Despite my Texas upbringing, I, like many people, viewed Rick Perry’s galloping onto the national scene with equal parts horror (he is scary) and “Here we go again.” This guy genuinely questions climate change, genuinely questions evolution, executes human beings with historic vigor and believes government should be virtually dismantled – regardless of the impacts on the poor, the aged or anybody else — except when it helps the corporations he favors.
That said, there is one striking aberration in his human indifference agenda: Like his predecessor, George W. Bush, Perry acknowledges – to some degree – the contribution of immigration, legal or otherwise, to the economic health of Texas and the country. In fact – and this is killing him on the campaign trail – he has supported in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants in Texas. He even said at the most recent debate in Florida that not supporting such policies meant you don’t have a heart.
Never mind, of course, that the schools young Texans will attend – from kindergarten through the state universities for which they’ll get in-state tuition – have been eviscerated by his budget knife. Never mind that if they’re poor (and if you’re not rich in Texas – there’s a good chance you’re poor), they’ll probably be uninsured, unprotected and unheard. These things don’t change. And in a world gone Perry, that model would be replicated across the nation.
Still, give him a thread of credit – for now. Perry does seem to have a flash of reason – and heart – even if he’ll gladly rip someone else’s out of their chest if they don’t fall within his vision of America.