Boycott its blue cities, its red rural towns, its tony exurbs. Don’t choose Texas for your vacations, staycations, or conventions. Don’t worry. The Riverwalk will still meander through downtown San Antonio without you. Austin’s 6th Street will always echo with boisterous drunks with or without your help. Houston’s moveable feast of world cuisines won’t disappear entirely. It will still be there when and if Texas ever returns to sanity.
Do not send your young people to Texas for higher education. Our Republican Party is at war with the young because Zoomers — having spent too much time under their desks in lockdown drills — don’t buy into the GOP’s insane AR-15 idolatry. Boycott the state universities, but don’t stop there. Boycott the private ones, too. Texas wants to make it hard for college students to vote, take away a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, flood our streets with firearms, and overregulate what can be taught. The legislature knows it can get away with that with no cost at the ballot box. Make it pay in this way.
Boycott Texas products — American Airlines, ExxonMobil, Southwest Airlines, Dell, all of them. Boycott all things Texas because the state has become a beachhead of far-right, white, Christian Nationalist blowhards whose true mission is to serve the wealthy while joyfully scapegoating the most vulnerable: the poor, the homeless, minorities, immigrants, and trans teens.
Texas is No. 1 in banning books and is home to one of the most draconian anti-abortion bills, the most gerrymandered political maps, the most anti-immigrant laws, the most lax gun safety legislation, and the most anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Some bills that could pass the legislature this session include SB 1933, which would give Texas’ Secretary of State the power to take and directly administer elections in any county, and SB 1029, which makes it extremely difficult for transgender Texans of any age to obtain gender-affirming care.
We have a governor who’s in competition to out-crazy Florida’s for the Republican presidential nomination. We have a radicalized state government gripped by three toxic ideas: sTOp ThE sTeaL, anti-immigrant, and anti-trans. What makes this especially heartbreaking is that we have real issues that the legislature should be dealing with. We’re the No. 1 emitter of toxic substances into our waterways. We also have the most people without health insurance, worst access to mental health care, and lowest overall well-being for children. Texas is failing our youth while its legislators whine about wokeness, whatever the hell that is.
I don’t propose boycotting Texas idly. I hate the thought of small businesses suffering and vulnerable service workers losing their jobs, yet I don’t see any other way to hurt all the lords and ladies in Austin. We live in a one-party state. Who can we beseech to moderate Texas’ John Birchy Republican Party? Can we convince the fundamentalists who now believe in a religion so at odds with the traditional Christianity of mercy, humility, and compassion that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the opposite of Christianity? Nope.
Can we reason with rural voters who though they’re hurt by hospital closings in their areas still back the Republicans whose refusal to expand Medicare is the cause of those closings? No.
Can we convince those ensconced in the far-right news silo of the rightness of our positions? No way, despite what the rest of us now know about all the brainwashing b.s. coming from Fox “News.”
Can we convince Second Amendment fanatics that continuing to inundate our country with weapons, leading to an increase in mass shootings, suicides, and gun deaths, hasn’t been such a great idea after all? They won’t listen. They’re fine with the mutilated bodies of elementary school-aged children just to never be slightly inconvenienced by common sense gun regulations.
Who can we convince? While Texas is home to a good number of rich rapacious rednecks who are all in on right-wing authoritarian governance, many large and small business owners don’t buy into the angry and hateful rhetoric of today’s Republican Party. We can’t blame the mom-and-pop shops. What are they gonna do? Pick up and move to Vermont? But you can bet the big boys, all the mega-corporations, love conducting business in a low-tax, anti-regulation state. They may or may not be embarrassed by all the crazies. As long as their bottom lines aren’t hurt, maybe they’re OK with all the hate and scapegoating. If we boycott them, they might not develop a conscience, but they, by the power of their vast money and influence, might moderate Texas’ far right Foxified Republican Party.
This column reflects the opinions of the author and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. He will gently edit it for clarity and concision.