Point: “Fill the Boot” Should Be Given the Boot

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

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     Next month, we will have to dodge more than just spring breakers on local roads.  Once again the Corpus Christi Fire Department will be at major intersections with their “Fill the Boot” campaign on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  So be careful as you drive.

     But that friendly advice begs the question:  Should the “Fill the Boot” campaign be allowed on the streets at all?  This may rub some people the wrong way, but I emphatically say, “NO!”

     Although MDA has had a controversy or two, let’s assume it is a worthy cause.  Certainly we should want to help those with muscular dystrophy and do what we can to combat this disease. But, do the ends justify the means?  Let’s look at the means used by the local fire department during their “Fill the Boot” campaign.

      In already busy intersections, firefighters roam right on the edge of traffic and even in the midst of cars carrying about their boots to fill.  Anyone who has driven much in Corpus Christi knows that these intersections are often not easy to navigate.  Yet, I’ve more than once experienced firemen making it even more difficult.  Not only are the well-meaning firemen hazards to avoid, but they increase the visual busyness of intersections.  Certain intersections – especially along South Padre Island Drive –  are busy enough already!  The presence of firemen all about increases the number of things a driver must be aware of and avoid.  Intersections become much more complicated to navigate.  The firemen, therefore, increase the likelihood an overwhelmed driver will miss something, make an error, and have an accident.  That’s not to mention the hazard to the firemen as well.

     One year, I was waiting for a light at Waldron and SPID.  I was aware of the “Fill the Boot” campaign around the intersection and was that much more careful and alert.  When the light turned green, I began to put on the gas when a fireman darted right in front of me.  I jammed on the brakes.  Fortunately, no one was run over, and there were no collisions.  But, what if I had been slightly less alert?  What if my reflexes were slightly slower?  What if the person behind me was on mental autopilot and rear-ended me? 

     Again, MDA may be a very worthy cause, but would we tolerate traffic hazards increased for any number of other worthy causes?  Would we tolerate private organizations roaming in and around intersections for their favorite causes?  I would not; the city should not.  No city agency should so endanger the driver or the firemen.  Other cities and counties around the state and across the nation, including Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Palm Beach, Florida, and Charleston, S.C, are taking the “Fill the Boot” campaign off the streets due to safety concerns.  Corpus Christi and Nueces County should, too.

Related article:  Counterpoint: “Fill the Boot” Connects Firefighters to Community

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The Revenge of the Unrepresented

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

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      If you are reading this new and erudite newspaper, you make a point to be informed.  So you may have noticed that these are odd times in politics.  What, Trump the Republican front runner for President while Jeb! languishes in the single digits?

      But I can make matters simpler to understand, if still odd.  We are experiencing the Revenge of the Unrepresented.  Our English friends some 240 years ago found out the hard way that taxing people without representing them may not evoke a happy response.  Today’s Washington establishment politicians are finding out the same thing, yes, the hard way.

      Rewind to 2010.  Obama was determined to cram Obamacare down our throats in spite of half or more of Americans clearly not wanting it.  In January, Massachusetts elected a Republican for the U. S. Senate largely because of opposition to Obamacare.  Yes, Massachusetts.  That’s not an auto typo.

      Yet Obama and Congressional Democrats ignored that warning shot and marched forward in passing Obamacare.  The result was a historic political bloodbath in the November 2010 elections, handing the U. S. House and any number of state houses to the Republicans with a clear and simple mandate – Stop Obama.

      But that teary-eyed orange-skinned drunk Republican Speaker Boehner and other RINOs did little to stop Obama and instead enabled him.  And that included funding, of all things, Obamacare.  Thus the Republican establishment joined Democrats in virtually ignoring the 2010 elections.

      Fast forward to 2014.  Again Americans gave Obama’s Democrats a good pasting at the polls, handing now the U. S. Senate over to the Republicans.  Again, Republicans had a clear mandate to Stop Obama, particularly on the presenting issue of defending our borders and restraining illegal immigration.

      But, again, Republican leaders did little to stop Obama and again enabled him, including on immigration.  In fact, Congress, with the support of the establishment Republican leaders, just voted to fund Obama’s illegal immigration programs.  (And when I say illegal, I mean both the programs and the immigration are illegal.  I would say “illegal illegal”, but that would make me appear to be ranting, not to mention ungrammatical, God forbid.)

      So, yet again, about half the country finds themselves utterly unrepresented by either party.  This is not only bad policy; it is stupid politics particularly on the part of Republicans.  It is asking, nay, begging for trouble.

      And then here comes trouble with funny hair.  And in his very announcement speech for President, he came down hard on illegal immigration to the point of being crude and unrealistic to put it nicely…

      And millions loved it.  Immediately, Trump had high poll numbers, and they have gotten higher.  Finally, millions found that someone powerful seemed to represent them on illegal immigration and other issues.  (Note I wrote, “seemed.” I will leave aside the question of whether Trump should be trusted.)

      Now, are there more sensible ways to fight the establishment of both parties who are so intent on not representing Americans?  I certainly think so.  That’s why I support Ted Cruz, by the way.  But is there a more clear way than Trump to give the establishment of both parties an affectionate one finger wave? 

      And, yes, Americans are that angry at the political establishment.   Not just Trump’s numbers reveal that.  Here is what I see looking at the Real Clear Politics poll averages as I write this in early January.  Anti-establishment candidates (Trump, Cruz, Carson, Paul, Huckabee, and Santorum) have a combined 68% support among Republicans.  Jeb!? Just over 4%. 

     In desperation, the establishment wing of the GOP is turning to Rubio, but he polls only 11.5% compared to Trump at 35% and Cruz at 19.5%.Can it be any clearer that a lot of people out there are angry at being unrepresented by the establishments of both parties?

     So I’ve got a 2016 prediction you can add to the zillions you’ve heard already ‘cept mine is better.  2016 will be the Revenge of the Unrepresented.   One result will be the nomination of Donald Trump this summer or the defeat of Hillary Clinton this November. 

     And do not be too shocked if it will be both.

 

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