I like to talk about politics, not for the sake of talking, but in the hope that enough of us getting involved and voting our values can change things for the better.
Hate reading about teachers having to dip into their own wallets to make sure their students have pencils and notebooks? Sure you do. Breaks your heart a little, doesn’t it?
Do you dry your tears and then vote for Republican politicians who have passed budgets that fail to meet our constitutional requirement to fund public schools adequately in Texas? If you do, then I question whether you really care about those teachers or those kids.
Ahhh, voting. We suck at voting in Texas:
In 2010, Texas ranked 51st in voter turnout, 42nd in voter registration, 49th in the number of citizens who contact public officials and 44th in the number of people who discuss politics a few times a week or more.
51st? But don’t we have 50 states?
Yes, but we’ve got Puerto Rico as well, and their voter turnout, even though they don’t get to vote in federal elections and have citizenship but no voting representation in Congress, was ahead of ours.
Bummer, huh? Well, look at it this way: we were ahead of Guam and the US Virgin Islands.
Some might suggest that when your silver lining is better voter turnout than Guam, you’re really looking at a cloud wrapped in lead. And it is weighing you down while poisoning you.
So, voting. We don’t do it very well, but at least there’s no one stopping us, right?
There are groups so worried that voter fraud is rampant that they have taken it upon themselves to audit the voter registration rolls. This article in that link is from 2012, but this work is still happening in Harris County right now. RIGHT NOW.
Right now, that is, at a time when shifting demographics are on the brink of flipping Texas R to D. Coincidentally, their “citizen audit” seems to disenfranchise minority voters, whose votes tend to the D.
Or, you know, their “citizen purge” of the voter rolls intentionally targets those voters under the misdirect that they are preventing in-person voter fraud:
Let me be crystal clear: in-person voter fraud is not what True the Vote is trying to prevent. They are trying to prevent certain people, people whose skin color also puts them at risk for things like being shot by the police for no reason, from voting.
That brings me to an article in this morning’s Dallas Morning News that I think every Texan who votes, or who is affected by politics and government, needs to read:
Abbott’s Houston raid didn’t end with arrests,
but shut down voter drive
By James Drew
On an overcast Monday afternoon, officers in bulletproof vests swept into a house on Houston’s north side. The armed deputies and agents served a search warrant. They carted away computers, hard drives and documents.
The raid targeted a voter registration group called Houston Votes, which was accused of election fraud. It was initiated by investigators for Attorney General Greg Abbott. His aides say he is duty-bound to preserve the integrity of the ballot box.
His critics, however, say that what Abbott has really sought to preserve is the power of the Republican Party in Texas. They accuse him of political partisanship, targeting key Democratic voting blocs, especially minorities and the poor, in ways that make it harder for them to vote, or for their votes to count.
A close examination of the Houston Votes case reveals the consequences when an elected official pursues hotly contested allegations of election fraud.
It may seem like old news, but the Republicans play long ball. Bare knuckles, scorched earth long ball. What’s going on now is the legacy of Lee Atwater, and that’s an ugly, ugly legacy. I don’t invoke it lightly.
Get ready. November, 2014 is going to be a rough ride.