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Jun 27 2012

I Read the Texas Republican Party Platform So You Wouldn't Have To

The Republican Party of Texas recently released its 2012 platform, a 23-page document that I decided to read because there isn’t enough misery in my life, apparently.

This document is stunning even by Republican standards (sorry, Republicans). I will outline some of its most preposterous points here. (Note, however, that the preposterousness is by no means limited to what I’m including in this post.) Section-by-section, here it is. If you need alcohol, I suggest drinking each time they invoke God as the basis of their policies.

“Preserving American Freedom”

  • “We strongly support the immediate repeal of the Endangered Species Act. We strongly oppose the listing of the dune sage brush lizard either as a threatened or an endangered species. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished.” I don’t know about the status of the dune sage brush lizard in particular, but I do know that a world without the EPA would be a pretty terrible world. I mean, unless you want polluted air and water, uncontrolled pesticide sales, etc.
  • “We oppose this act [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] through which the federal government would coerce religious business owners and employees to violate their own beliefs and principles by affirming what they consider to be sinful and sexually immoral behavior.” What a drastically stupid misunderstanding of ENDA. Nobody’s asking anybody to “affirm” anything. They’re simply asking employers to stay out of their employees’ bedrooms.
  • “We urge Congress to adopt the Constitutional Restoration Act and support the principle of judicial restraint, which requires judges to interpret and apply rather than make the law. We support judges who strictly interpret the law based on its original intent.” I am reminded of a particularly humorous New Yorker cover. I can easily see why these reactionaries take such an issue with judicial activism, as that’s what brought us reproductive rights, desegregated schools, and other such horrid things.
  • “We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.” Let me rewrite this part of your platform for you: “We support the disenfranchisement of African Americans and the poor while pretending that that’s not what we’re really doing.”
  • “Any form of desecration of the American Flag is an act of disregard for our nation and its people and penalties should be established for such.” Wait, what was the title of this section again? “Preserving American Freedom”? That First Amendment is just so inconvenient sometimes.

“Strengthening Families, Protecting Life and Promoting Health”

  • “We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists.” What is a “natural man”? What is a “natural woman”? Do tell.
  • “We urge the Legislature to rescind no-fault divorce laws. We support Covenant Marriage.” This means that people will not be able to get divorced without having to prove that at least one person has done something drastically wrong, such as commit adultery or abuse. However, the other person could plead a recrimination defense (“but so did you”). Even if both people have abused or cheated on each other, this means that a divorce may not be granted.
  • “We support the affirmation of traditional Judeo-Christian family values and oppose the continued assault on those values.” I got nothin’.
  • “We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God….” Thou doth protest too much.
  • “All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization to natural death; therefore, the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”From fertilization. This means that an egg which has just united with a sperm is a Human Being and that all abortions would be illegal, in direct contradiction to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. And, because emergency contraception such as Plan B can work after fertilization has taken place, this, too, would be banned.
  • Aaaand who called it. “We oppose sale and use of the dangerous ‘Morning After Pill.’” It is not dangerous. Who just makes statements like these without backing them up with evidence? (Texas Republicans, obviously.)
  • “We strongly support a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” I LOL’ed.
  • “We unequivocally oppose the United States Senate’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.” That’s correct, parents have rights but children do not. Among other things, then, the Texas GOP opposes the protection of children from abuse and exploitation, their right to have a relationship with both parents even if the parents have separated, and their right to be free from corporal punishment.
  • “We support eliminating bureaucratic prohibitions on corporal discipline and home schooling in foster homes.” On other words, we support child abuse.
  • “Health care decisions should be between a patient and health care professional and should be protected from government intrusion.” I include this only because of the irony, as the platform unilaterally supports government intrusion into healthcare decisions whenever they involve a woman’s reproductive parts.
  • “All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves or their minor children without penalty for refusing a vaccine.” Thereby destroying herd immunity and bringing back lethal, crippling diseases. Makes sense.

“Educating Our Children”

  • “We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.” In other words, we favor imposing our culture onto others because our culture is The Only Correct Culture.
  • “We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more authority to deal with disciplinary problems. Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas.” Corporal punishment is not effective and should not be legal. Dozens of studies conducted by Evil Un-American Scientists suggest this.
  • “We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.” I suppose that’s better than not teaching them at all, but there is such a thing as scientific consensus. Evolution and man-made global warming, to use the non-euphemistic terms, are not controversial among the people who are educated enough to study them. They are only controversial among the uninformed.
  • “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” Guys, I don’t know how else to say this: they literally oppose thinking. They oppose producing citizens who are capable of critically evaluating information and ideas. They support producing citizens who do what they’re told because God/Pop said so.
  • “We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.” Congratulations, you support a scientifically discredited form of sex ed.
  • “We support school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems.” Okay first of all, stop it with this term “Judeo-Christian.” Most Jews do not want our faith roped into this bullshittery. Second, newsflash, not everybody in the United States (or even in Texas) is Jewish or Christian. Deal with it.
  • “Since education is not an enumerated power of the federal government, we believe the Department of Education (DOE) should be abolished.” Oh vey.

“Promoting Individual Freedom and Personal Safety”

  • “We oppose the monitoring of gun ownership, and the taxation and regulation of guns and ammunition.” *barf* *yawn*
  • “We urge immediate repeal of the Hate Crimes Law.” I don’t even know which law this is talking about and I can’t find out, but on the whole, hate crimes are pretty bad.
  • “We support the Boy Scouts of America and reject any attempt to undermine or fundamentally change the ideals of the organization.” Yo why is this in here?
  • “We believe a person who injures or kills an unborn child should be subject to criminal and civil litigation.” So, a woman who has a miscarriage?

“Strengthening the Economy”

  • “We recommend repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, with the goal of abolishing the I.R.S and replacing it with a national sales tax collected by the States.” So how are they going to afford all that intrusion into Americans’ bedrooms? Not to mention the foreign wars? That’s what I want to know.
  • “We support immediate resumption of deep water drilling and production in the Gulf of Mexico.” Because that worked out great last time.
  • “We oppose the abusive use of class action lawsuits.” This would be…what, exactly?
  • “We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed.” This certainly needs no comment.

“Defending Sovereignty At Home and Abroad”

  • “We support the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of U.N. headquarters from U.S. soil.” I’m not a huge fan of the UN for various reasons, but there needs to be some sort of authority that at least attempts to keep the interests of the entire world in mind.
  • “To protect our serviceman and women and ensure that America’s Armed Forces remain the best in the world, we affirm the timelessness of those values, the benefits of traditional military culture and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.” WHY. Somebody just tell me WHY.
  • On Israel, presented without further comment: “Our policy is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise.”

So there you have it. There are certainly sensical and intelligent positions in this platform, too, but they’re mostly common sense. For instance, prosecute child molesters. Provide healthcare to veterans. Allow police officers to find criminals. You know, that sort of thing.

There are also a notable number of direct contradictions in this document. For instance, they say, “We favor improving the quality of education for all students, including those with special needs,” and then they proceed to outline a curriculum that destroys critical thinking. They say that the government should stay out of healthcare decisions, and yet they not only propose to ban all abortion, but they even decry Plan B as “dangerous” (which it is not). They also indicate specifically what information doctors are required (and, of course, not required) to provide about abortion. And, at one point, they even state, “As America is a nation under God founded on Judeo-Christian principles, we affirm the constitutional right of all individuals to worship in the religion of their choice.” This makes no sense! It is exactly because America is not a religious nation that religious freedom is even possible.

Why should you care about a platform advanced by one state’s Republican party? Even supposing all other Republicans in the country are perfectly reasonable and do not oppose things like voting rights for African Americans and critical thinking skills for children (unlikely), Texas is a large state and Republicans outnumber Democrats by a large margin in both houses of the legislature. So this affects a lot of people.

And, furthermore, the platform itself also states, “Every Republican is responsible for implementing this platform. Party candidates should indicate their positions on platform planks before their acceptance on the ticket and such information should be available on the Party website.” So, for all the crap I occasionally get to the tune of “Yeah well not all Republicans are like that” and “Yeah well many Republicans actually support same-sex unions,” well…in Texas, this is exactly how they are.

For more take-downs, see here, here, and here.

24 comments

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  1. 1
    Ian

    Holy fuck this is scary

  2. 2
    Michael

    Punch ALL the Republican left tits! (also, I like that you invented a drinking game for this)

    1. 2.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      Of course I invented a drinking game for this. Unfortunately I couldn’t actually play it, as I wanted my writing to remain lucid.

      1. 2.1.1
        Michael

        I hope that they’re wrong about this whole god thing, because otherwise Jesus is going to need to file a lot of restraining orders.

  3. 3
    Anne

    So…Texas Republicans, among other things, want a bunch of lizards to die off? I also don’t know the context, but that alone sounds kind of skeptical and almost meme-ish. “Kill ALL the lizards!” Also none of this makes me want to move to Texas.

    1. 3.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      I don’t know what the poor lizard did to deserve the distinction of getting called out in the official party platform.

  4. 4
    Culture Club

    If i were in the Texas Democratic Party committee, I would start an immediate campaign called: Moments in American History.

    Cue in the “I have a dream” speech, and using a voice with gravitas describe the voter rights acs law as a time where we allowed all people to be equal under the law [here we have multiracial crowd--but still predominantly waspy-- appearing in the screen, looking up toward the future, as the flag waves in the background] only to have a scratched record sound to come in. The republican party opposes it; resolution 3.14, Texas republican party platform 2012.

    Repeat with all the most obvious and non-controversial ones. Endangered species act, Employment non-discrimination act, no fault divorce-law, corporal discipline, vaccines, and minimum wage law (add here actual quote of Walmart supporting minimum wages for good effect).

    1. 4.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      Unfortunately, given that this is Texas, nothing any Democrat can do will work. Their state House has 2 Republicans for every Democrat.

      1. 4.1.1
        Culture Club

        I hear you, but if Reagan could win historically democratic states during the 1984 election, surely the democratic party can steal away a historically republican state after a blunder of this magnitude.

        1. 4.1.1.1
          Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

          Well, from what I’ve read, this isn’t that much worse than their 2010 platform (they do a new one every two years). Texas voters apparently support this.

          1. Culture Club

            Interesting. Perhaps they support the soundbite, but not the actual policy. Have you seen the video where they ask anti-abortion protesters if they would be willing to put a woman in prison or give her the dead penalty since “abortion is murder”? The anti-abortion activists are all surprised about the consequences and hum and haw about it.

            Show them the American Eagle. Tell them it was on the verge of extinction in the continental USA but it was saved be the Endangered Species Act. Then say that the republican party is against the legislation that saved this uniquely American symbol.

            Don’t make the common mistake by democrats of conceding the argument before they even engage on it. Democratic conventional wisdom would have said that the Rev. Wright scandal was irreparable, yet all it took was a single well composed speech from Obama for people to say: we get it, don’t worry about it.

  5. 5
    liberalcynic

    I’m offended by the government’s intrusion into bedrooms and the Republicans’ general contempt for the reproductive rights of women. The assault on critical thinking and the demand for child corporal punishment are scary too.
    But, the libertarian in me likes some of the stuff they’ve proposed like removing the minimum wage law and allowing people to hire and fire whomever they want. I think it is horrible to discriminate based on race or gender or anything except productivity, but it’s far worse to use the guns of government (Remember, all government actions are supported by the threat of violence.) to force people to hire and fire according to political correctness. I’m Indian, and I guess that might make some people not want to hire me, but I can’t imagine forcing them to hire me. That’s worse IMO.

    1. 5.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      Well, I’m not the best person to talk about affirmative action because it’s just not my area of expertise, but as I understand it, affirmative action is meant to counter discrimination that goes on daily, otherwise unchallenged. For instance, many studies have shown that if you send an employer two absolutely IDENTICAL resumes where the only difference is that one of them has a “normal” name and the other has an “African American” name, the latter is MUCH less likely to get called back for an interview–even though the qualifications and experience on the resumes were identical. Are we to allow this to continue? I think not. While the best solution would obviously be education that reduces such ingrained racism, should people be left unemployed or underemployed in the meantime?

      And since party platform also opposes the sort of education that would reduce racism–in fact, it literally opposes voting rights for minorities–I don’t think Texas is on the way there quite yet.

      1. 5.1.1
        liberalcynic

        I agree that résumés with ethnic names get fewer callbacks than those with white names. I won’t be surprised if the same discrimination happens to women as well. I abhor it. But I guess you and I have to agree to disagree on whether we have the right to force business owners to employ people of a certain race or gender.
        As for voting rights, I think each person should get a vote, period. Any opposition to that is against democracy.

        1. 5.1.1.1
          Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

          What would you suggest as a solution?

          1. liberalcynic

            You’re assuming a solution exists. Discrimination happens everywhere. People discriminate against short people, fat people, men, women, old people etc. We cannot legislate good manners and ethical behavior into people. CEOs on average are much taller than average people. We cannot ask companies to have affirmative action for the vertically challenged. We can hope—as Milton Friedman says—that people who discriminate for irrelevant reasons are forced by the market to pay a cost for their prejudices. That cost should force them to cease, and desist from, such practices.
            Also, we as consumers can choose not to buy products sold by racist, ageist, or sexist organizations.
            None of these are perfect solutions.

  6. 6
    Laura

    If I didn’t know any better, after reading this, I might think that the Republican Party’s main goal is to be the biggest group of trolls this country has ever seen. After all, they couldn’t POSSIBLY be serious… They’re just trying to get a reaction out of me to make themselves feel better, right? RIGHT??

    I’m sad and ashamed to have to share a country with these people…

    1. 6.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      This is like, right on the borderline between troll and dead serious, I think. But I’d say it falls on the latter side.

  7. 7
    Lindsay

    Sadly, the “abolish the EPA” thing seems to be pretty widely accepted among Republicans on a national level! See: Newt Gingrich, Richard Burr, Jim DeMint, John Thune (who is one of the names being bandied about for Mitt Romney’s running mate), Orrin Hatch, John McCain (?!), Ron and Rand Paul (yeah, I know, Ron Paul, big surprise), Roy Blunt, Kay Bailey Hutchinson (which you probably already knew, being from Texas), Mike Enzi, Dan Coats, Richard Shelby, John Barrasso, John Boozman, Thad Cochran, David Vitter (who is still in the Senate? who knew), Ron Johnson and Mike Lee. (Except for Gingrich and the Pauls, everyone on this list is a sponsor of a bill to abolish the EPA and replace it with a joint agency in charge of both energy and environmental policy. Yeah, no conflict of interest there …) There’s a whole lot more (like, practically every single Republican) who might not have called for the abolition of the EPA, but who make nebulous claims that the EPA is going too far, is stifling the economy, and has to be cut back or THE ECONOMY WILL DIE OH NOES, and who are introducing and sponsoring bills to block regulations the EPA proposes, or to cut its budget. There is seriously a Republican war against the EPA right now.

    (And I live in Kansas, so I can DEFINITELY co-sign the “no, really, they ARE like this” part of your post.)

    Also, have we ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child? I was under the impression we hadn’t, but I’d be very glad to be proven wrong on that point.

    1. 7.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      No, we have not. Apparently because of exactly these moronic types of people.

      According to the wiki page, though, Obama considers this an embarrassment and wants to review it. Probably not top on his list of priorities though.

  8. 8
    Lindsay

    Oh, and covenant marriage! We had an attempt to get that passed here in Kansas a couple years ago, it passed the House but not the Senate.

    My mom and I were laughing over it, how funny it was that there were people who essentially needed their marriage licenses to say, “WE’RE MORE MARRIED THAN YOU ARE NEENER NEENER”. (My mom has been married to my dad for more than thirty years. Somehow the fact that, at any time, either partner could divorce the other for no reason has not made either of them do it.)

  9. 9
    Andy

    Hey Miriam I am not a republican, but a libertarian and their seemed to be economic confusion in this article. Particularly with the minimumwage I will give an example to explain why it is bad for the poor and young workers. Let’s say a restaurant has 100 dollars per hour to hire low or no skill employees so 20 are hired at 5 dollars an hour. Now the all-knowing government comes in and says you must pay your employees 10 dollars an hour. Well the business still only has 100 dollars so they fire ten employees. Now you have 10 overpaid low skill employees and 10 unemployed workers.- this is why my poor grandparents became republican

    1. 9.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      But it’s also true that business that can easily afford to hire 20 workers at $10/hour will pay them as little as possible if they are permitted to do so, because businesses are motivated primarily by profit and the bottom line.

      Also, the solution here is not to pay low-skill workers poverty wages. It’s to find ways to create more jobs for them and/or to educate more of them so that they can be high-skill workers. Maybe in the future, we won’t need a minimum wage. But right now, we do.

  10. 10
    rilian

    –“We support eliminating bureaucratic prohibitions on corporal discipline and home schooling in foster homes.”–

    Why did they lump those together? Homeschooling in foster homes can easily be a good thing, but hitting kids is not, and what do those have to do with each other??

  1. 11
    Saturday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion « Clarissa's Blog

    [...] This analysis of the Texas Republican Party platform made my hair stand on end. [...]

  2. 12
    A Texas Republican (Who Else?) Thinks Schools Need Mandatory Bible Reading | Brute Reason

    [...] first two certainly make sense given the Texas GOP platform‘s ringing endorsement of corporal punishment. As for the latter, I was under the impression [...]

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