Over the past few days, Tony Tinderholt has reminded us, yet again, that he intends to run a campaign based on angry rhetoric devoid of substance, or as it turns out, even 30 seconds of research. Mr. Tinderholt, my District 94 opponent, took a trip to the border region over the weekend. True to form, the entire episode displays a complete lack of thought and preparation before action.
Last week, Mr. Tinderholt began promoting his intent to travel to the border to personally confront the immigration issue. Some of the public comments in support of his actions were beyond outrageous, telling him that he should “shoot the Mexicans with plastic bullets” and wishing him “happy hunting”. Far from correcting these inflammatory remarks, he went on to let everyone know how many guns he was bringing along on his big night. As I have written before, nothing enrages Mr. Tinderholt and his supporters like immigrants. Instead of proposing meaningful policy solutions, Mr. Tinderholt armed himself and headed to the border. Upon arriving he took to social media and exclaimed, “on patrol, catching illegal immigrants tonight!”
As The Dallas Observer has pointed out, Mr. Tinderholt was surprised to find that the Texas Border Volunteers (TBV), a militia-type organization that patrols the border, does not trap or arrest people. “I thought they were actually catching illegal immigrants, but they’re not,” he admitted. So, to recap, Mr. Tinderholt planned a weekend excursion, armed himself, drove several hours, and publicized that he was going to personally catch illegal immigrants, but did not bother to ask even the most obvious question or do a simple 30-second online search about the group he was going to join.
Tony Tinderholt is clearly comfortable throwing red meat to the angry voices in our community, but it is also clear that his rhetoric and actions reveal a READY, FIRE, AIM tendency that makes for bad decisions and dysfunctional leadership. Voters should expect at least a minimum amount of deliberation and fact finding before their would-be representatives arm themselves and publicly proclaim a mission to take justice into their own hands.
Unlike Mr. Tinderholt, I do not support saddling the State of Texas with the costs of national border security. As Rick Perry said, “We don’t have the resources, nor the manpower to be able to do that (secure the border) for the 1,200 miles. If we did, we would.” The U.S. Congress has a responsibility to secure our borders, and we need people like Tony Tinderholt to stop exploiting the issue of immigration for political purposes and start getting behind the kind of real reform that will solve the problem. Like we have seen on many issues in Washington, there is a bipartisan coalition ready to move things forward, but extremist obstructionists kill any solutions before they come to a vote. Let’s not bring Washington-style politics to Austin. Let’s get things done.