Texas can’t go back to normal

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Texas, this is where we’ve found ourselves.

Shut into our homes, only leaving for food or fresh air. Standing six feet from our parents when we deliver food to their homes. Missing our friends, our families, and careers. Wondering how long all this will last, and when life can go back to normal. 

I hate to say it, Texas, but normal hasn’t been working around here for a long time.

That’s because in this state, for too long it’s been normal to neglect public health and science writ large. It’s been normal for a group overwhelmingly composed of white men to try legislating away reproductive health and freedom. It’s been normal for the leaders of our state to turn a blind eye to children being locked in cages, away from their families, without access to health care or education or even soap to wash their hands or faces. It’s been normal for an entire political party to put the interests of the business lobby above literal human rights.

As the biggest public health pandemic of our generation has ravaged communities across the globe and here at home in the Lone Star State, we’ve been subjected to the same special kind of horror show we’ve become all too familiar with: the callousness and incompetence of the Republicans in charge of our state government in plain view.

This is a time when we desperately need leaders capable of communicating the seriousness of coronavirus and fighting like hell to get our state the personal protective and medical equipment we need to save lives. We need leaders who are willing to face the facts and make the unpopular decisions necessary to flatten the curve. 

Instead, we have a Lieutenant Governor suggesting that your grandparents would be happy to die for the cause of a robust economy, an Attorney General who found a backdoor way to try to ban abortion, and a Governor who doesn’t seem to know his ass from his elbow and continues to stall instead of issuing a vital, statewide stay-at-home order. And we have a senior US Senator, a man who has served on the bench as a judge in our Justice system and served as state Attorney General, openly spewing vile and hateful rhetoric about the origins of COVD-19.

And all of this is normal.

The weeks and months ahead will undoubtedly be some of the most trying we’ve faced as a state and nation, but I have no doubt that we’ll make it through it, because that’s what Texans do. No matter how morally outrageous the situation is, we come together. No matter how high the water is, we still wade through to help our neighbors. Texans have been finding solutions in spite of their government for generations, and we can do it again.

But we need to come together in November and do everything we can to elect leaders who are willing to confront our biggest problems. Texans deserve elected officials who believe science is real and facts matter, and who will never put our lives at risk for their donors’ bottom line.

This is our chance, Texas. Together, we can stand up and say loudly and clearly that we’re never going back to normal.

Don’t forget to wash your hands.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

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