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Comments on Memorial Day

The following is from Rep. Rick Noriega:

Comments on Memorial Day

LTC Rick Noriega

May 27, 2007

Our great country is at war. This Memorial Day weekend, as we move from barbecue to pool, we need to take a moment and reflect on the true origin of this weekend holiday. We need to remember the sacrifice of those who have gone before, those who are serving now, and those who have lost more than most of us could ever imagine. Memorial Day has grown from various solemn remembrances of the sacrifices of our soldiers as far back as 1868 in Waterloo, NY, and was declared a federal holiday in 1971.

One of the things this holiday may represent is that people have died for our right to disagree. In the face of such service and sacrifice, using overheated, incendiary language normally used to typify armed conflict to describe divisions in the Texas House of Representatives is not helpful and possibly irresponsible. “Insurgents,” “rebels,” “storming,” “charged,” “anarchy” are not appropriate terms to describe the occurrences in the Texas House this weekend. It is dramatic to use such over-the-top expressions, but it is not accurate or appropriate.

Genuine differences in opinion, concern about appropriate use of Texas House rules to stifle debate and disagreement, fundamental discussions of the use of this great state’s resources to meet the needs of its citizens–all are in play at the Texas Capitol this holiday. In the face of such drama, it is tempting to go over the top to try and convey the intensity of the discussion and the strong differences in opinion of the members of the Texas House. For the sake of accurate reporting and the gravity of the discussion, it might be more responsible to take the language down a little and leave the war analogies to CNN and Fox News.

Democracy is messy. Democracy at its best is not everyone agreeing, of not knowing the answer to every question. Democracy is hashing out all the sides and listening to all the voices, and bringing forth the common ground for the common good. We would challenge you to not silence the voices of discontent, but instead embrace the fundamental tenet of democracy, that of listening to a different view.

We are at a critical time in our history and in the Texas House of Representatives, and there is fundamental bipartisan disagreement in the Texas House about our future, its leadership and the rule of law.

As our men and women overseas defend our freedom to argue and discuss and compromise and disagree, please honor their service by a responsible use of language. And please understand that our duty and responsibility for the common good, for democracy, suggests that the current bipartisan effort in the Texas House must have its voice heard. God bless Texas.

I see that Burka is still using the language of “insurgents” and whatnot, but he’s got a pretty clear-eyed view of te situation (see here and here for more), so I’ll let it slide this time.

Elsewhere, Vince is liveblogging, BOR is keeping track of the Craddick Ds, and the Texas Democratic Party is calling on people to sign their petition to “encourage Speaker Tom Craddick to respect the will of the people as represented by our elected Representatives and ask that he either resign immediately or allow the Texas House to vote on a motion to vacate the Chair”. Stay tuned.

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One Comment

  1. becky says:

    Mr. Noriega’s words are well spoken and so true of democracy at its best.
    I do disagree though with his idea that our armed forces are currently defending our right to disagree – the war in Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with our rights or freedoms – period.