Just as America thought Texan Republicans had reached the peak of their hypocrisy, Wednesday night came around and took them to a new all-time high. The city of West, Texas was rocked by a devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant. The explosion was so powerful, it leveled the surrounding area and led to over 200 injuries. Soon after, Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a statement declaring a disaster area and imploring President Obama to follow his lead and declare it a federal disaster emergency.
At face value, there is absolutely nothing wrong with state governors requesting federal assistance during times of disaster and unprecedented need. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out the glaring hypocrisy of a governor that rails against the federal government, proudly labels himself a secessionist, then turns around and begs for federal assistance during times of hardship.
Gov. Perry has made a career out of rallying against any and all kinds of federal spending, including funding for education, infrastructure, bailouts, and economic stimulus. He is revered by the right as a small government advocate, always defending the autonomy of individual states and the magic hand of the free market. Why is he requesting federal assistance for a local matter regarding a private company?
Of course, the Texan Republican hypocrisy does not stop there. It is not only Gov. Perry that partakes, but the entire Republican controlled Texan Congress. Texan congressmen in both the United States House and Senate voted against federal disaster relief for victims of hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. Senator Ted Cruz is on record calling federal Sandy relief aid “pork”. It goes without saying, but this is just another example of hypocritical red state Republicans opposing all types of federal spending on anybody but themselves.
It is also worth mentioning that, not only do red states contribute less in tax revenue for the federal government than blue states, they also receive considerably more money in government aid for welfare services such as food stamps and unemployment benefits.
This Republican political “bait and switch” won’t come to an end until the American people wise up and make some noise about the glaring hypocrisy concerning federal disaster aid. If you live in Texas, please call or email your local representative and let them know how you feel about their cynical double standard. If you live elsewhere, get the message out by sharing this and other related posts on social media.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.