A reassuringly cool breeze ushered in Labor Day weekend across Central Texas, even as our collective societal temperature has skyrocketed. State politicians including those representing Central Texas have decided the best way to fight abortion is to step back from the fracas themselves and unleash Texans to sue their neighbors and co-workers for cash if they suspect they’ve helped facilitate such procedures. And despite the pleas of our men and women in blue, these same politicians have scrapped any state requirement that one sufficiently know gun laws and gun proficiency to carry a firearm.
Through a bill passed largely along party lines and sent to the governor, these same politicians seek to intimidate teachers enough that they’ll think twice about how forcefully they teach matters of race and racism — everything from the Dred Scott decision to Jim Crow laws. Ironically, this bill arises even though legislators passed a similar bill this spring and educators insist they don’t teach much-debated “critical race theory.” But our governor is anxious to bolster his conservative credentials ahead of a contested primary election. Thus another bill.
Meanwhile, many of us marvel at the hundreds of thousands of Americans in neighboring, hurricane-battered Louisiana seeking food, shelter and power this holiday weekend. Despite assurances by our state politicians in 2011, Texas’ own independently run power grid nearly collapsed in a winter storm several months ago, leaving millions of us in the cold and costing our economy between $80 billion and $130 billion. State politicians again claim the grid is fixed; consumer groups and energy experts warn otherwise.
Put all this together and you have a state government less engaged with the practical necessities of protecting commerce and ensuring the public welfare, more interested in pursuing radicalized notions such as keeping transgender people out of bathrooms and off sporting teams, deputizing Texans to sue one another for cash prizes over abortion allegations and threatening election workers with criminal penalties for failing to implement tedious and questionable voting restrictions.
Whether in the state or federal arena, we are increasingly stunned by the noisy excesses of our elected representatives who nonetheless get elected and reelected. We put these people in office. If we don’t like the product they produce, we must put aside almighty party loyalties and vote the scoundrels out, if only to teach the parties a lesson about what’s tolerable, and what’s not.
Even in the record turnout of 2020, nearly 35 percent of registered voters in our county didn’t show up at the polls. It’s no wonder the political product is radicalized, more about ideology than practical, common-sense solutions for the population at large. Our apathy at the polls leaves them with no checks or balances. We can’t do a thing about guns, but we can now sue someone we don’t know on suspicion of helping someone else get an abortion. We give lip service to making substantive changes to how our electrical grid operates, yet the real regulatory language is not yet on paper even as we move past Labor Day.
To quote “Game of Thrones,” winter is coming.