterans. At the time, I thought the proponents of the ordinance were unnecessarily including veterans in the ordinance only because of crass political motives. Really, who would discriminate against veterans?  But based on this argument put forward by CEO Shultz, perhaps there is merit to creating legal protection for vets. And there is also reason for companies to go out of their way to give vets an opportunity. Eventually, however, vets need to be responsible for themselves. Service should not create a comprehensive set of lifetime entitlements.  (Incidentally, the staggering percentage of vets who file for disability based on PTS and brain trauma might be connected to this lifetime-entitlement mentality.)

One final note on thanking vets for their service. My oldest son is a captain in the Army and has served in Iraq. He tells me about being often embarrassed by all the people who treat his service like he is Mother Teresa. Yes, he is patriotic, but he also considers military service to be a challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding career. And he believes that most soldiers are in the service for the same reason.

The military may be a calling, like doctors, lawyers, teachers, and preachers, and most of those people are doing well while doing good.

Editing the Wikipedia entry for Californication (TV series)

Filed under: Entertainment,Media — Mike Kueber @ 6:54 pm
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The Wikipedia entry for Californication includes a summary for each season, but for some reason my favorite season, the penultimate Season 6, contains an exceptionally brief, superficial summary:

  • Season 6 started on January 13, 2013, and features a storyline revolving around Hank penning a musical with a “coked-up rock star” Atticus Fetch, portrayed by Tim Minchin. Maggie Grace portrays Faith, a groupie and a muse to the stars. The season also features Marilyn Manson appearing as himself, a friend of the rockstar Atticus Fetch.

To make matters worse, the entry also shortchanges my favorite girlfriend Faith in its description of the recurring characters:

  • Faith (Maggie Grace) is a groupie and a recovering addict. She meets Hank in rehab and later they start a short relationship. (Season 6)

Because Wikipedia depends on users to improve its product, I decided to improve the Californication entry by editing the Season 6 summary and the Faith description. After re-viewing the 12-episode season, I came up with the following edits:

  • Season 6 started on January 13, 2013. Its storyline revolves around Hank’s relationship with Faith (played by Maggie Grace), whom he meets in a rehab facility. Hank reluctantly agrees to go to rehab, not because of a drug dependency, but rather because of depression over his role in ex-girlfriend Carrie’s suicide at the end of Season 5. Faith is a famous rock-star groupie/muse who is in rehab because of the recent death of her rock star, and ultimately she becomes Hank’s muse. Faith and Hank seem to be made for each other, but in the end Hank is too weak to move on from Karen even though it appears that that relationship has run its course.
  • Faith (Maggie Grace) is a famous rock-star groupie/muse who makes a serious emotional connection with Hank and seems to be the only woman in Hank’s life with the potential to replace Karen in his heart.

For now, the edits have been published by Wikipedia, and I wonder if the previous writers are going to take umbrage at my take on Season 6 and try to switch it back.

I was so taken with Faith (played by Maggie Grace) that I was certain that she would return on the series-ending Season Seven and win Hank back. But she didn’t. And that is why my blog posting on the series ended with:

  • “After the series concluded, Duchovny was asked how Hank Moody evolved over the seven seasons, and he said Hank had remained essentially the same. What an admission! Although I agree with that admission, it is what ultimately disappointed me about the ending. Instead of continuing his struggle with Karen, Hank should have taken up with the younger version of Karen who he hooked up with in Season Six – Faith, played by Maggie Grace. Even Karen admitted to being jealous of Faith because she saw in Faith’s face the same look of love that had been in Karen’s face many years earlier. It’s too bad that Hank was too weak to move on from a relationship that had run its course. But that’s the problem with romantics – they live in the past instead of the present.”

Incidentally, the following is my full-length summary of Season 6:

  • Season Six begins with Hank waking up in the hospital two days after surviving Carrie’s murder-suicide attempt, but Carrie was not so lucky. When Hank visits Carrie on life-support, her friend rips him a new one – “I just wish you had let her down a little easier, a little sooner.” Hank is devastated by the accurate accusation and goes on a binge that results in an intervention. When Hank tells Karen that he feels so guilty about breaking Carrie’s heart that he might never be able to get back to feeling good about life with Karen, Karen tells him that he will get it back if he tries – “In the meantime, I’ll just dream for the both of us, I guess.” Because of Karen’s encouragement, Hank voluntarily commits himself to a rehab facility. Rehab proves to be a total waste for Hank, but he meets a rock-star groupie/muse Faith and quickly makes a Karen-like connection with her. Hank and Faith take a hiatus from the rehab facility to attend her rock star’s funeral, and then relapse together at a post-funeral party. Hank and Faith leave the rehab facility and go their separate ways, but soon thereafter reconnect when Hank and Charlie get her to help Charlie find some drugs and a special guitar for his client rock-star Atticus Fetch. Hank and Faith have a heart-to-heart conversation, and she tells him that he has a special gift as a self-described under-achiever and that she is willing to become his muse – i.e., a woman who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. Hank takes a job to help Atticus write a rock opera based on Hank’s book. Atticus asks Faith to be his muse, but she declines because she doesn’t feel a connection to him and his work. Atticus gets pissed at Faith, and Hank defends her. A grateful Faith thanks Hank by agreeing to be his muse. Hank easily finishes his part of the rock opera, but Atticus rejects it as too dark. Faith reads the opera draft and tells Hank that the problem isn’t that the opera is dark, it is that it is cynical and has no heart; at its core, it needs to be boy-meets-girl. Newly-inspired, Hank hammers out a wonderful revised draft for the opera. Atticus throws a party to celebrate the revised draft, and Karen sees Faith for the first time. Hank tells Karen that Faith is “a friend; a lovely young woman who has helped guide me creatively.” Faith and Karen have a heart-to-heart, and Karen warns her that, despite Hank’s potential, “it’s hard to have a long-term relationship with potential.” Karen sees Hank kissing Faith, so she hooks up with movie star, Eddie Nero. Hank punches Nero in the nose. Hank has a heart-to-heart with Karen. He asks her why she came to the party. She tells him, “You know why? Because there’s always this voice in the back of my head that says maybe this time it will be different. Maybe the stars will align and there will be this magic moment between us where everything will be OK again. But there’s always something or someone in the way…. It’s just when I see someone look at you like I used to look at you, I fucking hate that. It makes me sick to my stomach. And the worst part is that I turned into you tonight, and I don’t want to be that person.” Hank and Faith visit her parents, who are stunningly dysfunctional, emotionally-unavailable people. Atticus goes off the tour and checks into rehab, so Charlie asks Hank and Faith to get him back on drugs and on the tour. Atticus asks Hank and Faith to join him on the tour so they can finish writing the opera. As Becca goes east to college, Karen wonders to Hank whether Becca was the only thing that had kept them together so long. Hank asks Karen whether he should go on the tour, and she tells him to do what he wants because she had nothing to offer him now. Faith and Hank leave on a tour bus, and while they are napping, Hank cries out Karen’s name. Faith tells him, “You have to go, don’t you?” “Yeah, I do. I’m sorry, I do.” “I could love you. I’m not saying that I do; I’m saying I could…. You understand me better than any guy I’ve ever met. And you get me. And that has been the nicest feeling…. The great thing about never really being together? You never have to break up.” Hanks gets off the bus and catches a ride back to LA. Hank knocks on Karen’s door and the screen goes black.

 

November 9, 2014

Cool

Filed under: Facebook,Philosophy — Mike Kueber @ 3:44 pm
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A few months ago, I blogged about a person who posted on Facebook about having her most fun ever – attending a George Strait concert.  Really?  Really!

Although I was initially offended by the lofty status granted by my friend to a mere concert (I usually hate concerts), my blog went on to explain how I was incorrectly conflating fun with happiness:

  • Happiness – lasting and justified satisfaction with life as a whole, which typically comes from family, work, community, or religion.
  • Fun – the enjoyment of pleasure, particularly in leisure activities; an experience – short-term, often unexpected, informal, not cerebral and generally purposeless.

Yesterday, a friend blogged about her recent trip to LA for some work with HBO Sports on a show featuring her and two other sports housewives:

  • Words cannot describe the last 36 hours, but I will try. I’ve been thinking really hard, and aside from giving birth to my babies and marrying Scott, let me start by saying that this entire HBO experience (see previous posts 1 & 2) has literally been the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life.”

I thought, “Really?  Really!”  But then, deja vu, I remembered my fun/happiness posting and wondered if we have the same issue here.

Well, for starters, “cool” is even more amorphous and subjective than fun.  According to Wikipedia:

  • Coolness is an admired aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist.  Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning.

What throws me is that my friend mentioned the HBO show in the same breath as getting married and having babies.  In law school, I was taught ejusdem generis, which means that a broadly-defined term can be narrowed by the other terms that it is listed with.  Getting married and having babies are life-changing, mind-blowing events, and I’m sure my friend (a really good person) didn’t mean to suggest that the HBO show had a similar effect.  Furthermore, being on an HBO show would be undeniably cool for almost anyone.

I need to quit thinking like a lawyer.

 

 

 

 

Saturday Night at the Movies #131 – Californication

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 2:38 pm
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Californication was a half-hour show on Showtime for seven years – 2007-2014. According to Netflix, it is about “Best-selling novelist Hank Moody battles writer’s block and a weakness for drugs, booze and one-night stands while he struggles to make things work with his on-and-off girlfriend and their teenage daughter.”

A yoga friend recommended the show to me, but warned that it was borderline pornography. Not one to be scared off by well-done pornography, I started watching it on Netflix a couple of weeks ago, and found it mildly enjoyable. But with each of the 84 episodes (12 per season), I became more fascinated by Hank Moody (David Duchovny), and before long I was in full binge mode, eventually watching the final two seasons in two days.

Moody is fascinating, not only because he is an irresistible lady’s man, but also because he is supremely witty and irreverent. And despite his womanizing, his character is basically honorable and honest.

His on-and-off girlfriend Karen, played by Natascha McElhone, is beautiful, smart, and warm, while his daughter Becca, played by Madeleine Martin, is precocious and plain. Handsome Hank and beautiful Karen would never produce a child as plain as Becca.

After the series concluded, Duchovny was asked how Hank Moody evolved over the seven seasons, and he said Hank had remained essentially the same. What an admission! Although I agree with that admission, it is what ultimately disappointed me about the ending. Instead of continuing his struggle with Karen, Hank should have taken up with the younger version of Karen who he hooked up with in Season Six – Faith, played by Maggie Grace. Even Karen admitted to being jealous of Faith because she saw in Faith’s face the same look of love that had been in Karen’s face many years earlier.

It’s too bad that Hank was too weak to move on from a relationship that had run its course. But that’s the problem with romantics – they live in the past instead of the present.

 

 

 

November 3, 2014

Aphorism of the Week #21 – America, love it or leave it

Filed under: Aphorism,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 11:55 pm
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“Love it or leave it” is an idiomatic expression that I first encountered 60s as a pro-war political slogan. It has been described, rightly, as an example of an “either/or fallacy” or a false dilemma, but I think it is worth considering. .

Back in Vietnam days, my thought about the expression was that those who opposed the war might have just as much love for America as those who supported the war. Of course, such a discussion would turn on the definition of patriotism, and that is not the subject of this post.

In current days, the expression is often used by people in the majority when their political philosophy – whether liberal or conservative – comes under attack by a minority. Conversely, it’s not unusual for highly partisan minorities to vaguely ruminate about leaving America when the majority disrespects or dismisses their values and concerns. Indeed, that thought once wandered across my brain for an instant, but quickly dissipated when I realized that, despite the growth of government in America, we still had the most government-free developed nation in the world. By contrast, those liberals who looks so favorably on the welfare state in Western Europe have numerous location options that seem more amenable to their political philosophy.

I wonder what those progressive lovers of more government find to love about America. Do they think America is exceptional?

America’s most famous progressive, President Obama, famously down-played the concept of American exceptionalism in 2009 shortly after taking office when he was asked at a press conference in France – “… could I ask you whether you subscribe, as many of your predecessors have, to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy?”

President Obama’s famous response:

  • “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I’m enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world…. And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.”

More recently, President Obama took another crack at better expounding on American exceptionalism, on May 28, 2014 at a commencement address at West Point:

  • “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions. And that’s why I will continue to push to close Gitmo — because American values and legal traditions do not permit the indefinite detention of people beyond our borders. That’s why we’re putting in place new restrictions on how America collects and uses intelligence — because we will have fewer partners and be less effective if a perception takes hold that we’re conducting surveillance against ordinary citizens.”

President Obama just doesn’t get it. Who else would describe American exceptionalism by listing examples of American miscues? He would be better served by relying on a description of American exceptionalism by a leading authority on the subject, Seymour Martin Lipset:

  • America’s unique ideology “can be described in five words: liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissez faire.”

Lipset’s terms can be defined as follows:

  • Liberty – the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.
  • Egalitarianism – a philosophical thought system that emphasizes equality and equal treatment across gender, religion, economic status and political beliefs. One of the major tenets of egalitarianism is that all people are fundamentally equal.
  • Individualism – the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant; a social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.
  • Populism – a political doctrine that appeals to the interests and conceptions (such as fears) of the general people, especially contrasting those interests with the interests of the elite.
  • Laissez faire – abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market.

Clearly, conservatives have a stronger predilection toward individualism and laissez faire, but their historical preference toward liberty has probably been compromised by the Religious Right. And arguably progressives have a stronger predilection toward egalitarianism and populism.

So, with conservatives and progressives equally tied to American exceptionalism, why do conservatives give full-throated allegiance to the concept while progressives tend to shy away?

My guess – the values of individualism and laissez faire are becoming more dominant in America over the values of populism and egalitarianism.

November 1, 2014

I love my flaws?

Filed under: Facebook,Relationships — Mike Kueber @ 12:26 am
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A friend/yoga-instructor posted on her Facebook wall a poster that said the following:

  • Hey you. Yes you. Stop being unhappy with yourself. You are perfect. Stop wishing you looked like someone else or wishing people liked you as much as they like someone else. Stop trying to get attention from those who hurt you. Stop hating your body, your face, your personality, your quirks. Love them. Without those things, you wouldn’t be you & why would you want to be anyone else? Be confident with who you are, smile, it’ll draw people in. If anyone haters on you because you are happy with yourself, stick your middle finger in the air and say my happiness will not depend on others anymore. I’m happy because I love who I am, I love my flaws, I love my imperfections, they make me, me. & ‘me’ is pretty amazing.

I commented as follows;

  • I heard you recite this passage at practice this morning, and I was struck by the closing – “I love my flaws.” Definition of flaw – a defect or fault that mars something. Not so sure about loving my flaws. The Serenity Prayer tells us to accept the things we cannot change, but the courage to change the things we can.

I didn’t mention to my yogi that a few weeks ago I had a serious discussion on this very subject with one of her yoga students. The student told me that she has had a problem for years with guys who were unable to deal with her emotional meltdowns. When I suggested to her that she should try to avoid those meltdowns (a la Men Are From Mars), she responded that those meltdowns were an inherent part of who she was and that the guys needed to learn to accept that (Women Are From Venus).

I reminded her that two of her favorite mantras were:

  • I am what I am; and
  • I am a work in progress.

This is apparently a conflict, but I should have pointed out to her that the Serenity Prayer provides a way to manage the conflict – i.e., use your wisdom to know what you can change and what you cannot.

Is Texas turning from red to blue?

Filed under: Culture,Facebook,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 12:09 am
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This morning I posted the following on my Facebook wall:

  • Last night on The Daily Show (all week, the show has been produced in Austin), Jon Stewart played a clip with San Antonio Mayor Castro saying that Texas was turning from red to blue (i.e., going to become a Democratic state). Stewart responded by saying, “You poor bastards. Democrats in Texas are like the drunk guy who keeps hitting on a woman even though he knows that she’s a lesbian.” Great stuff.

Later in the day, a question occurred to me – If Steward was correct, why isn’t Texas behaving like neighbors New Mexico and Colorado and becoming a politically competitive state? Stewart himself suggested a semi-humorous answer during his segment on Texas when he noted that Texas has been a conservative state since dinosaurs roamed its plains 6000 years ago (a jab at GOP creationists).

For a more serious answer, however, I turned to the internet and, not surprisingly, found that someone – the Georgetown Public Policy Review – had addressed this precise issue almost two years ago with an article titled “Why demographics aren’t enough to turn Texas blue.” Indeed, the article even starts with Mayor Castro’s assertion that Hispanics in Texas will outnumber non-Hispanic whites by 2020:

  • “Mayor Castro represents a growing Hispanic population that is expected to eclipse whites as the most populous ethnic group in the state by 2020. In Mayor Castro, Democrats believe that they have a face to put on the surging wave of Hispanic voters that will turn Texas blue within the next decade. Based on these demographics, it seems likely that Texas’ political makeup will look more like New Mexico’s or Colorado’s than Utah’s or Oklahoma’s in the near future. That is to say, Texas will become another southwestern swing state and will not remain the GOP’s big-state answer to California and New York for very long.”

But the article quickly disabuses its readers of the notion that demographics is destiny, at least not in Texas:

  • “The notion that a demographic change would put Texas in the electoral spotlight is not new. In 2004, Texas became the fourth minority-majority state in the union; joining New Mexico, Hawaii, and California. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population increased by 42 percent, and now makes up 38 percent of the state’s population. In May of 2010, an article in the Texas Tribune asked, ‘Can Barack Obama Win Texas in 2012?’ At the time this was a valid question, but it seems silly given that Mitt Romney carried the state by a 16-point margin on November 6. In both 2008 and 2012, the President carried the other three minority-majority states but lost in Texas by a substantial spread. The question now is why.”

Unfortunately, the article does not provide me with a convincing explanation of why. It suggests:

  1. A large part of the answer lies in the state’s voting record. Historically, Texans have ranked near the bottom in voter participation, and this election was no different with Texas ranking 46th out of 50 states.
  2. The Republican Party in general ignores and sometimes demonizes would-be Hispanic voters. However, Republicans in Texas have made a concerted effort to attract more Hispanic voters and candidates.
  3. Another important factor likely to prevent Texas from becoming a swing state in the near term is the fact that the national Democratic Party has failed to commit the resources necessary to make Texas competitive.

The article concludes weakly, “Despite their efforts, the Texas Democratic Party has thus far failed to capitalize on the state’s minority-majority status. Perhaps Mayor Castro is the politician the Democrats need to turn the state blue—as it was for almost a century until the 1980s—but the state’s demographics will not be the only driving factor. For Texas to be competitive, more of the national party’s resources must be committed to the state.” The conclusion is weak because:

  • Texas wasn’t blue until the 1980s. Although the state was nominally Democratic until the 1980s, it has been, as Jon Stewart pointed out, conservative forever.
  • The Democratic Party has committed significant resources to the state – Battleground Texas PAC – but the effects, at least up to now, have been minimal.

Despite the prevalence of the “demographics is destiny” mantra in the liberal media, I subscribe to the opinion expressed in a Democracy Journal article titled, “Demography is Not Destiny.”  The article opines that, “It might be true that the GOP’s appeal will remain limited to whites. But it might also be true that the definition of “white” will change.” Its author Jamelle Bouie believes that white is equivalent to mainstream, and because of assimilation and intermarriage, many heretofore minorities, especially Hispanic and Asians, will begin to identify with the white/mainstream.

Makes sense to me.

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