Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Partisan Neighborhood Library

I just returned from the McGovern Stella Link branch of Houston Public Library. On my way out, I noticed an entire display rack... perhaps a dozen books... half of which were by or about Republicans. The other half of the books were not about Democrats. Rick Perry, Dick Armey, Sarah Palin, and Bill O'Reilly were solidly represented.  But there was not one single solitary book by a Democrat in the entire display. None.

This is not the first I've encountered such partisan distribution of books at this neighborhood branch. On the end of every regular shelving unit is a display rack for new books or books to which the librarian wishes to draw attention. You'd be astonished... or maybe not... at how many times these featured books contain volumes from LaHaye and Jenkins's "Left Behind" series. This goes quite beyond informing library users that new material is available: at this frequency, there's no other rational explanation except that right-wing books are being promoted.

It's your tax dollars at work, Houstonians. Feel free to confirm for yourself and then file a complaint.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Do not mistake this as merely a reflection of the distribution of R's and D's in Houston. While Houston has some Republican strongholds in various places and especially in suburbs, the City itself is majority Democratic, as manifested in just about every presidential and midterm election. Be careful what assumptions you make.


  1. We shudder to think what will happen when Texas realizes it has been 'left behind,' Don't you miss those greats of the past: Connely, Johnson, Ivins, and Richards?

  2. mandt, I was no great fan of John Connelly. And Ivins was a journalist, perhaps the best my state ever had. But I'll say this for Connelly, Johnson and Richards: they all lived to govern, not to make stupid speeches and exercise power frivolously.

    Johnson may have been our most skilled politician ever, but I never knew him to play the "gotcha" game when he could actually accomplish something instead. That doesn't mean he was universally well-liked... my great aunts on my mother's side went to college with him, and they despised him... but he was actually interested in governing for the benefit of his people.

    Unfortunately, Johnson as Achilles had his heel, and that was Vietnam, and it was eventually his downfall. But any living Texas Republican would be overjoyed to have the record of accomplishments Johnson had. I'm amazed that Rick Perry can even wipe his arse without smearing it on himself.

    Ann Richards in a roomful of people was truly a presence; I've been in that room and felt that presence. Though some years deceased, she makes her presence felt even today through her daughter, who is in charge of Planned Parenthood, and is herself no slouch as a speaker.

    In short, mandt, YES, I miss the genuine greats. There was at one time a good reason that Texas thought so well of itself. No more. We are lucky to get by year to year with the idiots we have in office now.



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