Yeah, I said it. Democrats need to call it what it is. In the legislature and on the campaign trail.
Greg Abbott has called a wasteful special session and his agenda is one that pushes white supremacist policies. Call it his announcement for 2024, call it an attack on democracy, or call it whatever you want to call it, the truth is that his agenda targets Black and Brown Texans.
Let’s go one by one.
Bail Reform – The republican way of achieving bail reform is by keeping the accused in jail by way of exorbitant bonds. The vast majority of folks in our jails are accused, not convicted, and cannot afford bail. There have been local movements to reform the bail system to ensure the accused can be released while ensuring they show up for court and republicans have found a way to blame it for the increase in crime, instead of alleviating root causes (poverty, infrastructure, institutional racist practices). Abbott will keep the jails full, thus punishing the accused while they await trial. And who is in our jails that cannot afford to bond out? Black and Brown folks.
Election Integrity – Abbott and republicans continue the Trump lie that there is rampant election fraud. The problem is that Abbott and republicans do not like the fact that Democrats have opened up access to voting for neighborhoods that are predominantly Black and Brown. Neighborhoods and people whose voting rights have historically been violated. Drive-thru voting, ballot by mail, 24-hour voting, voting access for the disabled are all targeted by Abbott and republicans after having achieved some success in 2020. Instead of being thankful for political participation by more Texans, they would rather make up lies about voter fraud and block people from voting. There is no fraud. Republicans just don’t want Black, Brown, Women, the poor, and the disabled to vote. Texas Dems walked out on SB7 at the end of the session for these reasons. And the republicans have not fixed the “typos” they put into SB7.
Border Security – Abbott is trying to be neo-Trumpian as he wants to continue building a GoFundMe border wall, turn badly run state prisons into immigrant warehouses, and continue his wasteful spending which bloats the Department of Public Safety and sheriff’s departments for the purpose of hunting Brown people, while getting away from actual crime fighting. He’ll blame immigrants who are escaping poverty and violence for the crimes of smugglers and those who exploit them, instead of demanding a better asylum and immigration system. Abbott and republicans are finding any way to further exploit Brown people for political gain.
Social Media Censorship – Abbott and his republican minions want the right to lie to the public and for his supporters to disseminate the lies without any kind of accountability. The republicans have always spread lies about crime rates, “criminal immigrants,” voter fraud, and about any program that actually helps people as a means of earning votes. They make the Black and Brown people the source of blame. They don’t want to be called out by private companies for spreading such lies through their social media platforms. They prefer a constant state of chaos devoid of truth or fact. It is people like Abbott and the republicans who caused the January 6 attack on our government, and they want the ability to continue supporting such actions.
“Youth Sports” – It’s just a nice way of saying they want to ban trans kids from playing team sports with those with whom they identify. It is child abuse and Abbott and the republicans want to legalize this discrimination. They are not protecting anyone with such an awful, bigoted proposed law. They are leaving these children vulnerable to legalized abuse in their own communities and schools. I’d say it has been their goal all along.
Critical Race Theory – Chicano and African American scholars and academicians have provided a rich and well-researched History of Texas (way before the Alamo book that offended racists (Dan Patrick) recently) that most of the time will provide a broader view to the narrow, hero-worshipping indoctrination that is forced upon Texas children. There are various truths that have historically gone avoided, and at times, have been embellished to make Texas seem as something it is not. Greg Abbott and republicans want a whites-only approach to Texas and US History because that is what they have always promoted, and they certainly do not want a history of Texas taught that will teach Texans the reasons for republican public policy. The less Texans know the truth, the better it is for Abbott and republicans to get away with their lies.
The republicans have the majority to pass these bigoted laws. But for Greg Abbott to sell white supremacy as putting “the people of Texas first and [to] keep the Lone Star State on a path to prosperity” is an insult to our intelligence. We know what he and his minions are doing. It is emboldened institutional racism wielding its power over Black and Brown people, as well as Women and LGBTQ+ Texans. They don’t even care that the electric grid is ready to collapse and that Texans are in need of Medicaid expansion. They know exactly who they are targeting with this wasteful special session.
Texans have a choice. Unfortunately, Texans have had this choice ever since the republican majority came to be and even the moderates have chosen bigotry all of these years. It is time to recognize the racism of republican policies, stop making excuses, and rid Texas of this republican majority.