So I’m from and currently live in Texas. Often this is a good thing. My family lives here, there is BBQ and Tex-Mex a plenty, margaritas galore, and I guess that’s it. Depending on your criteria, that might be all you need. Oh yeah, and compared to living in Manhattan for two years this place borderlines on free.
However, Texas is wont to pass abhorrent legislative measures that perpetuate the thought that Texas is filled with white men who hate everyone who isn’t also a white man. One of the reasons I left Texas nine years ago was that they passed a gay marriage ban. I had a not great boyfriend at the time who disgustedly said to me “your family is probably going to vote against the ban, aren’t they?” Uh yeah, dude. Duh.
Then a couple of years ago, you may remember a then unknown senator Wendy Davis who filibustered SB5, which was a law to ban abortion after 20 weeks and require abortion centers to adhere to the same standards as fucking hospitals. This too was eventually signed into law.
And Monday, our good friends at the Capitol, just a few miles from where I am sitting, passed a bill through that would make it virtually impossible for underage girls to get an abortion without parental consent. Their reasoning, parents have a right to their daughters bodies? Ho-kay.
I know a lot of people don’t agree with me. And don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an abortion debate. I think my thoughts are clear and that’s how I’ll leave it. Where I am troubled is that I love living here. Mostly because of the reasons I mentioned above. But it makes me really angry when the people I don’t vote for— the people I do vote for can’t get elected because of INSANE redistricting— pass laws that take away what I and many others believe to be unalienable rights. Marrying whoever you want and getting to make whatever choice you deem is best for your body. It’s not like anyone is asking for a free pass for murder. Oh, wait, we have the death penalty here! Score!
So what are people like me supposed to do? The state song is “Texas Our Texas”. But whose Texas? Certainly not mine. I get angry and threaten to leave again. I think to myself, there must be better options where there are more like-minded people. Right? Another lyric in the song states “Texas, dear Texas! From tyrant grip now free,” but who feels free here? Our Governor said that the plastic bag ban that we passed in Austin was an assault on Texans’ freedom. I’m just going to leave that there.
When Wendy Davis was standing on her feet for 13 hours straight, men and women descended on the Capitol in droves in support. It didn’t matter. Voices were heard, yes, People around the world were sort of made aware that we aren’t all like the lawmakers trying to govern women’s bodies. We vote, though it’s mostly an exercise in futility, we advocate to the best of our abilities. Maybe someday, it will be better. LGBTQ and women will have more claim on their own lives and bodies. Maybe. There has to be hope. Because without it, we perish.
I couldn’t think of the turn of phrase “exercise in futility”. It’s early and I haven’t eaten. I asked my mom this:
What is the word for when you do something out of habit or necessity even though it won’t make a difference? Like voting Democrat in Texas?
Her response: Um…integrity?
That’s why I stay I guess.