Monday, December 14, 2009

Houston's Mayor Is So Gay

Literally. City Controller Annise Parker is openly gay and she just defeated former City Attorney Gene Locke, an African-American, in a run-off election, to become the mayor-elect of Houston.

Although she received 53% of the vote, the pear-shaped sparkplug in the unflattering wool suit didn't exactly ride in on a wave of popularity--roughly 150,000 votes were cast in a city of over 2 million people.

Is this because most Texans would rather sit this one out than have to choose between a black guy and a lesbian? tempting as it is to say 'yes, that makes sense' it appears only 188,000 votes were cast in the initial election, which did feature at least one old white man.

What could be the cause of this low voter turnout in the largest city in Texas, a state whose inhabitants generally pride themselves on being outspoken, if usually on the wrong side of the issue?

Were all the candidates gay? Were they giving out free gun racks at WalMart? Were the American Idol auditions held the same day?

Is Houston a city made up almost entirely of orphaned children? Are the sidewalks paved with licorice and the grass actually spray-painted Big League Chew? Are their schools merely Chuck E. Cheeses in disguise? Did Oliver Twist deliver Parker the votes in exchange for an extra helping of gruel?

Or is the real Houston more like the rest of the country than we non-Texans would care to admit, its residents more aware than ever of how pointless most elections are, considering the fact that pretty much every politician is owned by the same interests and will come to the same end result, if by slightly different paths?

Not including the presidential contests held every four years, we have reached a point of gross disengagement on the part of the electorate, a direct result of our growing disenchantment with our leaders of the last...60 years. We may not have realized it at the time, but we realize it now--all the local, state, and national leaders we elected have all played their part in steering us into this irretrievably-fucked cesspool of modern politics and social/fiscal responsibility.

Whether they allowed lobbyists dictate policy in exchange for campaign money or consultant jobs post-office, or turned a blind eye while the financial industry ran amok, or let Halliburton start an eternal war on terror, our elected officials have consistently chosen business interests over the interests of their constituents, over the interests of the planet we all live on.

Now we have arrived at a place in time where The Machine is too big to fail--the rich want to get even richer, at any cost, and they have enough money to make it happen. They know all they need to do is lie, grease a few dozen palms, have those greased palms spread the lie, and the details will get lost in committee or on page 44E of a newspaper nobody reads.

We, the voters, are guilty of aiding and abetting, by giving these conspirators our votes time and time again. What better way to avoid future blame than failing to cast a vote, right? We'll show them!

Of course, this failure to participate only makes matters worse and will eventually result in some future class-struggle-cum-revolution, but whatever--much like our response to recycling efforts, water and electricity conservation, and pollution control, we don't really care because we'll all be dead by the time the effects are really felt.

Or will we? Who knows--the future is always uncertain (unless you're one of the lucky ones).

One thing that is certain is that selfishly doing whatever you feel like and crossing your fingers that you won't have to personally face the consequences is not as helpful as thinking of the big picture and using those fingers to enact whatever small changes you can in your daily life.

Stop being selfish, become and remain informed, vote wisely, hold people accountable for their actions, and help make the world a better place for all those goddamn children poor people keep having...


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