The liberal coasts of New York and San Francisco can have terrible intellectual snootiness when it comes to Texas. They sometimes look down on the South, thinking their own stuff don’t stink. (It does, of course.) To a degree, you can’t blame them for some of the extreme policies coming out of Texas government.
A Texas House committee held a hearing on legislation that would subject women who had an abortion to criminal charges, potentially resulting in the death penalty. The state’s GOP heralds discriminatory bathroom and voter suppression bills. Our Legislature does not take a scintilla of a step to make health care cheaper and more accessible. (Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation – yippee.)
But: there’s a difference between our state government and the people of Texas. Many of our elected leaders— largely white sexagenarian men – do not reflect or represent the views of a huge chunk of the 29 million people who live here.
On diversity. Latinos will likely outnumber non-Hispanic whites in Texas by 2022. Houston alone has large African-American and Asian populations. Texas is home to one of the largest LGBTQ populations of any state.
On gun safety. A majority of Texans support “a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.” More than 90 percent said they support background checks for gun buyers.
“Throw away the stereotypes,” Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown has said. “Texas voters are in favor of tighter gun laws by a solid 14-point margin.”
On health care. More than two thirds of Texans support expanding Medicaid (2018 poll, Kaiser/Episcopal Health Foundation).
On separation of families at the border. A non-starter for most Texans, 57% of whom oppose it.
On immigration. A clear majority think “Dreamers” – those immigrants who come to the U.S. as small kids at no fault of their own – should stay.
On marriage equality. 55% of us agree with gays and lesbians marrying; 32% do not.
The bottom line is we’re not all that bad are certainly getting more progressive. But here’s the rub: Not enough of us, Democrats and Independents polled on the issues above and many others, are voting. That keeps mean-as-a-rattlesnake leaders in power.
As President Obama said, don’t boo, vote. Or, better yet, don’t tweet, vote.