Greetings, and welcome to my new column.
I’m grateful to The Flash for inviting me to contribute opinion pieces, and I hope you’ll find reading them thought-provoking, even if you disagree with what I have to say.
I’ve taught and practiced politics at the local level here in Erath County for 25 years, so most of my articles will be about local political issues, practices, and events. I especially want to examine some of the assumptions about local politics and government that seem currently to dominate the thinking of the voters, including the beliefs that:
- One can raise revenue to cover the rising costs of local government infrastructure, services, and personnel by cutting rather than raising taxes;
- One can cut spending without cutting services, simply by finding and cutting the vast supplies of padding and fat which allegedly have been hidden by local bureaucrats;
- One can create more jobs and otherwise strengthen the local economy simply by creating a new government agency to throw money at the problem, rather than by economic deregulation and trusting to the energies and efforts of free people in a free market;
- Tarleton can potentially corrupt local politics and therefore its personnel and alumni should not hold local governmental offices;
Although I’ve already examined these issues to a limited extent in my Facebook blog, Crosswise on Politics, I hope to revisit them in greater detail here.
But while local politics may be the main subject of my columns, I also want to explore other issues which have arisen elsewhere yet which should also be of local concern. For example:
- Recently the University of Oklahoma expelled two idiots after they sang an ugly racist song celebrating discrimination and violence against those who for too long have been victimized. Yet according to its critics, OU retains at least two students with records of violence against women. Is there any way to determine which is worse—to sing a song celebrating oppression and violence, or to beat up a woman? (Here I’m assuming that using a woman as a punching bag is a form of oppression and violence.)
- Recently, a co-owner of a family-owned pizzeria in Indiana, responding to a hypothetical question, said she’d serve gays in her store, but not cater a gay wedding. She was accused of being a hatemonger, and forced to close the pizzeria and go into hiding as violence, including arson, was advocated by her critics. So who are the real hatemongers here?
So if you’ve read this far, thanks. I hope you’ll read more as I write. And if you feel inspired to comment, fine. That’ll keep things more interesting for all of us.
Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present). He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014. He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.