When I toss out a phrase like “The tyranny of zealots” or “Rule by a morally bankrupt minority that brings night terrors to good people” what mental picture do you draw? Jackbooted Nazis? Long bearded Iranian clerics? How about plantation owners on the Texas coast? Did you know that in 1860 there were several Texas counties where slavery was so entrenched and profitable for the ruling class that the number of enslaved Africans was far greater than the number of White residents? Privately, the masters wrote letters to one another about their mortal fear that those in bondage would rise up against them while they slept, yet they repeatedly doubled down on their perfidy, all while extolling the biblical virtue of their position. And that, fellow Texans, is precisely where we find ourselves in the summer of 2022.
Is this hyperbole on my part? Hell, no. It’s recapping for the ten millionth time not what can happen, but what is happening and continue if the zealots reign unchecked. Plus I’ll throw in my thoughts on precisely who’s at fault for this fine mess. I’ve watched the gnashing of capped teeth and the wringing of impeccably manicured hands these last many days over the overturning of Roe v. Wade and wondered just where these people have been for the last four decades. This evil march to the unbridled minority rule to which the Republican power brokers are so committed starts squarely with the Reagan administration. Without that clueless former darling of the right, Fox News, the demise of unions and antitrust laws, and yes, President Trump, never happens. Where were you violated souls when the Voting Rights Act was gutted? What were you doing for forty years as the NRA convinced tens of millions of Americans that a century of judicial regulation on gun ownership never took place? The answer is not enough.
And don’t think for a second that it will end there. Clarence Uncle Thomas clearly laid out the rights that he wants to see eliminated next. Same sex marriage and same sex relationships? The radical right, and let’s start calling them exactly what they are, wants those gone. Contraception, bad according to the Church, therefore unacceptable to the Ayatollahs of SCOTUS. Good public schools? Not on their watch. The right to vote, well, that just depends on who you want to vote for, little missy. Understand it clearly. The radical right is against most every Enlightenment ideal upon which our flawed nation was founded, and who is letting them run amok over our lives and our Constitutional precedence? I’m looking directly at the people who are complaining loudest.
I can understand why the top ten percenters cast aside morality to vote for what they misguidedly feel is their financial interest. I also believe that they are succumbing to short term greed, and their hideous cynicism makes me view each and every one of them with a disdain that I generally reserve for poisonous reptiles and New York Yankees fans. I can even somewhat explain to myself why a caricaturish redneck or set-in-her-ways senior will vote against every one of their self-interests. Victims of a woefully inadequate education and a failed social support system are easy targets for manipulators who give them someone to blame. When some slick, calculating idea salesman whips out his bumper sticker stereotypes and pits these people against groups with whom they, in any sane universe, share virtually every basic need, these poor saps fall for the three card monte every single time. It’s worked for centuries throughout the world, more often than not using racial or ethnic wedges as the tool.
What I cannot remotely grasp is how people live with themselves when they complain about the system, then don’t bother getting off their lazy butts to go vote. I’ve heard all the excuses, and so have you. “What’s the point, the red side will win no matter what I do.” “I am not sure I like either candidate.” “I don’t know enough about the issues.” “I don’t want to wait in line.” Lest you think that I will reserve my name calling exclusively for the other side, I’d like to be clear. You are as much a short-sighted coward as anyone in this equation.
We’ve all heard repeatedly the snide comments about progressives shooting themselves in the foot, genetically unable to get out of their own way. It’s best summed up in the words of that undervalued philosopher Homer Simpson who said, “It’s funny because it’s true.” We all have our own examples, but I’ll offer you one anyway. I was unfriended on Facebook by a person I’d known in real life for over 30 years because I dared say that I was voting in the primary for Elizabeth Warren instead of Bernie Sanders. I only wish I was making that up. This petty pursuit of the unicorn of perfection put Donald Trump in the White House. That means it put Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Sister Coney Barret on the Supreme Court. Period.
The demographics in Texas clearly show that the radical right jackholes who run our state are in the minority. For three elections, I’ve been waiting for the other boot to drop, but the people who could change things sit on their hands. Anyone looking at a national map should be able to tell you that if Texas turns blue or purple, it is game over for the faux-Christian Taliban. If the national Democratic party sank a boatload of money into statewide Texas races and get out the vote efforts, the entire nation benefits. But the clever columnists at the Washington Post would rather pen glib words saying “Let Texas secede,” and the limousine liberals in Los Angeles would prefer to write Texas off as if it were a monolithic Gilley’s.
For the sake of the high and mighty libs on both coasts and the hand wringers at home, let me offer two indisputable facts. 1. Only three other states produced more votes for Hilary Clinton in 2016 than did Texas. 2. For many decades, Texas has routinely been in the bottom five states for voter turnout. We have had statewide elections with Congressional races on the ballot when the Texas voter turnout failed to top 18% of those eligible. That’s beyond embarrassing. It's disgusting. Now add those two facts together.
So, what are my suggestions at the end of this partisan rant? They are these: Stop asking inane social media questions like “Where is all the outrage from men over the loss of Roe?” or suggesting that we institute mandatory vasectomies. For that matter, stop assuming that people of a different gender or race are incapable of recognizing injustice which you take personally. That in itself is bigotry. Stop threatening to move to another state, you coward. Instead, gather some big kid gumption and fight back.
Take your outrage and focus it. There are over four months until Election Day in Texas. Get out there and preach, but in a non-preachy way for a change. Truly grasp the fact that NO candidate will ever agree with your views without exception, so put the better option in office and then lobby over the details. Stop rolling over like a porch dog for those who are harming our nation. Bombard the national Democratic machine with demands that they spend many millions of dollars in Texas. If it won’t cost you your job, sign on to campaign in a statewide race. Dig deep and donate money to candidates both in Texas and in a few other key races in other states. I loathe the outright bribery we Americans call “campaign finance,” but it’s the only system we have, and in this case, we must dance with the devil before we can hobble him. In short, get involved like you’ve never been involved before. National change begins at home.
These current Texas plantation holders may rarely admit it publicly, but they are as scared as their 1860 counterparts that there will be an uprising at the ballot box and that they will lose their corrupt fiefdoms. Make their fears come true. Vote, and get out the vote, like your life depended on it. It very well may. And besides, it’s your fault we are in this mess in the first place.