By International Law and common knowledge of the clergy, the Texas Legislature is only allowed to meet every other year for 140 days. Any more than that and we’d be sued by National Geographic for plagiarizing their Wild Kingdom tee-vee show.
During the recent legislative session, people showed up to protest Senate Bill 4, which allows the State to strip funding from any city that doesn’t arrest and deport their undocumented workers. (Short reminder about the money they are going to withhold: that’s our money. The State of Texas doesn’t have any money if we don’t give it to them in the first place. Withhold, my pattootie—that’s theft, plain and simple.)
Honey, when I heard that, I rolled my eyes so far back in my head that I was checking out my own ass. I do not know what our lawmakers plan to do with the money they withhold from us, but I suspect it involves beer, big tires, and long-range missiles pointed at Oklahoma.
SB4 deeply matters to Houston because our mayor, police chief, and district attorney all think the police and the courts have better things to do than randomly demand proof of citizenship from brown-skinned people. Many of these people were born here or have been here since they were toddlers. Hell, they don’t even know anybody in Mexico.
So lots of protesters showed up at the capitol to protest SB4 because it seemed to them that ripping parents away from their children (or vice versa) is just rude.
And here’s where Representative Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) comes in.
I want to tell you something about Matt Rinaldi. He is a foul-mouthed little dip-dump who has to get an old woman to hold his hand to cross the street. He is so crude that the F-word ought to be embroidered on his tie, or written on loose-leaf notebook paper and stapled to his forehead (which would not only give us a warning, but also improve the scenery).
He, along with representatives Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) and Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), wear hip holsters with guns on the floor of the Texas Damn House of Representatives just in case the Lone Ranger changes sides, or some-damn thing. They have such a fetish about their guns that they’re violating obscenity laws in 32 states, assorted territories, and my backyard.
So, in the middle of a debate on the House floor, Rinaldi sashays over to two Hispanic Democrats and goads them by saying he had called immigration authorities on the protesters. One of the Democrats said, “I’m gonna get you,” and that’s when Rinaldi just went bonkers and sneered, “I will shoot you in the head.” (Of course, since this is the dignified and august Texas House of Representatives, “Shoot you in the head” is probably just cowboy-talk for “Drive friendly, ya hear?”)
Rinaldi initially denied saying anything at all, but when he realized that other people heard what he said because he wasn’t using his inside voice, he flipped his story to reflect that he was simply exercising “verbal self-defense.”
No, I am not kidding. Texas Republicans want there to be such a thing as “verbal self-defense.” What is that? A new sport where the winner is whoever can talk the meanest, the loudest, and with the most spittle-things forming at the sides of their mouth? Oh hell, I could make the Olympic team in that sport.
By the way, the Texas Penal Code currently says that a verbal taunt ain’t considered to be a provocation for diddly squat.
Honey, screw verbal self-defense. This event falls under the rules of “You started this fight, Skippy,” as codified by the third edition of The Texas Handbook of Getting Your Ass Whooped.
Rinaldi is up for re-election next year, and here’s the good news: his district went from Romney winning by 12 points in 2012 to Clinton winning by 8 points last year. So, while we’re on the subject of ass-whooping, slap some butter on his butt because he may soon be toast.
But first, the Legislature is going into Special Session, so there’s plenty more time for fightin’ words as they talk about privatizing public education and doing the gawd-awful “bathroom bill” again.
Look, here’s what I know for a damn fact: it’s not a winkie that makes you a man, or tatas that make you a woman. It’s what’s in your heart and soul. Republicans have neither. It’s that simple.
This article appears in the July 2017 edition of OutSmart Magazine.