Saturday, January 13, 2007

In Craddick We Trust

Another tempest in a teapot in the Texas State Legislature? What’s new about that? Yesterday, reactions to approval of an amendment to HR 2, the Housekeeping Resolution, were swift and vehement. The amendment by Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) was similar to HR 16, a resolution he introduced last November 21st for consideration on the Housekeeping Resolution. Raymond proposed that the U. S. national motto “In God We Trust” be placed prominently within plain view “on the face of the white portion of the portico located over the speaker's podium and beneath the electronic message screen at the front of the hall of the house.”

Here it is as originally introduced. I recall some commentary late last year about this.

But the amendment, introduced and approved by a vote of 143-2, is slightly different in its construct:
If you looked back at the text of HR 16, you’ll see that mention of gold lettering and porticoes are gone in the amendment just passed. HR 16 even mentioned “the electronic message screen at the front of the hall of the house”, but only in terms of placing an “In God We Trust” sign under the message screen.

Why, I ask, is it necessary to display the motto in the House, and why the change in wording from the original resolution?

Raymond explained that it was “To remind us to whom we answer.” That’s fair. However some might object that it was a move to nationalize a religion and that it was just another display of Christian Chauvinism. The two reps who voted against the amendment were Donna Howard (D-Austin) and Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth). Found here is Rep Howard’s explanation for her vote.
“Howard said afterward that Travis County voters didn’t elect her to attend to what gets posted on the House message board. ‘People elected me to deal with serious business of the state—our public schools, higher education, affordable and accessible health care,” among topics. The words on the wall above the speaker’s podium are not what they sent me here to deal with.’”
That was a little lame, and I began to wonder what her real reason was. And Burnam’s. I noticed that Howard's name does NOT grace either the “Craddick 15” list on BOR or the “Texas Hero” list in a separate BOR post.

Then someone turned on the lights. Here is the operative clause in the Raymond amendment:
"The motto shall be displayed at all times that the electronic message is not being used to conduct legislative business during a session of the house . . .”
What was the message that was displayed before this amendment was passed?
"Welcome to the Texas House of Representatives. Speaker Tom Craddick."
Is that slick or what? That’s how you get bipartisan support for this amendment. It’s got something that everyone (well, almost everyone) can get behind for one reason or another. Did Raymond vote No for Craddick? Yes, TWICE.

Two voted no on the Raymond amendment, and Craddick abstained. Can we expect that both Howard and Burnam will be assigned to some important high visibility committees? Chairmanships?

And I wonder why Howard didn't vote in the House Speaker’s race?

Well, not really . . .

2 comments:

John Coby said...

Nice! You beat me to this one.

In God we Trust since we cant trust our elected officials to lower our insurance rates, education, energy, etc, etc, etc.

Susan said...

Amen, John!

The little Godlings (those who pretend to follow God but really don't) cannot be trusted to trust in anything but their own power.