Texas Politics, 2024, And Musings From Michelle
The Lone Star Left Chronicles: Resisting and Persisting in 2024.
With four special sessions now under our belt, it’s easy to classify 2023 as a “hell year” handed to us by Texas Republicans. Over the last year, our GOP legislature has:
Outlawed healthcare for transgender youth.
Passed a “show me your papers” law.
Put unlicensed chaplains in our schools.
Banned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on college campuses.
Made Texas an Oil and Gas Sanctuary State.
Turned making a mistake on a ballot into a felony.
Outlawed banks and investment companies from rating environmentally responsible companies.
Blocked cities from passing water breaks for construction workers.
Passed the Death Star bill, stripping cities of local control.
Prohibited cities from taking action on climate change.
Acquitted the corrupt Ken Paxton.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Although several of these bills, like the book-banning bill and the Death Star bill, have been blocked by higher courts, it still demonstrate the lengths to which the Texas GOP will go to enforce their agenda, disregarding not only the judicial pushback but also the voices of many Texans.
For years, depraved Republican voters have targeted my social media, telling me, “Go back to California” or “Leave Texas, we don’t want you here.” Of course, they think they’re being original and witty each time.
5th Generation Texan, 3rd Generation Dallasite.
You know us Texans, we’re always so proud of how long our family has been in the Lone Star State. For me, I’ve had family in Texas since the 1850s. And three out of my four grandparents were born in Dallas.
Does it matter? Probably not, but I say that to say I am not going anywhere. I have a huge family living in Texas. My husband has a huge family, and they all live in Texas. Our roots are here, my children’s roots are here, and I’m staying and will continue to fight for a better Texas for everyone.
So, when these GOPers come to my social media and tell me to “leave Texas,” they are barking up the wrong tree with that. I plan on staying in Texas with my family for the foreseeable future. (Although I don’t know what happens when the climate crisis gets so bad, climate migrations start happening.)
I think it’s important to say, because over the last few years almost all of us know a Democrat or a Liberal who has fled Texas. And a lot of them have. That’s okay. If you know someone fleeing, don’t shame them for giving up or plead with them how we need their vote.
The truth is that between new voters moving here, Gen Z turning 18, and convincing disengaged voters to participate, we still have more than enough possible voters in Texas to flip it blue.
It must be the time of year when we reflect on the past and think about the future because I’ve been doing much of that lately. And I realize that as my platform has grown, I have been trying to think of ways to have a more significant impact on state politics and efforts to turn our state blue. (If anyone asks, I’m an activist first and a writer/journalist second.)
Depending on how long you followed me and if you followed me on Facebook, in 2022, I tried to have one-on-one interviews with as many Democrats running for the State Legislature as I could. Even though I was a total bundle of nerves each time, it was something I felt had to be done.
Sometimes, local news stations will interview candidates running for office, even if they’re Democrats. But too often, Democratic candidates in Texas don’t get enough air time. I wanted voters to see the candidates and know what they’re about. That brings me to this:
Left In Texas - The 2024 Lone Star Left Podcast.
Starting January 10th and every Wednesday for the eight weeks leading up to the primary election, I will host the “Left In Texas” podcast at noon, talking with three to four Democratic candidates running for office in Texas each episode.
It will be live on this Facebook page and YouTube and then posted to the newsletter (here) on Wednesday afternoons. It’ll also be uploaded to podcast services (I’ll let you know more about that later).
I already have several candidates booked and am working on booking more. I’ll remind you about it and tell you who as the time gets closer.
There are so many Democratic primaries in Texas this year (yay!) that I’m unsure if I can talk them all before the primaries. But after the primaries, it’ll be easier to have one-on-one interviews with the Democratic nominees. We’ll see how it goes. I only have the eight weeks planned leading up to the March primary.
I know you’re thinking: Why Wednesday? Why noon?
I have elementary-aged kids in school, so almost everything I do has to be done before 3 pm. And noon is when many people take their lunch breaks, so if they want to watch it live, they can.
I won’t have any classes in the Spring semester on Wednesday, so it just works for me.
I’ve been taking six classes each semester, including the summer, to try and hurry up through these degrees. I have two majors, English and History. (There’s a point to this, I’m getting there.)
I haven’t decided whether or not to keep going and get a Master’s or PhD in History, but I’m contemplating it. Most of all, I’m interested in Texas History, especially political history and the Confederate’s actions post-Civil War.
If you followed me on the Living Blue in Texas website a few years back, you may remember articles I wrote about historical events in Texas or events that happened in cities that have Confederate Statues.
Musings on Confederate Statues?
Yes, I hate those fucking things and what they represent. Every person of color or leftist I’ve spoken to in rural Texas where these racist rocks still stand has said to me, “As long as those monuments are on the courthouse lawn, Black people will never see equal justice in this town.”
As a third-generation Dallasite, learning about how these battles over Confederate lawn ornaments were happening in the wake of George Floyd infuriated me. Then, watching County Commissioners Court hearings over these statues, including the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was absolutely stunning.
Although, in Georgetown and Weatherford, the battle of the Confederate statue still rages on, it’s died down in many cities and communities.
I’ve always been a cause-and-effect type of person, which is probably why I love history so much, but in 2020, I started looking at the histories behind many of these statues. I was shocked at what I found.
The Confederate statue in Weatherford is built over the bodies of lynched enslaved people.
The ode to white supremacy in Gainesville is especially heinous because Gainesville is also the site of the largest mass hanging in American history. Forty-one suspected Union sympathizers were hung in one day around the time of the outbreak of the Civil War.
The monument in Kaufman was removed and stored in the 1950s, where it was broken. But the United Daughters of the Confederacy convinced the County Commissioners to put it back on the courthouse pavilion, even though it’s still broken.
It seemed like all of these stupid rocks had a story. In 2024, I plan on telling more of their stories because I don’t believe they have a place in 2024, and they don’t have a place in Texas.
Regarding these stories, I made a historical discovery when researching one of these statues in South Texas. I really, really, really want to tell you about it, but it’s going to have to wait. I’m working with one of my professors on an essay and then trying to get it published in a Historical Journal. (Exciting, right?) But the process is taking forever. Y’all will be some of the first to know when it gets published, but I don’t gatekeep, so I’ll retell the story here.
While Republicans diligently work to erase history, deny the Southern Strategy, and lie about America’s past, I feel like telling the truth about our past is more important than ever. I hope you agree.
What else am I planning in 2024?
This is a much bigger project I’ll be working on throughout the year and will likely be a multi-part series. I plan on confronting our state legislators with their ancestral history.
Earlier this year, Reuters published, “More than 100 U.S. political elites have family links to slavery.”
Of course, as a history major, I found it fascinating. And I have already done lots of digging on several state legislatures. Here are some of the articles I wrote afterward:
The reaction I got from these articles was mixed. Some readers also thought it was fascinating; others asked, “Who cares?” Or, “What’s the point?”
I have dug into a lot of Texas Republican’s ancestry, and many of their ancestors owned enslaved people. Greg Abbott included. This is Texas, after all, and if you’re a white fifth, sixth, or seventh-generation Texan…or even Southerner, the odds that you have something like this in your history are higher than the people who came from up North or ancestors immigrated here after the Civil War.
So, what’s the point?
To bring more attention to the Confederate statues and what they represent.
To confront Republicans with their own legacies when they’re working so hard to erase history and push for racism.
Because I think it’s interesting.
But Michelle, you’re a white fifth-generation Texan, so what about your ancestors?
It would be hypocritical of me not to confront my own ancestral history. And I will gladly do it publicly when I publish the secrets I uncover about the GOP’s legacies. Of course, unlike the GOP, I believe in reparations and will advocate so.
You can still expect to see the same political content from me in 2024.
The Texas Legislature will remain my main focus because it’s an election year, and it is bound to get crazy. The GOP has lost all sense of reality, and Texas Democrats are hitting back. We’re in for one hell of an election year.
Until then, double-check your registration for the 2024 primary, and have a safe and happy New Year.
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