Monday, August 10, 2020

#TXLEGE: Poncho's "post-Addiction" letter a DAMNING indictment of the Texas house

"[F]or he who greets him shares in his evil deeds."
2 John 1:11

Poncho Nevarez wrote a piece last week about his recovery from last year's cocaine-related unpleasantness.  It's an interesting read.  We wish him the best.  We don't harbor any personal animus (at least as long as he doesn't cash out from his lege service).

But what really stood out were the following sections:
Being an elected official, and, in particular, a member of the Texas House, requires some hubris. Whether you are obliging enough to admit, it requires an outsized sense of yourself and a lack of humility. Most of us come from being big-man-on-campus types. We mask that lack of humility in the sort of confidence people generally identify with success. The job, if you are doing it at a high level, almost demands it.


As I made my way through my first session, I became aware that a lot of what makes a high-functioning legislator is a talent for coloring outside the lines. I had that in spades. Guys like me tend to float through a lot of things because people perceive a potential in us, and they make allowances. Bodies like the legislature reward that, especially during the session.


You lose a lot of control over how things go in the legislative process. I cannot stress this enough. It becomes a tornado. Out of control. For a perfectionist thriving on control it can be maddening. My lack of patience hampered me. My ego pounded me. I became unable to manage defects in my character. My path towards full-blown alcoholism and addiction was pretty well set once I lost perspective....I just kept drinking more and then later using more and more cocaine to manage what became unbearable sadness at letting the process pile drive me and trying to shield myself from the real pain of living, and of living without people whom I had loved dearly. What else could it be, right? I mean who sets out to be an alcoholic and/or an addict? Nobody. Certainly not me.


As I marched through session after session, I became convinced the place was not good for me. Most of us would joke about it, but for me it was the truth. Yet the shot of adrenaline it gives you sometimes and the good on good, as I call it, are like the Sirens, calling you back.

Anyone that says the place won’t change them has not been there. It will. It becomes a question to what degree and how you deal with the change. By the time the 86th Legislature came I was roiling in depression and addictions.

That's not normal.

Obviously, when news of Poncho's arrest broke, we wrote a very unflattering analysis.  We stand by it.  We've also long suspected that there was more to this story that isn't public.

But regardless of the details of Poncho's arrest/addiction, consider what we know that's undisputed. Consider, furthermore, what Poncho himself said in the extended blockquote above. What does that say about the culture of the Texas house?!?

Nothing good.

As we wrote in Januray:
[I]f Poncho Nevarez really is the addict he now claims to be, the Texas house accommodated Poncho Nevarez's alleged addiction as long as Poncho Nevarez was useful.
Now, from Poncho Nevarez's own pen (ok, fine, keyboard), we now have confirmation that that's exactly what happened.

Keep in mind, furthermore, that all of the above is the best case scenario.  Worse are certainly plausible. But, even in a best case, the Texas house enabled an addict because he was politically useful.

To which we will add: We don't know Poncho Nevarez.  At least not well.  We've met him a couple times and have testified in front of his committee, but we don't have any personal relationship.

But Poncho Nevarez looked terrible throughout the 2017 session.  He was fat.  He was bloated. His hair was almost always a mess. He wasn't shaving regularly.  It was obvious from 100 yards away that something was wrong with that guy. And where, pray tell, were his colleagues?!?

They were enabling him.  Because he was politically useful.  No matter how many crocodile tears they may shed today.

But good deal to Poncho Nevarez; as long as he doesn't monetize his legislative service, we're cool.

We can't say the same for his enablers/crocodile tear shedders.

Bottom Line: The toxic culture of the Texas house may have ground Poncho Nevarez down in unique ways.  That certainly seems the case.  But, details notwithstanding, what happened to Poncho was one blatant manifestation of a widespread phenomenon.  It's hardly the only one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.