Meet Mimi Swartz, Yet Another 'Self-Hating Texan' Living In Texas
In his disappointing 2018 book God Save Texas, Lawrence Wright wrote “[W]hen I tell people outside the state that I live in Texas, they often look at me uncomprehendingly.” Which was one reason why the normally excellent Wright’s book disappointed. So much of it was an apology for being a Texan.
Furthermore, the line didn’t ring true, which it turned out was a theme throughout Wright’s frustrated critique of the Lone Star State. His own book in many ways contradicted his lament that people look at him “uncomprehendingly” about his choice of residence. Per the author, Texas’s population is “projected to double by 2050, to 54.4 million.” It seems Americans broadly think highly of Texas judging by the migratory patterns of Americans. To which some will reply that Wright is in truth an Austin, Texan. They’re different there, more expansive in their thoughts, more “liberal” in the American sense.
One of the hyper-political Wright’s problems with Texas is the state’s “superpatriotism combined with defiance of all government authority.” Supposedly the latter has done “terrible damage to the state and the nation.” Yet in a book that sometimes gave the impression that Wright was arguing with himself, the author added that Texas is evolving in his ideal image, that “[R]iding on top of the old stereotypes are new ones – hipsters, computer gurus, musicians, video-game tycoons, and a widening artistic class that has reshaped the state’s image and the way we think of ourselves.” In short, what’s allegedly doing damage to the U.S. is increasingly populated by people whom Wright would feel very comfortable around. Apparently lefties outside of Texas find the idea of living there rather agreeable.
Call Wright a “self-hating Texan.” Eager to bash it with great constancy, his writing suggests he lives in Texas so that he can routinely speak ill of it with some level of immunity.
Texas Monthly executive editor Mimi Swartz gives off a similar vibe. A contributing writer to the opinion page of the New York Times, which remains the world’s greatest newspaper despite reporting that increasingly borders on advocacy, Swartz occasionally files a column that she seemingly uses as atonement for sins related to her chosen state of residence.
Much like Wright, her aggravation with Texas is political. She’s unhappy that the Republican Party has “a stranglehold on state government” there. Funny about the stranglehold that she decries is that it remains quite a lure for Californians; California a state where Democrats have a stranglehold on government, and for being that way, a state that likely appeals more to Swartz’s political sensibilities. According to Wright, a regular contributor to Swartz’s Texas Monthly, eight Californians move to Austin per day.
It seems those Republicans are doing something right, just not according to Swartz. She cites a “WalletHub report” that rated Texas near the bottom in terms of “pandemic responsiveness.” Worse, Swartz’s optimism that the Republicans running the state have the ability to fix a “public health disaster” related to the new coronavirus is “lower than the water levels in West Texas creek beds in August.” Witty, but perhaps poorly edited.
Seemingly edited out of Swartz’s Times’ piece, no doubt to Swartz’s chagrin, were the details of the “public health disaster” allegedly unfolding in Texas. All readers learn from Swartz is of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s presumed inability to “accept that there was such a thing as the coronavirus.” To read Swartz, Abbott’s coronavirus denial resulted in a surge of deaths to reflect inaction in Republican-led Texas, versus muscular action in Democrat-led California that resulted in something entirely different, and much better for Californians. Oh well, let’s take a look.
Though California’s Democratic Governor Newson was rather eager to “accept that there was such a thing as the coronavirus” such that California’s stay-home order came on March 19th, deaths-per-million in the Golden State three weeks later were 16. What about Texas? You know, the state led by Republicans who, according to Swartz show “far less concern for full grown, desperately ill adults.” According to American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Edward Pinto, deaths-per-million in Texas despite stay-home orders that came two weeks after California’s were as of last week, 10.
None of this is to minimize the loss of life related to the virus, but it is to say that Texans, probably like Californians, don’t need a law. We’ve evolved as a species that strives to elongate its existence, so for Swartz to pretend that Texans or non-Texans require government force to avoid illness or the slim possibility of death is just odd.
Funny is that Swartz claims that she’s “not singling out one political party over another,” which is certain evidence that she’s doing exactly that. Really, does anyone think Swartz would have written the same opinion piece if Lupe Valdez, the woman Abbott beat in 2018, were governor? The question answers itself, though not completely. If the death rate were as low under Valdez as it is under Abbott, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Swartz would describe it as a Texas miracle born of a state that Swartz notes is “slowly turning purple.”
Furthermore, if Swartz were really not “singling out one political party over another,” she might have alerted readers to the truth that New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan and Connecticut are the U.S. states hit hardest by the pandemic. The problem is that six of those seven states are led by Democrats, hence they weren’t convenient for Swartz to mention.
Without presuming to know why Democrat-led states have bigger problems with the virus than states led by mouthbreathers, but not so partisan as Swartz is to break it down to Party, it should just be repeated yet again that people don’t need a law to studiously avoid the very low odds of becoming sick, or the much tinier odds of dying. People get it, but don’t get in the way of a partisan doing cartwheels to prove she isn’t being partisan.
Really the only wise truth revealed in an opinion piece by Swartz meant to confirm her Democrat, self-hating Texan credentials to the wise outside of Texas, was Swartz’s revelation that San Antonio-based grocery chain HEB “has had a pandemic and influenza plan since 2005.” Yes, and isn’t that the point?
HEB is a for-profit business that wants to be ready to meet the needs of customers when they’re greatest. Thriving businesses and booming economies are generally best situated when it comes to fighting illness, thus raising a question: wouldn’t a better approach to pandemic be a booming economy, so that the HEBs are multiplied? Maybe it’s unwise for politicians, Republican or Democrat, to shut down economies when thriving ones are most needed to fight illness. To quote Swartz, “what a novel idea.”