Texas Republicans: Making Texas Schools and Texas Cities Unmanageable

This grift is happening in all Republican states, but especially Texas, where we just watched fascism ascend in the 87th Texas Legislature.

I believe the 87th Texas Legislature featured the ascendance of a brand American fascism that had heretofore been constrained by business and libertarian factions in the Texas GOP.

The law enables him to essentially operate as a dictator, and Greg Abbott is beginning to do just that.

Source: Grits for Breakfast: In what world are mask mandates too draconian but COVID justifies massive law enforcement deployments and new detention camps for migrants? Oh yeah: Greg Abbott’s Texas

Two of the main targets of this ascending fascism are public education and blue cities.

The GOP base in Texas includes totalitarian, racist elements which lately have been swirling in a near-policy-free furor of anger and resentment. By engaging with libertarian factions and more compassionate elements in the religious wing of the party, I’ve argued in innumerable trainings and funder conversations, the criminal-justice reform movement in Texas was attempting to “blunt the spear tip of American fascism.”

In 2021, the spear tip was unsheathed and thrust deep into the body politic: A combination of the pandemic, President Trump’s defeat, and the January 6th insurrection seem to have finally awakened the beast. This was the year the far-right wing of the party finally got its wish list they’d been denied in the 20 years since Republicans took power in Texas: The entire legislative session was about abortion, guns, jingoism, and “backing the blue.” Compassionate conservatism and non-gun-themed libertarianism were more or less banned from the building, or at least the eastern wing.

The Texas House, with a larger, more ideologically diverse membership, retains a broader array of Republicans that still includes some “small government” and/or “compassionate” types. They managed to pass several significant criminal justice reform bills, but virtually nothing of consequence made it through the senate. Reforms with overwhelmingly positive, bipartisan polling numbers like reducing marijuana penalties and ending arrest/jail for Class C non-jailable traffic offenses could never even get committee hearings on the eastern side of the building. Instead Sen. Joan Huffman wasted weeks on a failed effort to gerrymander appellate courts to rescind recent Democratic gains.

Some of this lurch toward totalitarianism was overt and ham-handed, perhaps most notably legislation to require sports teams to play the Star Spangled Banner. More insidious were attempts to control historical narratives about race and slavery in Texas schools and museums. These efforts were as shameful as they were transparently authoritarian. We’re just a step or two away from parading historians through the streets in dunce caps.

Perhaps the most subtly fascist influence radiating out of this session was HB 1900, ostensibly punishing cities that “defund police.” Large cities and counties henceforth must prioritize spending on law enforcement, leaving roads, parks, social services, or any other traditional municipal functions to wither in a time of massive urban growth.

Grits believes the purpose here is both political and dystopian: Texas’ large cities are now almost all (but Fort Worth) run by Democrats. So the Governor and his allies aim to make cities un-manageable, then blame Democrats for mismanaging them.

Also: Grits for Breakfast: Fascism Unsheathed: Let’s be very clear about what just happened at the #txlege

The grift is effective. We’re trying a nearby private school for one of our kids this year. This school has mask and vaxx policies aligned with pluralism and public health instead of Christian alt facts and sadopopulism. It isn’t as beholden to the laws forcing Texas public schools into a showdown with the state.

All means all.

Free, life-changing, and available everyone.

Texas Republicans are using a pandemic to accelerate the trashing of public education and the breaking of those promises. I’m heartbroken and pissed.

Previously:

Republicans: A Relentless Source of Minority Stress

30 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature this year — that is 50% more than last session.

Equality Texas

So much of our life-force goes into fighting GOP bigotry and enduring the hate they seed, sew, nurture, and grow. The Republican Party is a relentless source of minority stress.

As we come to understand depression in the transgender community more accurately, it’s become clear that the major cause is what’s referred to as “minority stress;” that is, “stressors induced by a hostile, homophobic culture, which often results in a lifetime of harassment, maltreatment, discrimination and victimization.”

Source: When Worlds Collide – Mental Illness Within the Trans Community – Lionheart

Why are there greater mental health stresses on autistic people from gender-minority groups? To quote from the research paper,

“The increased rates of mental health problems in these minority populations are often a consequence of the stigma and marginalisation attached to living outside mainstream sociocultural norms (Meyer 2003). This stigma can lead to what Meyer (2003) refers to as ‘minority stress’. This stress could come from external adverse events, which among other forms of victimization could include verbal abuse, acts of violence, sexual assault by a known or unknown person, reduced opportunities for employment and medical care, and harassment from persons in positions of authority (Sandfort et al. 2007).”

Source: Ann’s Autism Blog: Autism, Transgender and Avoiding Tragedy

So. much. stress.

The Republican Party generates so much stress. It actively and directly harms productivity and life, at scale.

And it does so with the insistent ignorance of bigots that I know so well from childhood and from fighting for inclusion in our school district.

“SB 1646 (Perry) in Senate State Affairs, would add transition-related care to the definition of child abuse in the state of Texas and would target parents, guardians and anyone involved in administering that care.”

Equality Texas

This turns science and care on their heads. This inverts the moral universe. This is government-mandated conversion therapy that would force transgender kids to go through the wrong puberty.

So enormously ignorant and cruel.

And so very stressful.

Previously,