HOUSTON, TX – Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Republicans moved to continue the trend of normalized bigotry. Aside from Gov. Abbott’s state of emergency declaration and invoking the “invasion clause” (ArticleIV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution) in an apparent attempt to escalate the inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers, Republican legislators introduced bills criminalizing gender-affirming therapies for trans kids and kid-friendly drag shows.
As expected, conservative leadership went all-out in attacking individual freedoms. The same freedoms Tea Party Republicans claimed to be fighting for after the election of President Barack Obama. What began as a response to the election of a Black president, libertarian politicians won an astounding number of seats in Congress and state houses across the country.
Thus began the bigotry we’re seeing now.
After decades of white male Christian Evangelical whining, loud-mouthed extremists found a way to impose their will on the rest of us. While a minority, their tactics of gerrymandering districts all over the country amounted to them continuing their reign of bigotry. Despite these particular Republicans using “individual liberties” as campaign slogans to get elected, they are now on the attack denying non-white, non-cis, and non-male people their rights.
Individual freedoms such as the ability to vote unimpeded have become a staple in their political platforms. It’s a bigoted-driven policy meant to stifle non-white votes. All over the U.S., we’re seeing Black people and non-white Latinos struggle to let their voices be heard via the ballot box. In Texas, non-white districts were redrawn to include rural white voters diluting the power of Black and Latino voters all over the state, hence, minority control of the legislature.
To be clear, when I say “minority control,” I mean, those in power represent a minority of voters in any given state. Take gun control, for example. The vast majority of Texans support gun control measures to stem the rise in violent crimes. Universal background checks, raising the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles, and red flag laws all have broad backing, yet, the minority of those who think otherwise control the state government. Therefore, “minority control”.
Additionally, since white people are no longer the majority in the state, that also represents a “minority control” of Texas politics. Which is dangerous in itself. Especially when considering the rhetorical attacks on asylum-seekers who are represented as “Latino” in political discourse. You don’t see non-Latinos being trafficked across the country because we already know what happens when you include white-passing Latinos in that scheme. We saw it in Florida recently.
The Invasion Clause
Invoking the invasion clause was an idea originally presented by Trump crony, Ken Cuccinelli, to the governors of states along the border. While publicly balking at the idea, it seems Gov. Abbott’s office was working behind the scenes to find a more legitimate way to conjure up using the clause in both the U.S. and Texas Constitutions respectively.
Gov. Abbott may not have gone as far as Cuccinelli wanted him to, but he did employ the idea as presented to him by the well-known bigot. Cuccinelli wanted state governors to use armed national guardsmen to repel asylum-seekers with firepower. He wanted full-blown war-themed actions based on the racist rhetoric founded on the lie of an “invasion” at the Southern border.
Ken Cuccinelli once served as acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before he was removed from office by a federal judge. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said several directives put in place by Cuccinelli had to be set aside while declaring that the Trump administration violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act in appointing him in 2019.
Taking advice from someone who once declared that “The New Colossus” poem by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty referred to “people coming from Europe” while saying, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” exposes the white power structures behind Gov. Abbott’s policy decisions.
Let’s be clear, suggesting non-white asylum-seekers are a burden on society is another lie that has been employed by white supremacists dating back to the founding fathers. In other words, Gov. Abbott’s decision to side with that line of thinking exposes a concerted white nationalist effort on a political scale not unlike what we’ve seen throughout history. This is the same bigotry the United States was founded on. Now, they have the tangible power to exact their animus.
To presume there’s an invasion happening in the U.S. is to adopt racist and xenophobic talking points. Embracing such rhetoric exposes a lack of knowledge. While we can’t deny that in many cases the ignorance about asylum-seekers is willful, we must acknowledge that it’s based on the notion that somehow non-white people are taking something away from the proverbial “working class American” – which intentionally only means white people.
Liberty Means Death
Liberty is defined as, “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views,” and/or “the power or scope to act as one pleases.” So what then are these supposed libertarian politicians born of the Tea Party movement fighting for if not liberty? Their constant attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, particularly the trans community, are blatant duplicity with an authoritarian caveat.
Hypocrisy is a key component of fascism. Yes, fascism. What the conservative movement in the U.S. wants is what people in Latin America refer to as Christofascism. It’s the suppression and “othering” of people they don’t see fitting into their way of life. Mainstream libertarian politicians (see: Ted Cruz) and pundits alike (see: Glenn Greenwald) have adopted many conservative beliefs in order to garner and maintain support for their views.
However, their bigotry has been noted by many.
Historically, no one ever really listened to libertarians which is why they disguise themselves as “independent” or flat-out claim to be conservative Republicans. They, like every political mouthpiece, need an audience for their nonsense. If they were truly about liberty or freedom, they would be comfortable allowing trans people the freedom to be who they are. Instead, they now want to criminalize people just for being transgender or for simply being the parent of a trans child.
According to the bigots in power, it’s child abuse to affirm your child’s gender and help ensure their physical and mental well-being. However, studies show that children who struggle with gender dysphoria without support systems are more likely to die by suicide or be attacked in public resulting in physical harm and in many cases, death. But they don’t care about that. To them, it’s one less undesirable person.
Yet, somehow, in their feeble minds, ignoring a child’s struggles and taking them to Hooters isn’t child abuse. Most would say it’s hypocrisy. But that oversimplifies the motivations behind the political overreach regarding an individual’s right to be themselves. They’re not only denying a person’s right to be free, they now want to criminalize parents for taking care of their children.
If it doesn’t make sense it’s because it isn’t supposed to. They’re motivated by imposing a minority control over the majority disguised as the “will of the people” – which they are openly ignoring. For trans kids, that means their liberty could cost them their lives due to white men legislating what it means to be human based on a trivial worldview that makes sense only to them.
However, that hate and bigotry come at a real cost.