February 13, 2015

Molly White: Why we can't have nice things in Texas

Rep. Molly White official photo with Texas Tribune photo
Just 10 days after freshman Texas Representative Molly White decided to be deliberately and highly inflammatory (pun lead-in highly intended) for the seventh annual Texas Muslim Capital Day, with a Facebook post that basically "invited" Muslims in Austin to pledge allegiance to Israel, we have the fallout, as shown in the picture at left.

Early Friday morning, an Islamic center in Houston was severely burned. Helped out by a ... deliberately and highly inflammatory accelerant. With the additional fact that this fire was started on a Friday, which is, of course, Muslims' holy day.

Fortunately, it happened early in the morning, before anybody was there for prayers, or the educational center had students. Also fortunately, the Houston Fire Department knocked the fire down before it could total the complex.

Fire officials caution that it could have been caused by a homeless person seeking warmth, as an alternative possibility to being a deliberate arson. However, I find the homeless theory not very likely. It was in the upper 40s for the low Friday morning, at or slightly above average.

Update, Feb. 16: An arrest has been made. It's too early to say whether we have someone with an anti-Muslim motive, or a homeless person, as a 55-year-old, a bit scruffy, and riding a bike, could theoretically fit the homeless angle, though (and not to sound stereotyping) homeless people don't often seem to own bikes. According to Houston's ABC station, he does have some previous criminal record, beyond trespassing that would be associated with homelessness. One Tweet claims that the Houston Fire Department has reported him as "transient," but I've not seen that in news stories.

I mean, "Christian activist" Christine Weick asked for a mosque to be captured. Burning one isn't far removed.

And, how could any "patriotic" American not take offense at the rabble-rouser Muslims at the capital, and try to force them to change their ways, or suffer punishment? Indeed, how could anybody why thinks we actually have 51 states in the US not think otherwise?

Right, Molly? Per my Tweet to her:
@MollyWhiteTX Last I checked, Israel's not part of the United States.
— SocraticGadfly (@SocraticGadfly) January 29, 2015
As for how Molly White played out the denouement to Texas Muslim Capital Day, which I blogged about here?

White eventually responded to critics who accused her of being unethical and ... inflammatory:

"As law-abiding American citizens, we all have the privilege and the right to freedom of speech granted to us by the First Amendment," she wrote. "... As a proud Texan and American I fully denounce all terrorist groups or organizations who’s [sic] intent is to hurt and destroy the great state of Texas and our nation.”
Let's see if she means it.

Given that, I've already posted on her Facebook page, asking her if she will indeed call on all Texas non-Muslims to denounce anti-Muslim violence. Including a retired Houston firefighter who Tweeted (via Kos) that firemen should let the site burn.

Somehow, I doubt she will.

As of Feb. 16, she has yet to comment about the Houston fire on either Facebook or Twitter, though she had time to have her staff take down my comment on her Facebook page. And, she had time after Muslim Capital Day to cut a video complaining about being misunderstood, though she's not found time to cut any similar video since the fire.

If this turns out to be a homeless man letting a warming fire get out of control, even then, White could still express her condolences to the community of the Islamic center. A lot of people in her boat would find that good PR, if nothing else.

That said, Texans who know history know that this is nothing new. The Texans that spat on, jostled, and otherwise assaulted Adlai Stevenson shortly before JFK's visit were the progenitors of the likes of Molly White. Tea partiers have been here for a long, long time. With a long, long history of violence.

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