Times call for maturity. But, folks, I don’t have it. This is Ron Ramsey’s logo.

I will wait here for you to stop snickering.

I mean, it would be one thing if Ron Ramsey were Trace Adkins, you know, the kind of guy you could actually imagine kicking someone’s ass in a fight. But Ron Ramsey is… cute… and soft and cuddly looking. He keeps showing off his boots like it makes him look badass, but it just makes him look like the Snuggle bear in cowboy boots.

Maybe he could put his boots on Trace Adkins and then the boot would seem like a more plausible threat?

Otherwise, I’m half tempted to just tuck Ron Ramsey into my warm, fresh laundry, his little boots poking out from under the sheets, where he can extol the benefits of using “Texas-style fabric softeners.”

So, Senator Ketron, If Your Constituents Told You to Jump off a Bridge, Would You?

You know, if you read me, that I used to have these elaborate and thoughtful theories about the bigots in our country–that, in part, because we’d never dealt with the underlying family trauma of the Civil War, we were repeatedly acting out these racist dramas, but often displacing their focus onto whichever minority was conveniently available.

But you know what? I was wrong. I honestly don’t think that there’s anything that complex to it. I think complexity is the cold comforting lie we tell ourselves to try to make it seem like it’s just too tangled for us to do much about.

The truth is this–people will tolerate a lot of bullshit being done to them if they are allowed, in return, to shit on someone worse and politicians know they can have a lot of political success if they facilitate letting the majority of their constituents dick over someone weaker.

Ketron wants Arizona-style immigration legislation here. He’s willing to gamble with tourist dollars to help his constituents dick over people weaker than them.

“I have heard that it’s mean-spirited for me to carry a bill like that, that I’m a xenophobe and whatever words they say,” Ketron said. “But I say be an American first, speak English, be legal and you are welcome. … I think that I have a duty to try to uphold the law and respond to my constituents’ concerns. That’s what I’ve done.”

But we all know this is bullshit. Immigrants are rarely welcome, regardless of their status. If, suddenly, all immigrants were legal, we’d see this more clearly.

But I’ve also come to realize that this is just garden-variety sadistic bullying. And people who sit around being all “But if only they did this or didn’t do that or followed these procedures instead of that” are just acting as if there’s something the target of a bully can do to change the bully’s behavior towards them. As if there wouldn’t always be some justification the bully had for trying to grind folks weaker than him down.

I’m not saying we don’t have a racist society. We do. I’m just saying that, at some point, our saying “Oh, that’s racist” or “Oh, that’s xenophobic” stops being an explanation and starts being an excuse. We just throw up our hands in the face of evil like Ketron’s and say “oh, well, that’s racist” as if there’s nothing to be done about him. As if he’s just a monster we all have to work around.

The trouble with that dynamic is that, once it’s established that he’s a monster we have to work around, then it’s very easy to blame the folks he’s targeted, who can’t work around him, for not working around him.

Which is not to say that we shouldn’t call him a racist and xenophobe whose ideas are bad for a state that is deeply reliant on tourist dollars.

I’m just saying, let’s not overlook the fact that he’s a bully who’s attempting to secure his base by facilitating the bullying of others.

He’s not some monster. He’s a coward who “takes a stand” against the defenseless.

We, who are not his targets, have an obligation to the people who are his targets to not forget this. He wants to tell some story about him being a passionate defender of America. We need to not let it go without saying that he’s “defending” America against people who are completely culturally powerless, because he’s a coward.

There’s no heroism in picking on people weaker than you. There’s especially no heroism in repeatedly knocking feet out from under the people you’re battling because you could never win in a fair fight.

Henry’s Working on Something

Oh, god, y’all. I forgot to tell you about my mortifying trip to Bates Nursery. You may recall that this is where we purchased Henry the Magnolia, both because their plants are great (they are expensive, but damn, they go in the ground and perform) and because we wanted a tree old enough to bloom this year.

Well, this weekend, I noticed that some of Henry’s leaves were getting these black, almost burnt looking areas and then dropping off. I was concerned that something had gone really wrong with the tree as an effect of being submerged in floodwater–that it was starting to mold or had a fungus or something.

So, I ziplock-baggied a leaf and drove it over there.

Turns out that magnolias tend to lose the leaves they’re going to lose in the spring as new leaves start to bud and push the old leaves out of the way.

That was embarrassing. Though they were very gracious about it. I mean, I suspected that might be the case, but when you waste all that money on a tree, you don’t want to kill it the first year you have it.

Anyway, we were out looking at Henry last night, the dog and I, and not only has it sent out some new, green branches, it’s for sure working on some flowers. The brown, fuzzy paper that covers the buds is coming loose and even that brown smells like magnolia.

I cannot wait.