On Friday, a video went viral on Twitter of Vice President Kamala Harris campaigning for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
Democrats campaigning for one another is common in the dynamics of politics because, like the familiar phrase, it’s not what you know it’s who you know. So, Harris, using all the clout she has, gave a speech to Viginians on why they should vote for McAuliffe.
“Let’s talk about the right that every woman in America has to make decisions about her own body, and not have other people tell her when she should make that decision, how she should make that decision, or if she should make that decision,” Harris said. “Don’t Texas Virginia.”
Obviously, she’s talking about Senate Bill 8, the anti-abortion law in the state which as reported time and time again has essentially banned abortions after six weeks.
But honestly, is that the White House’s best marketing tool to reach people in Virginia?
The reality is that pregnant Texans are being required to drive for hours and hundreds of miles out of the state for their constitutional acknowledged reproductive rights. This is not a drill America, this is real people’s lives. Like Abbott, bluntly said, “we’ve basically outlawed abortion in Texas.”
Not only are reproductive rights in Texas pretty much non-existent, but every single issue facing America right now is even more intensified in the Lone Star State because of bad policies and corrupt politicians.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has done everything he can to make sure women, people of color, lower income communities, the LGBTQ community, more specifically transgender children, people with disabilities, immigrants fleeing from political turmoil, and homeless people living on the street are oppressed under Texas law. No one can deny that in Texas’ latest legislative sessions, constituents and elected officials were literally fighting for their rights.
And the numbers prove it. In September, Abbott’s approval rating fell to 41 percent and 50 percent of Texans voted in disapproval of his performance as governor, according to a poll by the Texas Politics Project.
From the COVID-19 pandemic, gerrymandered redistricting maps, economic instability, healthcare, voting rights, criminal justice reform, the power grid, reproductive rights, immigration reform, public education, climate change, affordable housing, lousy gun legislation, and the list goes on and on and on.
These are real issues that everyday Texans have to deal with and work through. It’s not a catchy slogan or a dream that someone can suddenly wake up from.
This is a real world nightmare that activists, journalists, community organizers, and Texans have been working and fighting for years.
And I say all this to emphasize that I don’t think Harris or even the people of Virginia are ill intended, but I do think making light of our situation in a campaign slogan isn’t a good idea either.
A lot has happened and a lot has changed since Biden visited the state in February after the winter storm and since Harris visited in June at the Texas-Mexico border. I understand that people are busy and change takes time, but we Texans’ patience is running low.
Despite this, one thing the 2020 presidential election showed the nation is that Texas is more blue than people think.
According to election statistics, Trump beat Biden in Texas by less than six points. It’s obvious that Texans want a change, and Democrats could use this momentum to draw people in.
The truth is, the more and more time is wasted in negotiations with Sens. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, or voting rights legislation continues to be blocked with three Democrat-controlled branches of government, the more people’s frustration with the system grows.
So to Harris, Biden, and the White House: don’t be surprised when Black people, Brown people, Asian people, LGBTQ people, the disability community, and allies across the state don’t show up to the polls to vote for you. Unless you start showing up for them.
Let me be clear, I’m not writing this piece to rain on the Democrat’s parade or even suggest voting for Republicans or not voting at all. As a Black woman from the South, my ancestors died for the American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So I’m working for them. What every American and even more human beings deserve.
So the fight for justice and equality for me and every organizer, activist, voter, and worker continues, but now more than ever we need leadership to fight back. And I mean really fight. Like your life depends on it because for a lot of Texans, it does.
Because this moment in history is about more than a gubernatorial campaign, a catchy campaign slogan, or even Washington D.C. politics, this is about saving humanity and standing up for Texans when they need support the most.
And lastly, shoutout to all the Texans making good trouble. We appreciate you.
Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.