Blogs are still abuzzing.....Local
blogs (What? You donít know about them yet?) are still
chattering about Republican County Chairman Gary Gillen
turning the tables on the precinct chairs that wanted to tie
his hands. In case you didnít know, Gillen has appropriated
the traditional Lincoln Dinner, the partyís major
fund-raiser, by forming a political action committee (PAC)
to handle the logistics and funds for the Dinner, thereby
circumventing the restrictions of the new by-laws.
In monitoring what many are saying on the
local blogs, I have been surprised to see that the argument
has degenerated to ďWho is a REAL Republican?Ē Now I donít
know why I said that. Iím not really surprised.
Thatís been a tactic of a certain element
in the Republican party from the national party down to the
local level for some years now.
Why, it hasnít been too long ago that if
you criticized the Iraq war, you were disloyal to your
country and not a REAL Republican to boot. The crescendo of
those criticizing from both parties has mounted to the point
that mantra has been discarded.
Now, there are certain elements in the
local party who are touting that if you agree with Gillenís
actions, you are not a REAL Republican. You are a RINO
(Republican in Name Only).
Just what in the Sam Hill is a RINO?
According to this group, it is someone who doesnít support
every candidate (good, bad, or indifferent) of the
Republican party. According to them, a RINO is a voter that
is pro-choice, pro-environment, and doesnít give a flip
about gay marriage. It is a person that doesnít walk in lock
step with their narrow view of what a Republican should be.
Many in that group still believe that Tom DeLay is the
second coming and would fall on a sword for him.
Hey, Iíve got news for you! A real
Republican believes in fiscal responsibility, state and
individual rights (as opposed to federal) and small
government. He/she is anti-bureaucracy.
A group of so-called religious
politicians have appropriated the party as their own and in
a few short election cycles, changed the whole tenor of the
party. Theyíve made social issues the thrust of the party,
not fiscal issues. And if youíre not with them, why youíre
not a REAL Republican.
I think the voters spoke this November,
admittedly in other parts besides Fort Bend and I believe
this will continue until Ď08, Letís face it. Do you want
someone who believes in approaching Armageddon to have his
finger on the nuclear trigger?
A Christmas story....Many times over
the past (mumble) years that Iíve written this column, Iíve
urged you to ďHave a Fort Bend Christmas,Ē ďShop Local,Ē and
ďLeave your money at home.Ē In all honesty, Iíve had a
selfish reason for doing this. Itís often said that
retailers make their profits for the whole year in the
Christmas season. Those local advertisers are what keeps
this paper delivered to your front yard, and Iíve always
believed in danciní with who brung me.
However, the number of really
locally-owned business has dwindled as Fort Bend has grown
and attracted many national retailers who in turn have
offered competition that local businesses canít meet. They
(local businesses) are still there, but you almost have to
hunt for them.
My exhortation used to be that one saved
gas by shopping locally, that sales tax money stayed at
home, and that local people were employed. My goal was to
keep shoppers out of Houston.
However, now all those conditions still
exist when one is buying from a local national retailer. You
save gas, your sales tax money stays at home, and local
people are employed.
As our shopping habits changed from
locally owned shops to national retailers, we really never
developed a loyalty to the national companies. And lately,
weíve certainly developed an alternative to crowded,
anonymous shopping. Itís called the Internet.
Yes, my friends. Those same companies
that ran our small businesses out of town are now being
assailed themselves by Internet shopping.
Internet shopping is easy. Itís open 24
hours a day. Itís never crowded and your stuff arrives on
your doorstep, which is about the most extreme form of
Another advantage of on-line shopping is
that you are not tempted to pick up other things as you are
in an enticingly displayed store. The major disadvantage is
that you canít pick up and examine the merchandise,
something we all like to do.
Pundits have predicted for years that
ďbig boxĒ retailers will lose out to the internet retailers
who donít even really have to warehouse stock. They can
simply round it up after you order.
Not surprisingly, most of the ďbig boxĒ
retailers have aggressive web sites; however, the prices at
their sites are not the lowest on the web although you can
generally trust them to get the merchandise to you. Another
advantage that large national retailers have on the
internet, is most allow you to return unwanted merchandise
to a local store.
Yes, shopping has really changed over the
years and since I have no real loyalty to those large
chains, it doesnít bother me a bit to shop on-line.
But if I can get my Christmas gifts from
a locally-owned store whose owner is a member of the
community and supports it in many ways every day, then Iím
And you should be too!