Monday, May 28, 2007

Is Memorial Day A Republican Holiday?

You would think so, judging by the things that went on today at the Sugar Land, Texas, City Hall steps and Town Square Plaza (where the 1st in Sugar Land city hall history anti-war protest was held last April).

But I thought that Memorial Day was for all Americans. Democrats are patriots that support our troops and veterans. So what is with the partisan bent that this annual observance has?

First, it probably doesn’t help that every single locally elected official present at the Memorial Day observance was a Republican. The organizer, Fort Bend Precinct 4 Constable Troy Nehls, is a Republican. Yes, the senior law enforcement offices in Texas are partisan offices. One of the main speakers, he actually spoke on two occasions during the observance, was Gary Gillen, who is the Chairman of the Fort Bend County Republican Party. A county commissioner who spoke, also a Republican, was Andy “Encourage Terrorists Vote Democrat” Meyers. Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Parmer, also a Republican, spoke, although speaking is a term I use loosely. He read the official Sugar Land declaration of the Memorial Day observance written by Mayor David Wallace.

David Wallace is also a Republican, but was not in attendance.

Dennis also introduced two city councilmen who were not sitting with the others at the top of the steps. One whose name that I do not recall and another, a newly familiar name, was At Large Position 1 City Councilman Tom Abraham. It will be remembered that Abraham was approached to run as a Democrat in Nick Lampson’s place in 2008. Both Parmer and Abraham are Republicans.

But in seemingly contradictive fashion, and bucking the overall Republican trend, the keynote speaker, the keynote speaker mind you, was the above-mentioned Congressman Nicholas Valentino Lampson. Nick is the recently elected Democratic congressman. Well, he votes with the Democrats more often than not, anyway. He was introduced by some guy who was the emcee. He sounded like a DJ. He introduced Nick as being the Congressman from the "Fighting 22nd". Ha ha.

I found it ironic that the last time he stood on those steps he was surrounded by a gaggle of neoconservative DeLay-ites, one of whom knocked down a 69 year old Lampson supporter. So he was definitely in a hostile environment. But the audience politely, if not reservedly received him with a polite, but scattered applause.

At least they left their air horns home.

Nick spoke with a focus on the middle. Nick is savvy. He knows his audience. He spoke about the war without condemning our participation in the war. That would have flown as high as a 2 ton elephant in this crowd. He spoke of it only in terms of the fallen – which is entirely appropriate on Memorial Day. Ever with the numbers, Nick cited the 186,000 Texans who have served multiple tours in Iraq. He cited the 326 KIAs and the 2500 wounded who were from Texas, thanking them for their ultimate sacrifice.

The mid speech pause met with a polite applause, with, I think, more volume.

But here’s where Nick made huge points with these people.
“We must invest in the healthcare of our veterans. We have a moral obligation to take care of those who serve”.
He announced new legislation that will bring $1.6 billion to directly benefit veterans and their families.

That got people excited and the audience erupted in wild applause. Even the guy who kept yelling “YEAH” to Republicans’ speeches gave Nick one of his “YEAH”s.

Nick’s not running for US Senate, did you hear? More on that one later.

But I want to close on another Republican whom I noted sitting at the top of the steps with the others. None other than Shelley Sekula Gibbs (she left her hyphen at the office) showed up – pinkless. It was really kind of odd. Yes, I guess she is a declared candidate for CD-22 as she still sends out campaign flyers that castigate Nick, but lets just say that it was a little, and I apologize in advance for the near-pun, incongruous.

All of those sitting on the steps were introduced to the audience at the beginning of the observance. All were introduced as Firstname Lastname, Officeheld. All but Shelley. She was simply introduced as Shelley Sekula Gibbs. Not even former congresswoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs. And what did she do? She sat when appropriate, stood when everyone else did, put her hand on her heart appropriately and inappropriately, and . . . that’s about it. What was the point, I asked myself. How did she get on the steps? Ahh. Click here and scroll down to Silver Star Sponsors.

Spending some campaign funds, are we Shelley?

I have pics of the event below. I know, I have to go out and get a real digital camera. Mine is 10 years old this year. It’s older than my cell phone which is now something that people laugh at when they see it.


pickleysMom said...

The Mayor Pro-Tem of the City of Sugar Land is Dennis PArmer. The previous Mayor Pro-Tem was Cyril Hosley who is no longer mayor pro tem or a city council member b/c she did serve the maximum four two year terms allowed by law.

A year ago Constable Nehls was criticized because he respected the office of Congress Member and allowed the current Congress Member to be the key speaker.

This year he stayed consistent in his wanting the current Congress Member to be the speaker.

I definitely want him to be applauded for his choosing to respect the office of Congress Member and choosing to ask Congress Member Lampson to be the speaker. That showed common sense and serious nonpartisan patriotism.

Last year Constable chose to ask State Rep. Dora Olivo to lead the pledge of allegiance to the American Flag but this year she was in the Texas House on Memorial Day. I genuinely was looking forward to reading your being impressed that Constable Nehls is choosing to ask leaders based on their being leaders and not their partisanship to be the speaker and to be thankful to him for doing all he does to organize this service that'not occur otherwise.

I had hoped and still hope that you found the event that included prayers for ultra orthodox Jewish, Methodist and Moslem faith leaders to be moving and NON political.

I also found KTRH radio talk show host Sam Malone's presentation for the whole service and his comments in greeting Congressman Lampson to be positive, not partisan or political.

I appreciate your service and was glad you were there today. Please call Troy or I to input to us nxt spring what it is you would prefer us do to make it better for ALL Fort Bend County w/out favor or fanfare for partisanship but rather for patriotism.

And finally since this event was put on w/ NO public tax dollars but definitely enjoyed by the public I am extremely interested in how you prefer it funded next year because I know Al Green, Nick Lampson and Rodney Ellis were personally asked if they wanted to back the Memorial Day Servie.

Hal said...

Thanks for the comment. Confusion with names fixed.

And that's fine about respecting the office of congress, but there were a lot of people on all sides who had a problem inviting a man who had quit that job, cut and run to Virginia, and was under indictment for money laundering.

Anonymous said...

I find it somewhat comical to refer to the anit-war gathering gathering referred to in this blog as a protest. By the "half empty" report of the event there were only 10 people there. I'm not sure if that included the newspaper reporter and the blogger.

Hal said...

No, the count did not include the reporter or the blogger. What is your definition of a protest, then? What is the magical number that puts it past "gathering"?

I find it comical that there are still 28% of Americans out there who think the Iraq War is a fine cause. Truly delusional.

Anonymous said...

If you can all fit comfortably in Ben & Jerry's, then it's a gathering. If you can't, you can qualify for protest status.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to know, because my wife and I plus four other couples were at dinner last weekend and we were all complaining about the war. I guess qualified (or almost qualified) for protest status. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Democrats do have the chance and opportunity to be more visible at such events. As SSG has done, we can donate and become more visible. Mr. Lampson, Mr. Green, Mr. Ellis and other elected Democrats could help fund such events. I suspect they have plenty of campaign funds available. The Fort Bend County Democratic Party could step up. There's no need to let Republicans have total control.

Hal said...

No, Anon, you were at a gathering. To have a protest you need a huge gong and a Vietnam Vet to keep whanging on it.

Anonymous said...

In addition to SSG, were the other two politicians that contributed to fund this event present and recognized?

Hal said...

Neither Wong nor Hebert were there.

Hal said...

I should make a note here that a consultant representing Troy Nehls sent in a comment that I could not post because it included Constable Nehls' cell phone number.

In fairness, we Democrats are known to be fair, Constable Nehls wanted to make sure that I had input into next year's Memorial Day observance so that it could be fair and balanced.

That is not necessary. The main point of my posting was to point out that there is a huge Republican representation in local politics. Something that I and my fellow Democrats hope to correct. I did not want to entertain the reason why the Democratic Party Chair was not included in the observance because the Chair has her own calendar. Hopefully she was not included because of a scheduling conflict. Also, I am hopeful that there was a conflict of schedules with Precinct 2 commissioner Grady Prestige and Precinct 2 Constable Ruben Davis.

They probably had other things to do that day.

Anonymous said...

Nehls started the Memorial Day Observance. He got funds from elected Republicans. Maybe he should have kept it a party event!!

md said...

hey troy nehls!! this is degregorio, iraq was a bugger!!. remember fayettvile N.C.? fun, fun fun!!!

mdegregorio said...

whats up my buddy troy DOGMAN nehls!!!