We need to talk about the direction of our beloved state of Texas. I mean, we really, really need to talk about the far-right takeover of Texas. Is it just me or is anyone else worried that we’re falling off the political deep end?
EXAMPLE 1: During the last legislative session, at the behest of the governor, a cohort of mostly white Republicans passed an anti-abortion bill that incentivizes citizen vigilantes to go after anyone who helps a woman end an unplanned pregnancy–early in the first trimester before most women even realize they are pregnant. The legislature pushed this unpopular bill through to passage despite widespread public condemnation from voters.
The mean-spirited abortion bill is just the beginning. There’s the push to resurrect the former president’s border wall; the fraudulent and financially wasteful audit of the 2020 election; new laws repressing voter participation, which were allegedly passed to combat the non-existent problem of voter fraud; a ban on schools imposing mask mandates to safeguard the lives of children and educators; a law barring educators from teaching students the facts of Black history and racism; and God help us, even a bill blocking transgender kids from showing up as who they really are to play school sports.
These repressive laws and the negative impact on the lives of the broad population of Texans are painful and dangerously authoritarian. I’ve lived here all my life, and yes, I realize Texas has a long history as a right-leaning (dare I say repressive) state, but it’s my feeling that the state’s current political direction reflects a serious and frightening turn for the worse.
Why is this happening? I doubt the majority of the state’s electorate took a sudden drastic turn to the right. Some pundits blame this out-of-control rightward tilt on Gov. Abbott’s future political ambitions. Given such aspirations, he might keep in mind that the Texas electorate and that of the country at large is becoming more racially and politically diverse. And fortunately, under our current democracy, the entire body politic has a say in general elections. If he does make his party’s ticket in 2024, I predict there are lots of voters like me who won’t forget Abbott’s authoritarian and repressive track record of governing.
Meanwhile, I believe the governor is doing Texas–and possibly the entire nation–- a great disservice by shaping his entire political agenda to reflect solely the views of those who share his far-right political views.