Roar of the Crowd
Readers respond to the February 2014 issue.
Our February issue included an account from Congressman Joaquin Castro on his freshman year in office. The mention of a certain expletive—uttered on the House floor by Speaker John Boehner in the days after Representative Steve King’s contentious comments on undocumented immigrants—quickly reverberated back to D.C. We wouldn’t quite call it the “ ‘asshole’ heard ’round the world,” but it did set the Beltway aflutter and eventually drew a response from King, who told Roll Call: “That’s decorum on the floor of the House that shouldn’t have happened. I expect the press and the public will hold folks accountable who use that indelicate language.”
And now a sampling of feedback from our readers.
I was embarrassed to open my mailbox and see the face of Ted Cruz staring out from the cover of your February issue [“The Man in the Arena”]. Mr. Cruz is an embarrassment to the great state of Texas. He has made our country a laughingstock and has promised to do so again. It is shameful that your once proud magazine lends credence to such a character.
Richard Hodges, Winnsboro
When I first laid eyes on Calgary Ted’s smirking face on the cover of this month’s TM, I wondered if you had decided to print a second Bum Steer issue and award Mr. Cruz the honor.
Mark McCarthy, Via Email
If we need a Canadian to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, let’s get Bieber.
John W. Bramblett, via email
Cruz is the perfect senator for Texas, where ignorance has triumphed over knowledge, reason has been replaced with ideology, and compassion is derided as weakness.
Norman W. Baxter, Scurry
Every once in a while your cover makes a Texan in New York City want to tuck your magazine out of sight. When the February issue arrived, I knew I could not be seen on the subway with Ted Cruz. Thank you for counterbalancing Cruz with better exemplars of Texas culture: freshman congressman Joaquin Castro [“Mr. Castro Goes to Washington”], songwriter Robert Ellis [“The Perfectionist”], and marriage-equality plaintiffs Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes [“The Accidental Activists”]. I rode the B train this morning with texas monthly proudly open to your interview with Cecile Richards [“Daughter of the Republic”].
Timothy Palmer, New York, New York
Thank you for publishing Congressman Castro’s story about his first year in the House of Representatives [“Mr. Castro Goes to Washington”]. It was a profound dissertation of what really goes on in our federal and state governments, and it made me ill at heart at the continuously improper and, for lack of a better word, incestuous activity that is our government.
Meldrum J. Harvey, Mineola
Matters of Faith
Going to the Bible is pretty much like going to Walmart: you look until you find what you’re seeking; you don’t buy the whole store [“Sinners in the Hands”]. Look hard enough and you can find Scriptures that support your point of view on just about anything. If they don’t quite fit, you can apply the procrustean method of shortening or stretching them until they do. Then, if you can attract some troubled souls and convince them that you are privy to the One True Way to please God and achieve salvation, you’re well on your way to starting a cult. This is pretty much the way it has always worked. The founders of the Church of Wells didn’t think of anything new.
Steven Botts, via email
As one who has studied the sociological and spiritual aspects of cults for over a decade, there is nothing surprising here from a historical perspective. If readers were to compare the great revivals of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America with the practices of the Church of Wells, they would find a striking similarity in many areas. What was commonplace among Christians in the 1800’s, however, is no longer commonplace in the twenty-first century, where a gospel of love and tolerance is preached at a much greater frequency and fervor than that of fire and brimstone. It is precisely for this reason that the Church of Wells stands out, being in such stark contrast to other churches that define Christianity in contemporary America.
Christopher, via texasmonthly.com
Stephen Harrigan’s “Dreaming in the Dark” elicited clear memories of my long-ago experiences at “the show” on Saturday afternoons. My mother gave me 50 cents—25 for my ticket and a very generous 25 for treats. At the time, my favorites were the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller. I was madly in love with his boy (Johnny Sheffield) and wrote him expressing my affection. Amazingly, he responded and sent me a picture of himself, which he had personally signed. I was ecstatic. That picture went up in my bedroom, and my last words before sleep were to tell him goodnight.
Mary Lee Archer, Flower Mound
The ongoing yet ultimately bound-to-lose fight to deny folks like Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes the ability to formalize their relationships, and thus enjoy the emotional and legal fruits of those unions, is a colossal waste of time [“The Accidental Activists”]. And that’s putting it real nice. At worst, it is spiritual and economic warfare—with state constitutions and highly selective Bible readings as the weapons—waged not only against our gay neighbors, co-workers, family members, and that nice girl who waits tables at the local Mexican restaurant but against all who know and love them: mamas and daddies, little sisters and big brothers, beloved dogs, and so on. And, of course, ultimately against ourselves, since there can never be a winner in an unjust war.
Gregory Durham, via email
Would you all please start publishing more on authentically pro-women and pro-life female public figures already? Women like Wendy Davis and Cecile Richards simply do not speak for me, and they do not interest me as a reader. The interview with the latter neatly underscores the old fact that unless women’s health policy and women’s rights are recognized as grounded in a truly integral right to life, our health policy and our rights will always be just another set of pawns in the game of politics and industry [“Daughter of the Republic”]. And that is the real catastrophe facing Texas women.
Mary C. Moorman, Dallas
From Nate Blakeslee’s article “Below the Surface”: “Local conservation districts, democratic institutions that allow regional interests to control their own fate, should be permitted to continue their work. But they must be empowered by the Legislature to do their jobs properly, which will never happen as long as private property rights are allowed to trump all other considerations.”
This is simplistic thinking. However, I would agree with Blakeslee if his sentence were edited to read the property rights “of some” and if the “some” were then defined in more detail. Currently, the property rights of the urban-majority voter (and their rights to maintain carpet-grass landscapes) trump all considerations of rural land stewards and everyone else concerned about the conservation of all natural resources. They also control the elections of the Legislature, of city governments, of those with appointment authority to water decision-making positions, and of boards of virtually all groundwater districts.
David K. Langford, Comfort
You missed a second problem with the rule of capture in Texas that is particularly significant for border areas like El Paso. Because there is no overall control of groundwater, there are no agreements in place with Mexico to allocate this delicate resource. Our sister city, Juárez, has had the largest “straw” and is pumping the common aquifer at an unsustainable rate. The fix for this predicament has to start with the replacement of the rule of capture. Treaties with Mexico that would enable sustainability cannot be made until some oversight entity takes responsibility.
Bob Vines, El Paso
Texas Monthly would do well to quit promoting an agenda of stripping property owners of their rights without compensation under the pretext of “public good.” After all, the property owners are members of the public, and what texas monthly proposes certainly isn’t good for them. Which begs the question, What “public” is served by texas monthly’s agenda?
ICDELIGHT, via texasmonthly.com