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The Power of Your Voice: Transforming Texas Through Voting
Why non-voters hold the key to a progressive Texas.
As a non-voter, you always have an explanation for why you don’t vote. My vote doesn’t matter. I’m too busy. I don’t follow politics. I’m not into politics. The game is rigged against me.
In Texas, there are millions of people just like you. In fact, the voter turnout in Texas is the lowest of any state.
Texas’s problems aren’t because of National Politics or who is president. Texas’s issues are directly because of the state government and the harm they intentionally did to Texans. You may or may not already be aware of this, but any actions other states or the federal government take are constantly tested in Texas first. That’s why Texas was the first to ban abortions and pass open carry. Texas has long been the testing ground for far-right Conservatism.
So, how bad is it in Texas? And how much worse will it get?
Banning abortion was only the tip of the iceberg. This week, Cochran County, which borders New Mexico, passed an ordinance making traveling through their county for an abortion illegal. They aren’t the first county to do this.
It’s now illegal in Texas to travel on certain highways if you’re a woman seeking to leave the state for an abortion. How long do you think it will be until they ban women from traveling altogether?
Don’t think that can happen? Ask women in Saudi Arabia if that can happen or not. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive without a male guardian.
But that’s unconstitutional. Right? It sure is, but in Texas state politics, the Republicans have a position of throwing as much unconstitutional legislation at the wall as seeing what sticks. Federal courts have already overturned dozens of bills from the last legislative session as unconstitutional. Still, the GOP vows to fight them all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. This happens every legislative session, and as Republicans have gotten more extreme, it’s only gotten worse.
Governor Greg Abbott was recently caught on video discussing building a barrier between Texas and New Mexico to stop women from leaving the state.
If you don’t plan on having an abortion or have an opinion in the abortion fight, that’s not the only way women’s rights are under attack.
Project 2025 is a roadmap for the future of America, led by the Heritage Foundation with contributions from dozens of Conservative think tanks and influencers. In Project 2025, they talk about banning contraceptives for women.
Justice Clarence Thomas even said the Supreme Court should reconsider whether the Constitution gives Americans birth control rights. Birth Control will be on the chopping block next.
Your rights to divorce are also at risk.
Even if you don’t follow politics, it was probably hard to ignore recent news from the Texas Senate regarding Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial. Our Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick, made national headlines after taking what equates to a $3 million bribe to acquitt Paxton.
That bribe came from West Texas billionaires Tim Dunn and Ferris Wilkes. These West Texas billionaires have spent the last two decades using their money to try and turn Texas into a Christian theocracy and have pushed millions into candidates willing to implement their agenda. Jeff Younger was one of their recent candidates, who thankfully didn’t win.
Younger has been an advocate for denying women the ability to divorce their husbands.
This matters because Dunn and Wilkes, who were willing to pay $3 million to get Ken Paxton off of the hook, are equally ready to invest in candidates who will put legislation forward that will make women the property of their husbands.
The only way to prevent these things is to vote against Conservatism.
Black and brown students will be banned from attending Texas universities.
During the last legislative session, the Texas Legislature banned what they called “DEI” (diversity, equity, and inclusion). However, it was a ban on Texas universities from hiring more professors of color. Because of this new law, Texas A&M rescinded an offer letter to a Black professor because she was Black.
Yes, it was illegal and unconstitutional under the American Civil Rights laws, so Texas A&M was forced to pay a $1 million settlement.
During the Senate debates about banning Black and brown professors from Texas universities, the discussion came up on whether or not this would transcend to students. At that time, Senator Brandon Creighton said they couldn’t do that yet. They were waiting for the ultra-conservative Supreme Court to overturn affirmative action first.
In late June, SCOTUS overturned affirmative action. So, when the Texas Legislature returns in 2025, Conservatives already have plans in place to ban students of color from attending Texas universities.
Of course, that’s if we still have public universities by then. A recent survey from the American Association of University Professors found that over 1,900 university professors are seeking to find employment outside of the state. The political environment will be driving a mass exodus of academics in the coming years.
But it isn’t only higher education at risk.
Republicans in the Texas Legislature are looking to reimplement school segregation.
Houston ISD schools have a minority enrollment of 90%. Over the summer, the Texas Education Agency’s hand-picked board of managers replaced the district’s democratically elected school board. It was absolutely about race and was done at the behest of Texas’ white Conservative government.
This hand-picked board of managers has already begun removing all of the libraries and replacing them with discipline centers, sending a message to Houstonians that Black and brown children are meant to be disciplined instead of educated.
The HISD takeover is only the beginning.
Greg Abbott and far-right Republicans have been pushing all year for school vouchers. Private school vouchers are modern-day segregation.
While our Conservative government is 75% white, white Texas students only make up 26% of the student body. This is why Conservatives are pushing vouchers as a way to segregate white students away from others.
As a result, economically vulnerable students and students of color are disproportionately represented in public schools and underrepresented in private schools. A recent analysis concludes that students from low-income families make up only nine percent of private school enrollment and more than 50 percent of public school enrollment.
Voucher and tax credit programs structure choices to promote de facto segregation, contravene constitutional considerations, and threaten to dismantle hard-fought and socially beneficial historical progress. They represent a serious setback for universal free public education and the equality and equity goals it promotes.
These are only a few of the issues facing Texans in the 2024 election cycle.
And it will get worse if Conservatives are reelected. We have the power to change this. We have the power to make Texas a better place for all. All it will take is for the traditional non-voters to vote.
In 2020, 5.7 million registered voters didn’t make it to the polls, and Biden lost in Texas by only 600,000 votes. What kind of Texas do you want to live in? The Conservative hellscape where women and people of color have no rights? Or one where everyone is afforded the freedom and liberty the Constitution grants us?
The choice is all yours.