I was born in a small town in Texas in the ’80s. I was taught from a young age about Texas pride and our independent spirit. No other state had such great food, Blue Bell ice cream, and acres of land in every direction. Yet as I grew up, I started to notice the cracks in the facade. In Texas, you were taught that girls were to be seen and not heard, the good ol’ boy system was the only way to get ahead, and that the constant racism and bigotry for many Texans of color was normalized and accepted in families of all generations.
When I moved away from Texas during my preteens, I was finally able to experience different cultures and ideas that opened my eyes to a world outside our state. Since moving back as an adult, I have had many mixed emotions. I have been encouraged by the progressive shift in politics by many of the major cities. I was proud to participate in marches about protecting our basic rights as citizens. Also, the fact that Fort Worth almost turned blue after years of oppressive Republican leadership was a big step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, that is when many politicians, including our governor, got really scared. It has made Greg Abbott double down on his mission to follow in Trump’s footsteps and drag Texas back to the Dark Ages. Sadly, he has been mostly successful because there are a lot of Texans who support his draconian vision. Those people who scream “my body, my choice!” about wearing masks also say in the same breath that it’s OK to not allow women to have power over their own bodies. These Texans who also reject science believe in conspiracy theories and would rather take vet meds than get vaccinated against COVID, the same ones who believe blue lives matter more than black lives, who get killed by police brutality every day, the citizens who still think that Donald Trump should be our president, despite causing a violent insurrection on our Capitol steps.
When all that backwards thinking feels so overwhelming and it seems like we are becoming a real-life version of The Handmaid’s Tale, I take a moment to recognize people are still fighting. They are planning protests and using social media to spam the abortion watchdog sites that are already popping up on the internet. Texas women who have moved to other states are offering medical access and places to stay for the women who will now need them. Some Texas public schools are suing Abbott to get mask mandates enforced so they can protect their students and teachers. Many cities are setting up more vaccination sites to encourage people to get vaccinated. Also, many Texans are voting more than ever to get people elected who represent a more liberal change to the outdated conservative relics currently in charge.
All this reminds me that the Texan independent spirit can be a positive source as well because it really encourages us to stick up for what we are passionate about. Hopefully, that will help to really band us together to vote out Abbott and those like him next year. Until then, we have to remember that we all have the power to keep fighting. We Texans need to connect, march, call, protest, and make our voices heard over the white noise of the patriarchy. Let us finally be proud again and not ashamed of our great state of Texas.
This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will be edited for factuality and clarity.