Hanging out with other candidates and volunteers in front of the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center during early voting has been mostly pleasant. These people are there to hand out push cards for their candidates. We don't agree on everything, but most of the crowd seems to enjoy hearing others' opinions and sharing their own. It may surprise some observers that Greens, Democrats, and Republicans can find common ground on a number of issues. Either that, or everyone's being hyper-diplomatic.
One Republican volunteer told me that he voted for me, and based on what we talked about Sunday, I have no reason to disbelieve him. We both agreed that there are problems within our county, state, and nation, problems that government can be used as a tool to solve. There is this tendency for Republican candidates and office holders to take Ronald Reagan's "Government is the problem" pronouncement and extrapolate it ad absurdum. It's refreshing to be reminded that some Republicans, even in Texas, are actually interested in making government serve the electorate.
State Rep. Sarah Davis is in no way to be confused with State Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. But the Republican representing District 134 (which includes northern and western Montrose) is a genuine supporter of equal rights for LGBT citizens. It springs from her belief in "personal freedom." This and other issues put her more in line with Wendy Davis and Leticia van der Putte than with Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick. She will also tell you how her bout with cancer made her an opponent of "government-run health care." I have mentioned in other corners of the web that I never got an overpowering intellectual vibe from Sarah Davis, but I am impressed with how real she is. She was out there with her mother in the 85-degree heat Sunday afternoon, wearing her elephant-print dress, flip-flops, and shades.
By the way, in no way am I suggesting that we can or should judge candidates, especially women candidates, by what they wear. However, wardrobe decisions reflect just how seriously candidates want to be taken. Green candidates frequently have to raise their sartorial standards to be taken seriously at all, because left to our own devices we would appear in t-shirts and cut-offs.
Chris Carmona is a Republican running for State Rep. in District 148. That district includes most of the Heights, the Near Northside, Oak Forest, and part of Garden Oaks. Its current representative is the formidable Jessica Farrar. In his polo shirt and jeans, Mr. Carmona looked less like a candidate than I did in my button-front shirt, cravat, and slacks—and far less Republican even than I. He came to his brand of Republicanism from reading classical economics texts in college; before then, he considered himself a Democrat.
Probably the most fortuitous encounter with a Republican was chatting with Judge Jay Karahan. He sings in the choir at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, and he officially serenaded the Moonlight Bicycle Ramble with his rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" Saturday night. I told him that his voice impressed me, but shortly after his "Banner" the sound system played the 13th Floor Elevators "Slip Inside This House," and I would have stood in awe if he'd belted out that old psychedelic chestnut.
I have no idea whether the words on Judge Karahan's website about "the integrity of the process" mean anything in his courtroom. I genuinely hope so. The fact that Texas has partisan elections for judgeships appalls people from other states, but a lot of Texas judges wear partisan labels for convenience—i.e., to stand a chance of getting elected. Democrats have been known to run as Republicans in Harris County when the ratio with about 55-45 Republican. Judge Karahan purports to be an open-minded Republican, who has voted (and will vote) for Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, and Independents.
By the way, in no way am I suggesting that I am attracted to conservative ideology, or that there's any danger of my turning into the Republican that some people assume I am as a clean-cut, middle-aged, middle-class white man. However, this whole experience makes me wonder how people of such decency could ever align themselves with the hate-mongers at the top of the Republican ticket. I'm told that Greg Abbott is easy enough to talk to one-on-one. So why do his campaign speeches and policy positions dehumanize millions of Texans?
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.