[May. 9th, 2005|09:16 pm]

I thought about putting a Defending America’s Integrity Alliance news release out about this, but since I didn’t discover it until last night and it’s so long ago now, I guess I’ll just post it here instead.

While listening last night to the Texas House Defense Affairs & State-Federal Relations Committee’s public meeting held on April 21 (made available by the Texas Legislature’s archived committee broadcasts), I heard a peculiar outburst from Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas. She took issue with a bill before the House that would give military veterans preference in state employment. Similar laws exist on the federal level and in many states.

In her own words, Rep. Hodge asked:

I want to preface my question with I have a great deal of respect to all members of the military and what they do and I strongly appreciate it. But being the only full-fledged minority on this panel — what this bill seeks to do is something that I’ve had to deal with all my life. And that is, affirmative action. And when affirmative action came into play — trying to give minorities that same hand up; not the hand out — on employment, education . . . As a matter of fact I have colleagues right here today that’s trying to turn over the ten-percent rule that allow many minority students to get into college which otherwise could not do. And as . . . then I sit here . . . I think, real deeply, about the Hopwood case. So help me to understand why is it that I should really vote to support just a person who was in the military special treatment? And the wife to a paying employment? When so many have fought against that for people like me who was only asking for fair and equal treatment as well?”

A surprised resource witness, James Nier of the Texas Veterans Commission, attempted to respond:

“Veterans covers all categories and characters and types of folks– . . .”

But Rep. Hodge interrupted with:

“So does the African-American race; so does the Hispanic race. The veterans are simply fighting in a war. And, I don’t, I don’t take that lightly, but, yes, it’s men — they’re black men; Hispanic men. Yes, they’re women: black women; Hispanic women, but when we were asking for these same rights that you’re asking for in this bill, people fought that — they fight it to this day. So I’m just concerned why is it that I then should see that the military should have special treatment for employment on a job over someone else?”

This outburst was ridiculous. Maybe you should try getting to the committee meeting on time, Rep. Hodge. You might also ask all those Hispanic and black veterans whether or not they think they deserve a preference in state hiring. I’m completely in support of civil rights for all American citizens — including homosexuals, but this grandstanding is ridiculous. She proposes to justify denying benefits to American veterans because African-Americans and others have been historically denied equality. That doesn’t work out. This isn’t a zero-sum game. And veterans, as Mr. Nier rightly noted, come in all races and genders.

It gets worse, though. She goes on and on. It’s just stupid. This is how we shoot ourselves in the foot, fellow Democrats: by making ourselves look stupid in public on noncontroversial issues.

Listen to the rest for yourself. Rep. Terri Hodge starts her rant around thirty-six minutes in.

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