From the Clocktower – Big government, small potatoes

By Kathi Bliss


For most of my life, I was taught that the ACTUAL purpose of the government, be it at the Federal, State or local level, is to provide infrastructure, security and to provide rule of law to protect citizens from interior and exterior threats.

That sounds pretty simple. It’s also a concept that takes many forms: infrastructure can range from the power grid to the road system to economic development to keep tax revenues flowing. Security is pretty self explanatory – military and law enforcement.

It’s the rule of law where things get tricky – and also, where I tend to get the most frustrated with our lawmakers. Our lawmakers sure do like to make laws. But they’re getting to the point, though, where they’re just being ridiculous.

Take, for instance, the zeal at the Texas Capital over this so-called “bathroom bill.” It’s absurd, and a waste of time that our legislators should be spending on more important things.

The realistic fact of the matter is that in most cases, one could be standing right next to a transgendered person, and never be aware. In most cases I would imagine, and certainly among the handful of trans people that I actually know personally, “passing” is an important part of their identity; you’re extremely unlikely to run into a burly, 284-pound lumberjack in an Easter bonnet, trying to use the ladies’ room and identifying as a “trans-woman.” If you do find yourself in such a situation, I’d suggest that we’re about an individual with a laundry list of mental and emotional issues. The best thing to do, at that moment, would be to run.

But I digress. The point is, do we not have other things to worry about, than what’s under someone’s shorts? I don’t know why our lawmakers think there needs to be a rule dictating where people go potty. Generally speaking, society seems to take care of that, all by itself.

Lest you should think this is about that issue alone, there are several other things on Federal and State agendas that are just annoying the bejeebers out of me these days.

Governor Abbott’s tree legislation is another sticking point for me.

While I understand his personal zeal about trees, I think it’s a bit silly for him to have brought the Legislature back to discuss whether or not cities can pass ordinances regarding protected trees. Personally, I think it’s a great idea for local municipalities to do that.

Does anyone else remember the uproar when SH-130 construction cost us the Hangman’s Tree, the 500-year old live oak that this community was so connected to? I feel like the right to maintain such ordinances should absolutely be kept at the local level, where people know the histories and significances of the trees.

On top of which, all the time we’re spending talking about things like potty privileges and tree branches, we are not talking about important things like, for instance, how to fund our schools. Or how to take care of the kids languishing in Child Protective Services’ care without any beds, and CPS caseworkers without support, or, in many cases, oversight.

Whether we like it or not, we have a war going on, just on the other side of the border, that has been known to see bloodshed spilling into Texas streets. Why are we not talking about that?

Don’t even get me started on the state road system. No one wants to have that conversation.

My point, though, is that our legislators are getting WAY too mired down in the weeds. They have forgotten that their entire purpose, to quote a superintendent friend of mine, is to take the 30,000-foot view of things, and let the details handle themselves… because in general, the small stuff, communities can work out on their own.

I’ve no question that, if push came to shove, that Lockhart ISD would make a decision about a transgender student that was in the best interest of all the students involved. I have no doubt that when the City tells us a tree should be protected, they have a good reason for it.

I also have no doubt that we would be in a much better position as a State, as a Nation, and probably as a society on the whole, if our government would do what governments do and stop getting tangled up in things that don’t concern them.


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