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Texodus

Texodus

We’re a Texas family. For 17 years we lived in the Chicago area, but our roots in the Lone Star State run generations deep. We introduced our Chicago neighbors to smoked brisket. We hosted parties for Texas Independence Day. We got booed cheering for the Astros at Wrigley Field. 

Almost every summer we returned with the kids. With my parents in Beaumont, there were swamp tours and Cajun food. Trips to the gator farm and playing in Papa’s junk yard. We’d visit my Aunt & Uncle in La Grange for fishing and horseback riding at their ranch. We’d sit on the porch in the evening playing dominos, drinking sweet tea or Shiner Bock. The kids caught grasshoppers to bait their fishing hooks, reeling in bass from the retaining pond. They learned to harvest the sweetness from a honeysuckle flower. We visited longtime friends, neighbors and cousins in Dallas & Houston. Swam in the crystal waters of Barton Springs in Austin. Paid our respects at The Alamo. 

We always planned to return when the time was right. As the kids were finishing high school a few years ago, they both said they wanted to “go home” to Texas for college. It seemed like the right time to return to the mothership to bask in Hill Country views, friends, family, and great food.

After 2 years, we’re leaving again.

Ever visited a Third World vacation destination and felt tempted, maybe just for a moment, to buy a home there? After all, who wouldn’t wouldn’t want to spend their days staring at the ocean and swimming on a coral reef? And it’s so cheap! Instead, you pack up your swimsuit and board a plane for home because you don’t want to give up the fundamentals of modern life; clean water, decent hospitals, quality education, and competent government.

Moving to Texas today is like moving your family into that cheap vacation condo in warm, inviting Baptistan. Life in Texas is all sunshine and tacos until you need something

Our decision to leave Texas wasn’t all about politics. We expected gonzo politics when we chose to return. A principal factor we hadn’t anticipated cemented our decision to leave – the grueling toll of living in a place where public life is being destroyed. Life here is harder than you expect, and harder than it was a few decades ago. Perhaps not so much “harder” as just meaner.

Regarding politics, we knew Texas well and were wary. Prior to the move we laid down a couple of markers, bright political lines which, if crossed, would trigger a departure. 

The first red line was if the state legislature began entertaining a secession resolution. Don’t laugh, these days some random Republican introduces a secession bill in every legislative term. Here’s the current one. It’s even part of the GOP’s state platform. Up to now, state Republican leaders have been able to dodge this question. Secession bills are quietly smothered in committee because leaders of the donor class aren’t backing the idea, yet. Some smart, ambitious Republican will see an opportunity soon to accelerate their career by promoting secession and it will take off like a brushfire. That will be a good time to be anywhere but Texas.

Our second marker was if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. That happened last year.

What do overturning Roe and toying with secession have in common? Either would signal that we could no longer count on the United States to protect us. From there forward, we’d be at the mercy of a majority of Texas voters. That majority has solidly backed policies better suited to a mideast petrostate than a democracy.

With the Supreme Court rendered irrelevant, state officials are already letting their freak flag fly. Texas’ Attorney General, an indicted professional swindler, has instructed family services case workers to investigate parents of trans kids as abusers. They’re doing it and the courts aren’t stopping them.

Just last week, a group of pediatricians at one of Austin’s largest hospital networks suddenly resigned. The AG had launched a criminal investigation of them for providing gender affirming care to trans kids. Families who depended on them are left to scramble to find care in a place with few options. 

Libraries in Republican dominated-areas face persecution by white mobs. At least one is on the edge of being shut down. Angry villagers are combing library shelves looking for “porn.” Their definition of pornography strangely extends to books on slavery and the KKK

Texas now leads the nation in book bans. The state legislature is working to empower the book burning mobs, proposing legislation that would cripple libraries even in Texas’ formerly safe Democratic cities. Austin has its charms, but it can’t run from Texas.

So, who do Texans choose to govern them?

A couple of weeks ago Texas had a mass shooting in Allen, this time targeting Asian-Americans. Here’s what the town’s congressman had to say about it.

Again, Keith Self is not your drunk uncle or some hobo screaming at clouds on a park bench. He’s a US Congressman. That has consequences.

Texas’ legislature is led by a former right-wing radio host, Dan Patrick. The cast of this clown show includes Tony Tinderholt, a family values advocate on his fifth marriage who tried to pass a bill that would punish women obtaining an abortion with the death penalty

Rep. Slaton, who filed this year’s secession bill and led a legislative campaign against “perverts,” had sex with a 19 year-old who was too drunk to resist. The list could go on for a hundred pages. For years conservative Texas voters have been tripping over themselves to find leaders crazy enough to express their political wishes. Across that time we could still lean on the Supreme Court to curb their ugliest and deadliest ambitions. That protection is gone. Time to leave.

You may be thinking, “politics doesn’t affect me,” especially if you’re white and even more especially if you’re a white man. Being non-white here isn’t great, though to be fair, discrimination and hostility non-whites face in Texas may not be markedly worse than what you’d experience in Boston or Chicago. For women, though, life here is becoming very difficult. If you’re living the “T” in LGBTQ, it may be wise to avoid Texas entirely. Harassment of trans people is reaching a dangerous crescendo.

Why are so many otherwise decent Texas tolerating the destruction of every aspect of public life?

Like other former slave states, Texas has long cultivated an ethic of ignoring politics. Texans rank 50th in the nation for their likelihood to discuss politics with friends, and near the bottom in every other dimension of public engagement. Raise a political question in polite company in Texas and you’re likely to be greeted with our trademark shutdown, “Bless your heart.” It’s Southern Lady for ‘fuck you.’ An interest in public life is broadly seen as poor manners, a holdover from the days when saying the wrong thing in public could get you killed. Those days aren’t over. 

An avid racist, Daniel Perry, showed up to Black Lives Matter protests in Austin in 2020 and murdered a protester. You’ve probably heard of Kyle Rittenhouse, but chances are you’ve never heard of Perry. That’s another thing you’ll have to get used to if you move to Texas. Almost nothing that happens here makes national news, contributing to the ignorance and subsequent surprise of people who make the move. Perry was promptly convicted of murder by a jury. The next day the Governor promised to pardon him

Politics aside, what’s it like to live in a place where every form of public infrastructure is crumbling (except to the freeways, Texas Republicans love their freeways). You’ll experience a matrix of hundreds of little failures, none of which seem to have a political angle on their own, and probably wouldn’t be noticed by anyone who hasn’t lived in a better-functioning place. All of it adds up to an experience which might have been described in the words of my Texas grandmother as being “pecked to death by chickens.” Things don’t work here and it’s hard to understand why.

Austin has been through three boil water notices in the past four years. It’s part of a trend in the state. Nobody in charge seems to notice or care.

Maybe you’ve heard of states that have let pharmacists decline to prescribe contraceptives or abortion drugs. Texas heard about that and said, “hold my swastika.” In Texas, your pharmacist can decline to fill any prescription for any reason, or for no reason at all. Maybe it won’t affect you, but if it does there’s little you can do about it. If you need drugs for reproductive care, gender affirming care, chronic pain, or anything else your pharmacist decides they have a problem with, you’ll have issues.

You’ll enjoy no state-level protections against LGBTQ discrimination in housing, employment or anywhere else. Adoption agencies can refuse to serve you. Same goes for restaurants or any other business outside the few big cities that have their own protections. 

Whatever you do, don’t get sick in Texas. Unless you have access to the Texas Medical Center in Houston, which benefits from the cash inflow of a global clientele, you’ll face a dangerously underfunded system, poorly prepared to help you. 

Like every other public institution in Texas, medical professionals have poor options for getting paid. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the country, again by a wide margin. And thanks to the legislature’s love affair with grifters, having insurance doesn’t mean your treatments will be covered. 

That means it’s hard for a health care professional to get paid in Texas, which translates directly into a ranking near the bottom (again) for access to doctors. But that’s just part of the story. When you strip healthcare from a large portion of the population it affects everyone.

A system deprived of resources forces the doctors that remain to be very careful about accepting patients, very aggressive about billing, and remarkably creative in how they make money. If you’re “lucky” enough to get a doctor in Texas, it’s a near certainty that they’ll propose some unconventional treatment for what ails ya. Specially branded “vitamins” are popular, along with quacky weight loss potions and unproven hormone treatments. It’s a system built for grift. Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

The removal of Supreme Court protections has had a horrific impact on women’s health. Texas already ranked last in the country in access to obstetric care – and that was before the state passed laws criminalizing many routine elements of pregnancy care. Many OB/GYNs and other doctors must now consider leaving or be forced to violate their oath. Those that remain must cope with a dangerous legal environment that will only get worse. Who’s likely to stay – doctors you probably wouldn’t want to see anyway. Texas women will carry more dangerous pregnancies, longer, with less access to care and a dwindling number of specialists. More women will die and a solid majority of Texas voters don’t care.

One example of the doctors still practicing here: a male gynecologist in Austin keeps a “funny” book in his examination room called Brenda’s Beaver Needs a Haircut. It’s a cute cartoon, written by a man, about a woman who needs to shave her pubic hair because it’s disgusting and it frightens people. It’s humor for douche-bros, fine in the right setting. Your OB’s office isn’t the right setting. Imagine sitting nervously in a paper gown, vulnerable and exposed, preparing to visit your doctor to address a life-threatening issue while reading a cartoon suggesting he finds you repugnant. 

Is the book amusing? Is it appropriate in that setting? In a place a woman might go to seek critical, lifesaving help on sensitive subjects from someone she trusts – it’s not helpful. Apart from being unprofessional and sexist, it’s also hostile. It sends a message, from your doctor, about the real value of a woman, part of the glib attitude toward a woman’s wellbeing that you’re likely to experience everywhere in Texas. 

An underfunded system creates a lousier experience for everyone, including the providers. With determination and lots of money, you can find quality medical professionals in Texas, but their ability to influence outcomes will be limited by the decaying system around them. And increasingly, they are making plans to leave.

Are you interested in good public schools? Again, thanks to an underfunded system and hordes of religious cultists waging their bizarre culture wars, you’re screwed. 

You may think your local schools wherever you live in the country are “under-funded.” Most people would say that. However, is your state government actually trying to eliminate them? 

Since Republicans took over the legislature twenty years ago the government has been working tirelessly to eliminate the threat of an educated electorate. You’re likely to discover that your local school is an under-funded nightmare, and have your neighbors recommend a shiny new charter school just down the street. Those officially non-profit schools fall into two categories: thinly veiled evangelical religious madrassas or scams. Many are both.

If your children attend public school they will, sooner or later, have a teacher who tells them evolution is fake, gays are going to hell, or they’ll go to hell if they don’t accept Christ. It’s so routine and tolerated it wouldn’t even make the news. You can’t escape the religious nuttery in big cities. It’s one of those things Texans don’t even notice, like the heat.

As public schools face increasing hostility from the state, new “charter schools” are emerging as an alternative. These are not the charter schools you’re used to.

Building a charter school in Texas is a great way for the rich to get richer. You form a non-profit entity which will receive state money for the school. You also form a series of for-profit entities, from which the non-profit charter school will lease land and equipment, buy services like lunches and building maintenance, everything your non-profit public charter school needs to operate. Now you have a fountain of state money laundered into your bank account. Money that would have been going to your neighborhood school is diverted into a sham charter while ultimately filling private pockets. It’s legal in Texas – unethical everywhere and contributes to the degradation of the public system. 

These low-rent charters siphon students and their tax money away from the local public schools, further weakening an institution Republicans hate. They escape most of the oversight and service obligation of the public schools, allowing them to operate more cheaply than the publics. Remember this model. It’s how almost everything works here, from hospitals to prisons.

It gets even better. Next year, your child’s school counselor could be replaced with a local preacher. Legislators are also proposing to require giant 10-Commandments posters in every school room and force schools to set aside time for prayer and Bible study. You can’t escape the influence of religious nuts even in the public system.

Does your child need help from a therapist? Sorry, you’re in the wrong place. Texas ranks last in access to mental health care by miles. If you do find a therapist, watch out. You may discover that they’re pushing bizarre religious treatments or recommending miracle cures from magic beans. Be particularly cautious with doctors who have their headshot on the speciality medications they’re pitching. Check their background carefully, as Texas has become a haven for therapists run out of other jurisdictions for negligence or worse. There are a few good reputable mental health professionals in Texas. You won’t see them. They’re booked solid, they don’t take insurance, you probably can’t afford them, and increasingly are planning to leave.

All of this dysfunction shows up in crime rates. For all Texas’ bluster about personal protection and law enforcement, the state consistently ranks at the bottom for public safety. A Texan is roughly twice as likely to die from homicide as a New Yorker and about a third more likely than a Californian. To find higher homicide rates than Texas you need to travel even deeper into deep red Dixie to places like Mississippi and Louisiana. When a raving lunatic shoots up a Texas school or shopping center, state leaders’ reactions give you the distinct impression they care more about the shooter than the dead. Texas’ brand of freedom isn’t free. It costs lots of dead children.

What about all the money you’ll save in taxes? The “move to Texas because it’s cheap” story was always a card trick. Because Texas has no income tax it can appear that the tax burden is small. That only holds if you’re earning in the highest percentiles. Middle earners pay significantly more in state and local taxes in Texas than in other reputedly “high-tax” states like California. To make things worse, you get virtually nothing for it beyond giant highways and magnificent high school football stadiums. Perhaps you’re wealthy and figure public life doesn’t matter, but no one has enough money to build their own airports, rail systems, healthcare or public education. Everybody pays for the poor quality of public infrastructure.

But there are so many jobs! Thanks to the oil industry Texas maintains a healthy supply of middle income jobs, especially jobs that don’t require a college education, though it trails California in that category (as in so many others). Despite its sunny reputation, Texas’ ranks 40th among the 50 states in unemployment, lagging far behind places like New Jersey, Minnesota and Massachusetts. What will the economic picture look like as decarbonization gains momentum? 

You may have seen a lot of showy announcements about big companies “relocating” to Texas. Read a little farther in those stories. Rarely are companies expecting any employees to move, especially highly skilled tech workers. They typically remain in the kinds of places those workers want to be while the Texas jobs are largely lower-tech sales, marking and customer support. What companies get with a “move” to Texas is a more favorable address for tax purposes along with fewer irritating rules against employee abuse and discrimination. In other words, it’s a lot like moving to the Caymans. 

That brings us back to a theme.

Buying that cheap, beautiful home in a tropical paradise is a dream come true, until you wake up one day and need something. Money you saved on a cheap house won’t be enough to buy a hospital or a school. It doesn’t take long in Texas for the price of cheap to come due.

Millions of Texans, including friends I love, are fighting to make this a saner, more decent place. Not everyone can leave. Those fighting against the tide of crazy in Texas will always have my family’s love and support. It’s time for my family to build a new home in a place with more respect for life and decency.

29 Comments

  1. I’ve largely quit looking at Political Orphans since you are not posting regularly. But I drop in occasionally. This morning I did. I must say that I was in one way surprised to see that you are relocating to the Bay Area. However in a larger sense, I am not, for the very reasons you discussed. Speaking from Seattle, I believe that you will find the Left Coast generally has good governance, though all the cities on the Left Coast have problems. One that is common is homelessness and expensive housing. But most of the cities are attempting to work on the issues. Seattle and Washington are finally beginning to realize that. There will be a major change in the City Council in January next year following the municipal elections in November. The incumbents in four of the seven districts up for election are stepping down. The biggest problems the Left Coast has are to a large degree traceable to lack of developable land. Much of the land is really not suitable for development due to geography and topography. The Left Coast has a lot of people living in a relatively small area. That makes infrastructure development expensive and difficult. The geography and topography is difficult with mountains, large bodies of water and the seismic risks. Essentially the entire Left Coast is a seismically active area. Then there are those damn volcanoes. Still the Left Coast is a pleasant place to live. The people are generally friendly, if one is willing to approach them and doesn’t have a chip (or ‘Lone Star’ on their shoulder – Texans are not necessarily well regarded).

    In a larger sense you may find many similarities to Chicago, as per Colin Woodard’s Eleven Nations of North America division Chicago is split between being part of Yankeedom and the Midlands. The Left Coast reflects a lot of the qualities of Yankeedom, being that Yankee missionaries were among the first non-native settlers and over the years there has been a steady immigration from the Northern tier states. Overall, I believe you will be happy on the Left Coast.

    Regarding secession, I fully expect Texas, FL, and perhaps other Gulf states to attempt to secede, before the current crisis in the US is resolved. I have no idea how that will play out. I hope the resolution is not catastrophic as the Civil War crisis was. I really do not believe the nation will split permanently – I kind of suspect that a solution will be worked out. The benefits of union are too great. However, some means will be found to limit the power of the Gulf States. TX and FL exercise far more power in the Federal Government than their populations and economic prowess would suggest. Texas crows that it has the ninth largest economy in the World. But California has the fourth largest. California and Washington between them are home to, the last I read (1-2 years ago) all five of the largest tech corporations and possibly the highest capitalizations in the US. The economies of the Gulf States depend to a high degree on US Government expenditures – all receive far more from the Federal Government than they send to the Government in taxation.

    I am currently reading Neil Howe’s The Fourth Turning is Here. I am finding it interesting.

    Good luck in your relocation and welcome to the Left Coast. We need people like you and your family. We seem to steadily and continually attract such people of good will.

    Also I hope your health continues to be good. You will find good medical care here.

    Perhaps you will be inspired to start posting to Political Orphans again. I have missed your posts.

  2. One of the obvious predictions of bad governance is a brain drain. You can see the beginnings of the process. I know (through the academic grapevine and directly from my department chair) of faculty candidates who turned down job offers, because they had doubts about how good a move to Texas would be for their families. The lege didn’t succeed in killing tenure, but the attempt won’t go unnoticed. Yet Greg Abbott is supposedly mystified over why CA has more top tier public research universities that TX.

    I have mentally bookmarked 2 local indicators of the brain drain getting really bad. The first is the Texas Medical Center. I worked there for 20 years and I can personally vouch for state of the art facilities and a lot of very smart people practicing medicine/ doing research. The fact that so many smart people from all over the world wanted to come to Houston to work and learn was something I took great pride in, and contact with those people was very good for me, intellectually and socially. Any reduction in applications there is a warning sign.

    My 2nd canary in the academic coal mine is Rice University. It’s been a very attractive option for the top students for years- it ranks very high (top 20 usually) in various national college rankings, it’s still much less expensive than the Ivies, and it ranks high in quality of student life (it’s a fun place). It has the added bonus of being private, which protects it from a lot of the bullshit policies of the Texas government. I attend the Matriculation ceremonies for the incoming class each August, so I get to hear the numbers on how many applied, how many were accepted, where they are coming from, etc. Any trend towards Rice becoming less desirable is a flashing red light IMO.

  3. Love hearing from you! Glad to learn you are moving back to CA….especially the Oakland, Bay, Berkeley area. I will PM you with a contact you and your wife will enjoy knowing.

    We moved to TX in 2000 from FL via LA. Our 18 years in TX led to the same understanding you have reluctantly reached. There are good people working tirelessly to bring about change but it’s pitifully slow going. Watching stellar democratic institutions like public schools and libraries succumb to a fistful of “superior” suburban women posturing as “moms for liberty” is disheartening and tragically often effective . I miss my two children who live there and friends but not the TX I am watching implode.

    I hope you and your family find new purpose and happiness in CA. Healthcare is excellent and I know how important that can be. The far right is everywhere but at least there you will be among kindred souls. They are lucky to have you.

  4. Still got great live music in Texas, I blame the audiences.

    Speaking of which, I have recommendations for two local music festivals: Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival coming up in Taos, which actually won an Ameripolitan award as best music festival last year, and the Nuevo Americana music festival in Costilla NM last weekend. The Barn Dance has artists you’d recognize, mostly from Texas. Nuevo Americana was more local, but still great.

    Best of luck with your move, Chris.

  5. I’m kinda surprised you didn’t last there long, I know the politics are bad but I didn’t think your family would feel personally threatened by them. I do have friends who’ve left for political reasons but also a fair few who’ve lived there for years. Even a couple who moved there from other states.

    I’m against secession but of all the states to secede, I think Texas would be the most funny. I mean, if they successfully got articles of secession through the rest of the US wouldn’t let them go, but in my comedic/sarcastic brain I could see the rest of the US (except much of the South) going “Sure, yeah, leave, whatever.” The conservatives all cheer until the sudden realization that they lost one of the few things clinging them to national power: 2 Senators, 36 congresspeople, and 38 electoral college votes removed from the Republican party overnight.

    Suddenly conservatives across the US are left with the option of moving to Texas or being removed from power. Hahaha classic.

    The joke ends there because of course then the rest of the South would try to jump on board and there’s that whole issue of civil war and even if Texas had a clean break the interstate commerce and legal shit would hit the fan and yadda yadda.

    I don’t care to think about the issue deeper than that. That’s up to the Texas legislature.

    1. Being a Left Coaster, specifically in the most Northern major city in the contiguous US, I can definitely state that many would welcome TX leaving the Union. Personally, I believe the nation is much better off as a Union than being separated. Then there are the geostrategic global implications. Those would not be promising at this time. Overall the negatives of separation far outweigh the positives. That is as true today as in 1787.

      1. Texas didn’t have long term viability as its own nation back in the 1830s-40s and it wouldn’t fare much better today. But given how badly TX history is taught, I can’t be shocked at the delusion.

  6. I cannot blame you for leaving. If I were looking at grad school/ post docs today, I absolutely would be looking to leave Texas. What keeps me here are the people I know and a good job situation. Also my demographic and location means the crazy ( so far) isn’t bad enough to get me to leave. I currently can afford to stay and vote against the crazy, so I will, for now. I can vouch for getting proper medical treatment in Houston- I broke a knee in an accident at work last summer, and it’s so much easier when you are covered. I frequently thought about how many people would have been financially ruined by the same experience.

    One of my grad school classmates teaches in south Florida. The crazy hasn’t made her want to leave yet, but when she and her husband start to qualify for full retirement, I would not be shocked if she relocated.

    Enjoy your new home Chris, and good to see another post.

  7. Just when you think all is lost, our joke of an AG gets impeached! Even after the Donald told the Republicans he would fight them if they did it. Not to say I am optimistic, but you never know. Our leaders seem to be hell bent on proving that they are the worst of a stupid lot. The result of which is fewer folks wanting to be seen riding on that train. One can only hope that the tide will eventually turn.

  8. Moved from Houston Texas to Minnesota in 1989. Moved back to Austin Texas area, Grainer yo be exact, and worked in Georgetown in 1993. Moved back to southern Minnesota in October 1996. Have a brother living in Pearland and ever time we talked I am always asked if I will ever move back to Texas, the answer is always the same. HELL FUCKING NO!

    Hot, crowded, dirty, no effective zoning, and the politics of the state are horrendous.

  9. Just gonna say, life in blue Colorado is good. Great outdoors, reasonable tax rates, tons of economic growth and a state government that governs. Denver may not be a huge city but it punches way above it’s weight class in culture, sports and access to economic growth.

    To boot, there’s a fair number of Texas ex-pats here.

  10. Chris THANK YOU!! You have laid out in one painful piece a rot as old as the Old Testament, greedy liars willing to do anything to protect an unearned life of luxury and leisure. I have been reading you for a decade (or more). You always inform me and renew my commitment to a world where love is a fact, not a shield behind which evil lurks. Love, Peter Castaldi

  11. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the political visions of the U.S. differ drastically by region. The (majority-Democrat) North envisions success as being the leading figure in a town: respected, wealthy, but still fundamentally a member of society. It’s a society of (theoretically) equal citizens participating in the life of the polis. The South has no such vision. In the South, success means becoming rich enough to opt out of society altogether. Citizens aren’t equal: there is the wealthy magnate who controls the land, and there is everyone else. Public life doesn’t exist in this framework. There are masters and serfs: there are no citizens.

    The merchant republic versus the feudal landholder. Things haven’t changed all that much since the Civil War.

    1. You’re being too regional. Feudal landholder mentality exists in the North, it’s just muted relatively speaking. “Local tyrants” have always been a problem everywhere, even if their domain is their N-acre lot that could hold a lot of housing, or a couple of car dealerships. I expect equal-citizens-in-the-polis exist in the South, but likely muted relatively speaking.

      1. A thought occurred recently. Drive Friendly. Remember that? Got lost in the wash with my other grey sock.

        I remember when we started getting ticked off at everything. Funny, it took a while to sink in. Ron Rayguns would come on just as you were getting off work. Before you could switch channels, he would tell you who to be mad at today.

        It is the same today. Be mad at them! Not a hint of a plan, just be mad. The king has no clothes. Never did, never will. Just be mad.

  12. The triangular region framed in by the cities of Austin, Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio is experiencing a wave of growth of historic proportions more than anywhere in the world.
    ⚡️ In 2020, the population of the Texas Triangle reached nearly 21 million.
    💥 the Texas Triangle contains five of the 20 largest cities in the U.S., and was home to more than 70% of all Texans: City of Dallas, City of Fort Worth, City of Austin, City of Houston and City of San Antonio
    🛫The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is bigger than all of Mannahattan.
    🏞️The The University of Texas at Austin is the third largest land owner in the United States.
    🌮San Antonio is bigger than New York City and Detroit combined.
    👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👩‍👩‍👧‍👦Houston has a bigger population than Colorado and 34 other states.
    🏢Four of the top ten metro statistical areas are in Texas.
    🔥 The Texas economy is on fire. The state added 660,000 new jobs last year – more jobs than any other, and twice the number of new jobs compared to its historical average. With Dallas by far leading the growth.
    📆 50,000 jobs a month, I mean, that’s almost 2,000 jobs a day every day of the week for an entire year.
    ❌No state income tax
    ✅The Tex-a-plex is home to over 50 Fortune 500 companies. And has more Fortune 1000 companies than any other state.
    💰 At 2.4 TRILLION, Texas is ranked as the 9th largest economy among nations of the world by GDP, ahead of Canada, South Korea, Russia, and Australia.
    🚢Texas is the largest exporter of goods in the United States
    💵Dallas is home to the fourth most BILLIONAIRES in the world.
    💡Houston has more than 5,000 energy related firms and is the energy capital of the world.
    🩻The Texas Medical Center is the largest in the world located in Houston.
    🎁25% of ALL retail space in the United States is in Texas.
    🎼🎹Austin is the live music capital of the world. South By Southwest Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (ACL Live)
    🤽‍♀️⛹️‍♀️🏌🏻The are 12 professional sports teams in the Tex-A-Plex.
    📘📗📕 You can further your education in the great state of Texas at any one of the 159 universities and colleges in order to prepare yourself for a successful and prosperous career. Including 6 medical schools.
    Texas A&M University has an enrollment of 74,829 the largest student body in the United States.

    1. All true but the hard right is on track to destroy the great state TX was. I lived there 18 years, and still have friends there (Democrats and rational Republicans), so keep up with the outrageous shenanigans that are happening. Sad to watch even from afar. Really hard if you support democracy for all people.

  13. Glad to hear from you again. Nice pictures. My family has been in Florida for over a hundred years. it is going to hell too in much the same way. I am entertaining leaving my home state . My family is in Florida and my home paid off is in Florida. I do live in blue Orlando Orange County area so some of the worst is mitigated. But repeatedly the crazy Republican State Legislators who are a super majority have played big brother and overrule local rule.

    It is an open secret Disney the 800 pound gorilla in Florida economically has a lot of gay management and gay creative talent. Orlando has been friendly towards gay people. Which is why they wanted to move their creative talent here from California . But DeSantis turn hostile towards those kind of people so that got shut down. We lost a lot of high paying jobs in an area full of low paying jobs. DeSantis threw us under the bus to further his presidential asperations. His anti woke ( what the muck is woke? ) crowd cheering their shafting.

    Surprising as Florida trended more red my wife’s native Georgia has trended purple. Who would of thought it ? My wife with a smile on her face tells me her family all Trumpers in Georgia think I corrupted her. I am also a generational deep south southern. Orlando has been a diverse city for many decades. For a long while Orange County Fla a minority majority county. When your friends , family, church members are diverse you tend to lose your fear and start seeing the malarkey for what it is. There are fairly reasonable cost satellite communities around Atlanta. Something for us to think about.

    Some people think we should stay and fight. Being retired , white , and fairly affluent I have to admit I might be better suited for that than someone trying to raise children or trying to make a decent living. We shall see.

  14. Wow… just… wow. Like most everything you’ve written since I started reading GOPLifer in 2014, I can’t say I’m *SURPRISED*, but just… wow!

    New England winters aren’t as bad as Great Lakes winters (at least that’s my greater-Milwaukee experience), so if you could handle Chicago, you can handle Boston (same amount of northern-flavored racism too). As always, though, YMMV.

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