Texans proudly tout their “Lone Star” status in the U.S., a reference to the time they stood independent of the U.S. and Mexico for almost a decade in the mid 1800s. The “Lone Star” represented Texans’ willingness to stand alone with tales of heroism from their fight for independence from Mexico resounding to this day. Kudos for their bravery and determination.

However, political leaders in modern Texas seem to be following a different “Lone Star” than the courageous leaders of the past — enacting laws that are likely to impact other states. Many of today’s Texas politicians seem to want to stand apart from science and social responsibility. Led by Governor Greg Abbott, who refuses to allow schools or businesses to mandate masks or vaccinations, the Texas legislature responded weakly to the power crisis last winter and has passed a series of bills that will negatively impact many of their constituents, particularly those living in poverty, or those of color.

It’s as if the “Lone Star” state has its vision fixed on 1836, blinding them to all the other stars of the sky they could use to help them navigate successfully into the 21st century. They cannot even see the other 49 stars on the U.S. flag that have and continue to provide help and guidance in times of trouble.

Texas politicians have developed tunnel vision at the worst possible moment. Gov. Abbott has signed bills passed easily by the Texas Legislature restricting access to the ballot and women’s reproductive services, while working against health experts at the state and national level to combat the Covid-19 crisis.

The Texas Legislature took a novel approach to denying women their Constitutional right to reproductive decisions by enabling citizens to sue anyone involved in a medically indicated and performed abortion, including drivers to the clinic, patient registration clerks, and the doctor. By abdicating their law enforcement role to the public, Texas has found a new way to return the state to its 1836 gunslinger vision.

The same can be said for its approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed over 700,000 Americans, including over 60,000 Texans. Despite clear science calling for vaccine and mask mandates, Gov. Abbott signed SB 968 in June that prohibits governmental agencies (including municipalities) from issuing vaccine mandates and keeps private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination to gain admittance or engage in business. Over 4 million Texans have suffered from Covid-19.

This follows the failure of Texas to protect families from bitter cold last winter when their short-sighted “Lone Star” separation from the national power grid left millions without power and water for days causing many to turn to unsafe kerosene space heaters for warmth. And how did the Texas Legislature respond to this deadly event caused by its own policies? It responded by passing legislation requiring Texas energy providers to winterize their systems but provided no timeline or parameters for them to follow, provided only weak punishment for failure to comply, and provided no financial aid to those Texans devastated by the crisis.

Texas’ energy providers’ most immediate action following the close of the Texas Legislature’s regular 2021 session was to enrich Republican politicians with overly generous campaign contributions, with Gov. Abbott earning the most. Perhaps these providers felt their money was better spent on legislators than on customers like they might have in 1836.

Kansas and Missouri are two of the 49 other stars that provide input for our diverse national political experience. Both states have Republican-led legislatures like Texas, and, like Texas, have pushed against science and for individual liberties even when such policies put members of all ages in their community at risk of death, and pushed to deny women control over their own medical decisions (a contradiction that has yet to be explained despite the number of vaccine protesters carrying “My Body My Choice” signs).

Local governmental meetings in both Kansas and Missouri have become flash points for political resistance backed by the Koch brothers (through the Independent Women’s Forum, as noted by a recent article in The Washington Post) to public health orders designed to protect the population and shorten the time our economy must suffer at the hands of this pandemic. And both state legislatures continue to work on bills designed to limit women’s control over their own medical care.

Gov. Abbott has made it clear he intends to run for President in 2024, making his descent into darkness a credible threat to all Americans, including Kansans and Missourians. The thought of another try at “America First” policies that reject our alliances and treaties that have kept us safe and prosperous since the end of WWII in favor of a bullying foreign policy and more trickle-down economics with a heaping helping of misogyny frightens both of us.

It should frighten you too.

Jim Calvert is a retired English teacher and Bob Grover is Professor Emeritus at Emporia State University.

(20) comments

Smkiefer

I Love how the Liberal Green energy puppets push the mandate and the blame Texas when the Windmills and solar panels FROZE Up and didn't work???? I don't want to hear that this is not true, I worked for EDPR NA ,windfarm in Kansas and ours were not turning either!!!!! They don't work with ice covered blades!! and solar panel's don't generate power covered with snow and ice!!!

Aim_High

"A steep decline in energy generated by fossil fuels and nuclear power plants was largely responsible for the power outages in Texas during the deep freeze that recently gripped the state, according to the operators of the state’s power grid.

Despite that fact, several high-profile conservative figures — including the state’s governor — have wrongly placed the blame for power outages on wind turbines and have tied the issue to the Green New Deal, legislation Democrats proposed in 2019 with the aim of creating jobs and significantly reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions."

"34 gigawatts of power were offline. But of that, about 4 gigawatts was due to problems with wind turbines. The rest came mainly from the state’s primary sources, natural gas and coal."

You'd think someone who claims to have worked in the industry would be better informed...

Smkiefer

Keep drinking!! Obviously the majority of power is from Fossil and Nuclear? The Governor of Texas was spot on regardless if you want to believe it! The majority of power loss was actually the grid!! Not where the power was derived. The point is NO WIND TOWERS SPIN IN ICE PERIOD!

Aim_High

Plenty of turbines spin in ice... lol. There are videos of turbines with ice a foot thick... spinning slowly, but still spinning. I wonder how Pillar Mountain wind farm up in Kodiak Alaska ever produces any electricity in such an icy environment if "NO WIND TOWERS SPIN IN ICE PERIOD?" Swedens wind farms still operate in -30 degree icy weather. Plenty of wind farms operate in ice... with blade heaters or blowing hot air inside the blade... figured someone in the industry would know about deicing capabilities the majority of wind turbines have... Texas was just ill prepared and half their wind power still stayed spinning. But go ahead and keep pushing your lie that wind power caused the problems in Texas, lol.

Rationa1

You may not want to hear it, but Texas' windmills issue was that they were not properly winterized for the weather we were having. Texas' power issue was that they have disconnect from the rest of the nation. You're thinking from a local perspective, and that's not how the national power grid is set up, Kief. Well, OK, it's how the Texas power grid is set up, but that's a root cause of their problem.

Justice81

Texas's POWER SHORTAGE, OUTAGES...are and were 100 per cent TOTALLY the FAULT of The Texas Governor and all of his Gestapo!! Texas is becoming a Police State!

Justice81

What happened WAS TOTALLY TEXAS'S FAULT! It wasn't the Windmills and Solar Panels. It was how Texas did differently! We don't hear about those problems in way colder states. No, is the the NAZI CRAZIES RUNNING TEXAS....Like a POLICE STATE...which is what Texas is becoming.

Justice81

"CONSERVATIVES" Are NOT Conservative! Conservatives don't care at all about the Environment---Soil, Water, Air! If there is a dollar to be made, Conservatives don't care the least if the Water, Rivers, Soil, Air is Dirty! Like Slavery...still strongly Supported today by REPUBLICANS, CONSERVATIVES!!!!!! Conservatives are as Evil as any people, ever on Earth! Conservatives and Many Republicans ADMIRE the Taliban...keeping WOMEN in their place...AS "GOD" COMMANDED!

Elrod

All of this is based on your liberal point of you. As is every other Republican state as far as you’re concerned. The problem is the majority and each state rule just like it’s that way for the whole country as far as who controls Congress and the White House. As far as I’m concerned as a conservative Texas is govern just fine especially if you compare it with New York.

You may not like it but that is just the way it is.

Justice81

TEXAS HAS BECOME A POLICE STATE, LOADED WITH LYING REPUBLICAN POLITCIANS!

Justice81

What if Texas passed a law that would pay Citizens a bounty to turn in those making Illegal Turns, Going thru Red Lights, Abusing Animals (OOPS, with Texans and REPUBLICANS, and CONSERVATIVES....AND YOU,there is no such thing as ANIMAL ABUSE!) (As well as NO SUCH THING as Wife Abuse!)

Smkiefer

Exactly

Justice81

You are 100 per cent WRONG!

MWS

Texas have gone crazy. They need to return to sanity by passing better laws, like NY & CA. Vaccine cards mandated, masks for kids in kindergarten, firing nurses who are not vaccinated, require schools to teach CRT & the 1619 project, putting Covid positive patients into nursing homes to kill off the rest of the residents, raising taxes thru the roof to drive citizens and businesses to FL & TX, promoting BLM & Antifa to allow them to arson cities and loot retail stores and de-fund the police. Texas needs to wake up.

Larry

Give Texas back to Mexico....bet they won't take it.

Aim_High

I used to view Texas as a very patriotic state, but the fact of the matter is that in Texas, coronavirus has more reproductive rights than the women who live there. Very sad!

Justice81

Texas is trending towards a Police State. Texas isn't even as good as cattle yard droppings!

Justice81

UPDATING MY POST. TEXAS IS NOW A POLICE STATE...AGAINST BLACKS,MEXICANS AND DEMOCRATS.

blondie

I concur with your assessment. Their leaders drank too much Lysol Koolaid and it impaired critical reasoning needed to govern the masses.

Justice81

AMEN

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