Before I begin this review, for integrity, I just want to state that Robert West has been one of my best friends for over 40 years. Also, I am not a Republican, but a true Independent.
I was once a Republican. I grew up admiring Ronald Reagan and the Conservative movement of the 1980s. In 1988 I served on the Steering Committee of Fort Bend County to elect George Bush as President. I knocked on doors, worked in the party in every possible way, even attended the 1988 Texas Republican Convention at the age of 19.
So, what happened? The Judeo-Christian values and conservative ideals I truly embraced were no longer the center of the Republican party.
“No new taxes,” felt like a slap to all who supported President Bush. From 1992 to 2020, it seemed the party that once stood for honor, values, smaller government, local control, less taxes became radicalized. Despite my conservative beliefs, I was labeled a “moderate,” then a RINO.
Watching and believing what the government told us, I supported the Iraq War. Then, when the bad guys were allowed to simply walk out of Fallujah and another of my good friends and college roommate was killed, I began to question and doubt.
In the late 1990s, the State Republican Party supported education, teachers, and positive reforms. By 2010, everything they had done to help teachers had been taken away, and suddenly teachers of Texas began to be seen as an enemy of Conservatism.
I have been a teacher now for 29 years. I teach Social Studies 8th grade and 11th ranging from inner city Houston and in one of the best schools in the state.
I have never taught a “socialist” agenda but am a true patriot who loves and defends our nation, but also tries to teach the truths of history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is not an attempt to teach the students any political agenda or party belief, but to understand the facts of history, learn from them, and keep us from making the same mistakes in the future.
Suddenly, I was the bad guy, just because I was not radical enough, so I was a RINO. I questioned the power of the government regarding the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq, so suddenly I was some crazed liberal, or was unpatriotic.
By 2012, I was fully an independent. I began voting for the person, not the party, and rejected whole-heartedly the political party games of supporting the devil.
Robert and I have enjoyed many conversations over the years regarding government, the role of government, and those in positions of power. While he and I don’t agree on everything, we agree on more than we disagree.
He sent me his book, I got it on a Thursday about 4:30 and devoured it by 6:00 pm. Most importantly, I agree with him.
There is no doubt that Governor Abbott walked on the Texas Constitution during this pandemic and the team politics of the day did not stand up to him or stop him. Because of his governance, many businesses have been lost and it may take years to recover.
Meanwhile taxes go up, we are lied to daily from the Lt. Governor and our criminal Attorney General Paxton. It has gotten so bad, that I will admit that I have voted for some Democrats over Republicans, as the whole lesser of two evils takes hold.
Like Robert, I am sick of voting that way. I was ready to consign myself to being a voiceless independent, lost in the morass of modern political partyism.
But Robert kept telling me, don’t give up, we need good people to stand up and if good men do nothing, evil wins. A basic truth I have tried to live my life by. The Five Star Plan is a way for us to take back our government.
I agree with eliminating the emergency powers of the Governor as it is unconstitutional. I believe in the Constitutional right to carry and defend our lives, our livelihoods, and our Republic.
I’m not even against School Choice, though I have never seen a plan other than “give money for choice” through vouchers, but nothing about how this will affect schools.
Robert and I have discussed this for years and I love that he suggests that vouchers not be paid until the end of a semester as in other states where this has been done, schools open, take the vouchers, then close. Just throwing money at a problem is not a conservative solution. We can do better, and I would invite Robert and others to develop a better plan for any true school choice.
We should radically change the way we do school by allowing for more high school students to gain meaningful blue-collar training, internships with local companies, etc.
It is time for Texas to finally recognize that not every child is going to college, nor do they need to. Most importantly, return Texas schools to more local control. It should not be the business of our government to control our local communities.
If a district wants to raise taxes to hire better teachers, then they should be allowed to do so, as right now only monies for physical improvements may be raised. My insurance in the mid-1990s was great, it is bad now, and gets worse every year! So, I can get behind school choice with a real plan.
Robert’s idea on Eminent Domain is great. Remember the great Perry Land grab for the International Corridor that would be operated by a company in Spain and Texans would have to pay just to go from East to West or vice-versa.
It is time to stop playing dumb political games regarding redistricting. Let’s be honest, the way it is done today is not democratic, not representative, and keeps those same players in positions of power.
I fully agree with voter integrity. We must have valid elections; this is the cornerstone of our Republic.
As for Robert’s call to action, well, I am thoroughly disgusted by the government we have today. He is right, I can’t keep my head in the sand. I don’t know what this will mean for me.
I won’t swear that I won’t vote for a moderate Democrat over a truly terrible Republican candidate. But as Robert reminded me recently, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat originally.
So, if you read this and agree, as I do, go find those five friends and get involved. It is not about winning for the Political Machine, it is about winning for the state of Texas, for doing what is right.
Finally, love God, love others and be a servant. Pray for your enemies, forgive and be the difference.
- Ed Wetterman