Ruffled Feathers

Ted Cruz goes head-to-head with Big Bird while Beto O’Rourke challenges Greg Abbott for Texas governor.

Ted Cruz got into a fight with Big Bird. I dunno ’bout you, but I have a hunch that when a United States senator instigates a political fight with a fictional children’s character, the apocalypse can’t be far behind. 

If you want to help get rid of Ted Cruz by displaying a “Big Bird for Senator” yard sign like the one you see here, go to—where they have all manner of Christmas gifts guaranteed to piss off your MAGA relatives. The profits go toward helping Democrats get elected.

At the risk of exceeding my allotment of Muppet vs. Puppet jokes, we’ve learned that Ted Cruz can’t tell you how to get to Sesame Street, but he can tell you how to fly to Cancún during a statewide weather emergency. Yep, both Big Bird and Ted Cruz fly south for the winter. Cartoonist Clay Jones titled Cruz’s latest scuffle Big Turd Attacks Big Bird. And of course, they both have bird brains. (Ya know, I could do this all day!)  

But on to the bigger political news in Texas: Beto O’Rourke is going to run for governor against Greg Abbott. Abbott has pretty much been the worst governor in Texas history—and sweetie, that takes some doing. My friend Thelma claims that Abbott’s middle name is Fooking, but I think she read that on Iffy-pedia, which is just one step above Fox News.

Abbott has blundered, fumbled, and botched the past six years. He tried to finish Trump’s border wall and make us Texans pay for it all by ourselves. He was COVID’s best friend by supporting the notion that seniors would gladly die of COVID in order to keep the Texas economy running. He even vetoed a bipartisan bill to fight animal cruelty by saying that government should not micro-manage people’s behavior. You know, unless they are women with a uterus.

Here are my questions for Governor Abbott: 

Texas ranks next-to-last in education. Do you think we should challenge last-place Mississippi to a spelling bee, since there’s a slim chance we could whip their butts?

Texas ranks 46th in average hourly earnings. Are 80-hour work weeks the solution you propose for people living on the edge?

We are dead-ass last in the percentage of our population with health insurance. Could that be why so many Texans end up ass-dead? 

We are 45th in home ownership rates, so could we improve our ranking if we counted the occupied refrigerator boxes under a bridge in San Angelo as homes?  

Hey, but here are some things we’re damn good at!…  

We’re first in executions, and fifth in overall crime rates. We’re second in hunger statistics, and also second in the Most Insane Governor Sweepstakes (ya gotta give Florida their due).

I can’t send you home without talking about critical race theory, and why in the fool tarnation so many Texas right-wingers are invading school-board meetings to yell about it when they don’t even know what it means. (They just call it “CRT” because spelling is hard for them, so I guess we should forget about challenging Mississippi to that spelling bee.)

Here’s the bottom line on critical race theory: The people who threw rocks at Ruby Bridges, the sweet Black youngster who was just trying to walk to school in 1960, are now upset that their grandchildren might learn about who was throwing those rocks.

And finally, two quick things:

My friend Ben Chou, who is running for Harris County Commissioner in Precinct 4, is the man you should thank for making 24-hour and drive-thru voting possible in 2020. The County election is a few months off, but please take a minute to check him out at—because he’s smart and gay and qualified, and I adore him.

Chocolate is God’s way of telling us he likes to see people a little bit chubby. But don’t be a yule hog! I hope your holidays are merry and bright, and don’t even talk to me about New Year’s resolutions—I see people my age going mountain-climbing, while I’m just happy I can still get my legs through my undies without losing my balance.

This article appears in the December 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.


Susan Bankston

Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at
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