Another Election Goodie!

One of the benefits of writing a dissertation is learning to avoid the trap called “correlation does not imply causation.” I know many of my fellow grad students that, like me, got nailed by their committee by committing this error! The rebukes were swift and intense, so much so that we all learned our lesson and utilized critical thinking before drawing another conclusion!

One example often used is the admonition not to buy a red sports car because police ticket red sports cars more than any other vehicle. While this is true, it is not the color of the car; it’s the drivers. Young men tend to drive faster than any other demographic, and they also tend to prefer red cars to other to colors. It is this demographic group that garners more tickets, irrespective of the color of car they are driving!

Election time provides a plethora of folks violating this trap in trying to promote their candidate or denigrating those they do not support. The other day on Facebook, a distant Canadian relative did this. Based on her past posts, I know that she votes the Liberal party in Canada, lots of anti-Harper and pro-Trudeau memes and comments.

She posted a video of a Texas Tech University journalism major asking random students historical, current event, and cultural/entertainment questions. The historical questions were centered around the Civil War and asked when it occurred and who were the combatants; the main question about current events was, “Who is vice president of the United States?” Unfortunately, there were very few students who could answer these questions.

The cultural/entertainment questions were: “What show did Snookie appear in?” “Who is Brad Pitt married to?” “Who was Brad Pitt married to before?” Every student was able to answer these questions correctly!

The caption to her post was something like, “And we wonder why these kids are voting for Trump?” There were only two comments on her post as I caught it fairly soon after she put it on Facebook, and they both made references to the intelligence of Texans. As an aside, it’s interesting after I made a succinct comment based on what I’m writing here, not one other person chose to make a post! Unfortunately, my relative not only violated the causation/correlation rule but logical deduction to boot!

I dismissed the latter comments to simply being parochial, usually centering around the two President Bushes. Funny how we do not hear any ignoramus Texan style responses to Lloyd Benson, Ann Richards, or Wendy Davis in the political arena. I also never hear derogatory comments about the education level of Tommy Tune, Jerry Hall, Matthew McConnaughhay, Tommy Lee Jones, Jamie Fox, or Sissy Spacek, to name a few actors!

Unfortunately, this dearth of knowledge is symptomatic of the lax education standards across the country, not this university in Texas. Just look at any old Jay Walking clips when Leno was the Tonight Show host or some of the responses to Jimmy Fallon’s questions of people on the street! The same is true on the other coast; I saw an article showing a similar lack of historical and current events knowledge in Ivy League schools juxtaposed against 100% correct answers regarding celebrities. It makes you wonder about the admission requirements for Ivy League schools.

But worse, my relative doesn’t even check out the demographics on who is supporting Trump; it is older white males without a college education! She is actually maligning Bernie Sanders and her liberal causes because his supporters are mostly young white college students! While this might be a bit harsh, my Canadian relative might have heeded the United States Civil War president’s admonition, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

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Regulation States

For those of you who do not know me, I was born and raised in Texas but moved away for 15 years, returning in 2012. Man, did I miss the music scene and good Tex-Mex! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in New Mexico, Oregon, and Florida; while I never expected to move back to Texas, it has been an interesting experience. Along with the previous states, I have also spent some time in Louisiana, albeit quite a while ago when my grandfather was alive, and now own a second home in the Sierra foothills of California.

So I have experienced two bluish-purple states and two reddish-purple states, with Texas and Louisiana now having morphed into solid red states and Florida not far behind, and two solid blue states. New Mexico seemed to me to be just like Louisiana, but Spanish rather than French, but I digress. I found it constructive to assess the business climate in all the states and, until moving back, always felt Texas was very pro-individual and pro-business. That now comes with a caveat.

While I will not dispute the economic numbers that Texas has put up as compared the other states, especially the blues states, having now moved back, I find that Texas has almost as many inane regulations California and Oregon; Texas just regulates different areas of our lives!

Forget the abortion case in front of the Supreme Court; I am talking about more mundane situations. When we first moved back to Texas, the entire South was in a severe drought. We had no sooner unloaded our RV at a rental home when a fire broke out about eight miles away. As the fire advanced towards our neighborhood, we simply reloaded several boxes into the RV in case we needed to evacuate; while experiencing the disruption of an evacuation alert for several weeks, luckily we did not have to leave.

Last summer, a fire broke out in the county of our California home, this time, we were ordered to evacuate. Fortunately, the winds shifted when the fire was only a few miles away, and then it blew back on itself. Having experienced these two fires within a few years of each other, it presented a stark dichotomy.

Here in Texas, where supposedly regulations are kept to a minimum and individuality celebrated, we were told that if ordered to evacuate, we had 20 minutes to leave. Otherwise, we would have been arrested. In the short time we have owned our second home, I jokingly call the state, “the People’s Republic of California,” because of the numerous and overbearing regulations I have already encountered. Unlike Texas, when the “mandatory” evacuation was put into effect, had we wanted to, we could have stayed in our home! We could not have left the evacuation zone and then returned, but we could have stayed! Go figure!

On the other hand, in California, you can buy wine and hard liquor in a grocery store or drugstore at any time of the day, seven days a week. Due to the influence of churches, in Texas, you can only purchase alcohol between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM, Monday through Saturday! I have a cousin that owns the first liquor store just on the other side of a “dry” county, so he not only gets business from those around him but everyone in the southwest corner of the adjacent county! Not many individual rights when it comes to staying in your home or choosing to consume liquor!

Last night we went to a concert at a winery in Texas, and the myriad of rules surrounding alcohol was astounding. The winery owner stressed that if any outside alcohol was brought onto the premises, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission could shut them down! The business is doing everything right, but an irresponsible visitor can cause them to lose their license. How is that for being pro-business?

Unfortunately, we are not actually talking about more or less regulation; just that red Texas simply chooses different areas to regulate than blue California! I like to quote Dennis Miller when he says (and I am paraphrasing), “Back in the 60s, we protested “the man” and all of “the man’s rules.” Now we have grown up to become “the man” on steroids!”

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