Commentary: Parts of the past year have felt like living in an episode of Survivor. We’ve been isolated and had to provide food, fire, and shelter for ourselves. We have been tested both physically and mentally and have been progressively eliminated — too many of us did not make it.
Now that our winter of discontent is behind us, we have the long summer months and television reruns to look forward to. What does the future look like? It will not be pretty based on what is happening in our state legislature and the National Congress. And for the second year in a row, Pride festivities are canceled or reduced.
No Texas legislative session is complete without anti-LGBTQ bills proposed and this one was no exception. A controversial bill would have mandated that transgender student athletes play on sports teams based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their gender identity.
“The bill’s proponents said it was necessary to protect girls’ sports, arguing that allowing transgender girls to play on school sports teams gave them an unfair advantage because they have higher levels of testosterone,” wrote The Texas Tribune. LGBTQ advocates said the legislation was harmful and discriminatory against transgender Texans.
House Democrats pulled out their bag of tricks and spent much of the May 25 session using delay tactics to keep several GOP-backed bills from coming up in time to be debated. As the clock approached the midnight deadline, transgender pride flags began appearing on the House floor in recognition of the success of the stall tactics.
Not willing to accept defeat, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is asking Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session of the Texas Legislature in June to address the anti-trans legislation, as well as other conservative priorities.
There’s no Zac or A.C. to make this look pretty.
Besides making abortion all but impossible and voting harder, the Texas legislature passed the “Constitutional Carry” bill. The new law eliminates previous requirements that Texans must be licensed to carry handguns open or concealed along with fingerprints on file, completion of four to six hours of training, passing a written exam, and a shooting proficiency test. Soon the streets of Texas cities will be overrun with wannabe Matt Dillon. What could go wrong?
Enhanced and extended unemployment benefits have been a lifeline for millions of Americans since the pandemic struck and sent the economy reeling. Gov. Abbott pulled the rug out from under hundreds of thousands of Texans by opting out of the pandemic relief programs. Effective June 26, it will cut most unemployed Texans off from the aide that has sustained them the past months.
Citing the extra $300 in weekly benefits, Abbott said he is going to connect unemployed people with work instead of unemployment help. What he is really doing is connecting businesses and his donors to his pocketbook.
The move came after business groups were complaining they couldn’t find enough staff to adequately man their restaurants and other businesses. Signs like “no one wants to work anymore” began appearing on restaurant doors, when in reality what the sign should have said is “no one wants to work anymore for poverty wages.”
Abbott’s action shows the lack of empathy and respect he has for food and beverage workers. Max and Caroline would have a few choice words for the governor.
“You unlock this door with the key to imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone.”
Rod Serling uttered those immortal words as the opening monologue of The Twilight Zone. We can apply them to today’s Republican Party. Either that or they are just bats hit crazy. Many elected GOP officials are trying to convince Americans that we did not see what we saw on January 6. On that day of infamy, a defeated president incited an insurrection on our nation’s capital and tried to overthrow the results of an honest election.
They are calling the mob that assaulted over 140 police “tourists.”
“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos, pictures,” Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga) said. “You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
Never mind that same congressional representative was photographed helping to barricade the door to the House and cowering in fear behind a Capitol officer.
Many of our right-wing “friends” have become completely unhinged and irrational, much like their feckless leader, making it even more important for us to stay focused and united. From Washington to Austin, we are all wondering, “Who the hell is electing these people?”