Power of Attorneys
Concerning your February cover story [“Power Company,” 2011], in which you discuss Texans for Lawsuit Reform, I have three comments: First, Dick Weekley is the primary founder and moving force of TLR. I am proud to have been at Dick’s side at the beginning and throughout TLR’s journey these past sixteen years. Second, it is plain wrong to assert that the tort reforms of 2003 “effectively barred the courtroom door to thousands of injured Texans with legitimate claims.” You make that outlandish claim (a mere recitation of the trial lawyers’ mantra) without offering a word of explanation or an iota of proof. Third, the lawsuit reforms enacted in Texas have restored respect for the law, helped Texas create more new jobs than any other state, and greatly increased access to health care throughout our state.
Dick Trabulsi, President, Texans for Lawsuit Reform
Lands That I Love
I am rarely moved to write, but the excerpt from photographer James H. Evans’s book [“Dirt and Light,” February 2011] struck a chord. That is frameable material! Nice work.
“Ghost Town” [February 2011] was beautifully reported and stunning in its message. I really appreciated Cecilia Ballí’s firsthand account and her focus on the Mexican family affected by such violence. Unfortunately, a lot of national reports about the drug cartels in Mexico tend to lose sight of the citizens, so Ballí’s perspective was special. I really hope y’all keep printing articles like this—after all, Mexico’s history and Texas’s history are bound together.
Bored of Trustees
Paul Burka revealingly described his political philosophy, naming it “the trustee theory” [Behind the Lines, February 2011]. Trustees are appointed to manage people’s businesses for them. Mr. Burka is concerned that too much citizen involvement will bog down our professional “trustees,” who would better care for our affairs if only we’d leave them alone. Specifically, he’s alarmed by the recent, unprecedented citizen involvement in choosing the Speaker of the House, our state’s third-most-powerful constitutional office.
Mr. Burka’s frankness is greatly appreciated. I think he very articulately expresses the modern-day “ruling elite” philosophy, descended from European nobles who served as trustees for their serfs. But thankfully our forefathers fled serfdom and forged a nation of self-governance, consciously rejecting the “ruling elite” tradition. They assembled a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” that went so far as to forbid nobility titles, lest anyone mistake the fundamental rejection of control by a ruling elite. This rejection is our heritage.
What a bunch of unadulterated garbage! The very idea of a trustee versus a delegate model is what caused the tea party to arrive and—in your and Karl Rove’s opinion—“breakaway Republicans” to flourish. The electorate expects, and has every right to expect, that its constitutionally elected representatives do the will of the electorate, not what they themselves or the lobbyists or any other special-interest group thinks is best. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tea party Republican, a conservative Republican, a conservative Democrat, or a liberal Democrat: It is an epidemic in all state and federal governments. I will vote for the first representative, senator, or other elected politician who promotes the elimination of lobbying, PACs, and other special-interest groups. Until then, I am voting all incumbents out and encouraging all voters to do the same until the message is heard loud and clear.
Paul Burka has every right to suggest that state representatives should vote their own consciences and forget the will, or at least the daily input, of their constituents. It’s actually a very important discussion for the country to have. His conclusion, however, deserves rebuttal, and his facts demand correction. Burka stated that the tea parties “were wrong” about the bailout and that “it saved the financial system.” But some experts suggest otherwise, and, more importantly, it cannot be proved, so it is disputable, an opinion. Other “facts” that I would argue against include attributing motives and assertions to the tea party that suggest it is monolithic in either thought or force. What Burka calls the “tyranny of the majority” isn’t anywhere near as bad as the tyranny of the minority experienced in the past two years.
If you choose to believe in the “trustee” system, you must have faith in elected officials and believe that the electorate trusts those they elect to office. To do so, you ignore the polls and common sense that suggest otherwise. Look who we elect: names that are familiar; men and women chosen for us by political operatives, parties, and powers; people who have done what was necessary to curry enough political favor and/or clout to run for office. And don’t forget the rarefied vacuum our representatives live in. If they aren’t listening to us, the only voices ringing in their ears when they vote are those of the special-interest groups, lobbyists, and power brokers. Personally, I want the electorate hovering over every decision my “delegate” makes. As a matter of fact, I’d prefer he or she call me before voting on anything.
The last five words of Paul Burka’s “Who’s the Boss?” are a supposition of liberal snobbery. He is supposing that the “majority” are “tyrants.” Is it tyrannical to want a balanced budget? Is it tyrannical to expect that the people we elect to represent us do just that—represent us? Is it tyrannical to expect our government to live within a budget just as we govern our own personal houses? Burka’s supposition that elected officials may be smarter or know more than the people who put them in office is typical of the mind-set that got us into the financial mess we are in today.