With Will Rogers long gone, humor isn’t as prominent in political discourse these days.
For a moment during the Feb. 1 debate between the two Republican candidates for Texas House District 59, a light-hearted political joke brought laughter to some in the crowd gathered in the Glen Rose Citizens Center.
Chris Evans, a Stephenville businessman running against the incumbent Dr. J.D. Sheffield, referred to a line that has been popular on social websites such as Facebook. The joke is that diapers and politicians need to be changed often — and for the same reason.
“I’m for term limits,” Evans told the crowd, adding that he’s not certain how long terms in office should be.
Sheffield -- a Gatesville doctor whose political website features the slogan, “A family physician, not a career politician” -- is seeking his third term in Austin.
“My personal opinion is that we should have term limits, both in the House and the Senate,” Sheffield stated.
The debate began with the topic of health care, opening the door for Sheffield – who has been a doctor for 22 years -- to say, “I’m the fellow with the inside knowledge of how this works.”
The question, “Is pro-life a priority to you personally,” was fielded by the two candidates.
In cases where a pregnant mother’s life is judged by her doctor to be in danger, Sheffield said, “I believe the patient should have that decision — the patient, spouse and doctor.”
Evans responded that he believes abortion is wrong, regardless of the circumstances.
“It’s very dear to my heart,” Evans said of the issue. “We believe life begins at inception, and to kill that life is murder — no ifs, ands or buts. It’s time the government saw murder as murder.”
Evans added, “Dr. Sheffield has never denied receiving help from Planned Parenthood. That should tell you all you need to know.”
A recurring theme — wrangling over which of the two was more conservative than the other — played a part in many of the responses to the questions offered by the moderator of the debate, Drew Myers.
Sheffield stated, “Being a West Texas farm boy, you are conservative by nature.”
Evans commented that, “I’ve been a Republican all my life. I was raised in the country. We need the government to be smaller and less intrusive in our lives.”
Evans stated that the Second Amendment (the right of the people to keep and bear arms) “is the most important amendment.”
Sheffield responded, “You’ll hear that I’m anti-Second Amendment. I don’t want to take guns away from good guys, but I do want to take guns away from bad guys. I do not believe guns belong in classrooms. I am pro-gun, and I am very pro-training.”
To that, Evans responded, “We’re parsing our rights.”
On the topic of illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, the two seemed to agree.
“The bad folks need to be kept out,” Evans said. “Law enforcement officers have given an oath to enforce the laws.”
Sheffield said, “The fact that they are illegal means they shouldn’t be here.”
During the debate over the so-called “Robin Hood” method in Texas of forcing property-rich” school district like Glen Rose share state property tax revenue with “poor” districts, Evans compared the principle to the Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx.
“This wealth redistribution is not going to work in a democracy,” Evans said.
Sheffield said, “Public financing of schools is a disaster right now. We just need to start over, and do it right.”