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In Texas, it's reality vs. Greg Abbott and conspiracy theories
This goes for the nation too
Last night, attempting to watch the ABC nightly news (the only TV News in our home) I literally felt dirty watching the Republican attack ads, with their fear-mongering and utter dishonesty. They cross our TV screen, on an average of 10 ads for every one of the oppositions’ that which also include some fear-mongering, but are otherwise truthful. As an expert in the field of influence, I’m not your average viewer by any means. I know what these morally bankrupt politicians and their equally unethical marketeers are doing. Fearmongering via conspiracy theories is a powerful tool of influence, once an audience has been conditioned to accept certain, narrators. Today, I will use my home state of TX to outline the most prominent issues, dishonestly under assault in TX and very likely, in your home state as well.
The point of this article is to call attention to the threat to our democracy by politicians willing to literally say and do anything to win, including making anti-American/ anti-constitutional claims. At the moment, this approach defines the US Republican party, which I professionally refer to as, an anti-government, extremist movement, with a violent extremist, sub-movement. This is my professional opinion after most of my uniformed service in the CT/ Counterterrorism and anti-extremist community. I don’t make this statement lightly.
Here's the bottom line: “American democracy will fail under the weight of authoritarian rule, based on dishonest ideology. Case in point, was the Soviet Union of yesteryear. Our local areas, states, nations and in fact, the entire world has real problems to solve. Solving them requires focus, truth, facts, science and debate over them. Electing liars, thieves and conspiracy theorists simply means that our real problems will never be addressed. Authoritarians, when in charge use all of their time consolidating their power and enriching themselves at our expense. This isn’t a debatable point. Anyone who has lived and read a little history knows the absolute truth of this axiom. I’ve seen this in person in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and other less than hospitable places.
Historically, we’ve seen this from both parties and at different times, all historical American parties have run for office with the weight of dishonesty, proudly displayed around their necks. America has become fed up with them over time, ending with their demise, often for good or at least several years. In 2022 America, one major political party, the GOP, like their hero, Trump, has re-embraced dishonesty and conspiracy theories as a tool of “winning.” Their so-called “wins” are actually losses for TX and the American people. This coming Tuesday, I don’t advocate for any big-money political party but will stand firmly against the party who has run TX exclusively for 27 years.
Let’s look at what disgraceful and immoral dishonesty, that Gov. Greg Abbott and his Republican party are trying to push onto the good people of Texas.
Nothing is more of a focus for TX Republicans than the border, but not in any honest way either. Abbott and his crew would have us all believe that TX is under assault by an invasion of criminal illegal aliens. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it’s true that border crossings are up and that they do impose cost to the state but the Federal government covers the overwhelming majority of those costs via a variety of different programs/ budgets.
Border crossings into the US aren’t the only border crossings up. Globally, due to climate change connected, weather-pattern shifts causing drought/ famine there are countless migration issues. Like drought and famine, conflicts around the world, gangs, drug cartels, xenophobia that comes whenever there is a wave of populism such as we’ve seen for the past decade, are all causes, and not even all of them
Another of Abbott’s “fake news” is that a “criminal invasion” is occurring along with the cross-border numbers. Well, this isn’t even close to being true according to the CBP, Customs and Border Patrol official reporting. Please see the chart below from the CBP’s publicly accessible website:
If you prefer picture styled graphics, here’s a great one from Neighbor Scout, a terrific website for helping potential real estate buyers assess threats in neighborhoods. The darker colors are the most dangerous areas.
For all of Abbott’s and the TX, DPS/ Dept. of Public Safety, a once reputable state police force, nonsense claims, both have now been caught multiple times this past year, lying to Texans about the border, border crime and the Uvalde shooting. Honest Texans have no hope of the State government or the State Judiciary standing for the constitutional rights of Texans. Our AG has been and indicted felon for years but somehow, with his state senator wife manage to keep him out of court. This is a crisis of truth and integrity in the Republican dominated TX government. Having had exclusive control of TX since the 90s, if crime is bad, it’s on them, like everything else in TX. This is a perfect segue to the next topic, CRT/ Critical Race Theory
Terrifying images and graphics claiming that CRT threatens public schools in TX and our future as Texans. Were this not so dangerous, I’d laugh out loud. I come from generations of a public education family which also includes the current one. CRT is not part of TX k-12 curriculum.
Critical race theory is the idea that racism is embedded in legal systems and not limited to individuals. It’s an academic discipline taught at the university level. But it has become a common phrase used by conservatives to include anything about race taught or discussed in public secondary schools.
I am disgusted at every politician wielding the CRT lie, including my local GOP candidate for state representative, Mark Dorazio. This merely proves that they don’t give a damn about education… so long as they win. For the record, this CRT lie is embedded in party platforms and talking points across America. Speaking of education, It would appear that the TX education system is still a disaster after 27 years of dishonest leadership. Texas, one of the wealthiest states in the country according to Greg Abbott is still, 35th in the national rankings for K-12 public schools.
Don’t even get me started on Teacher support. My wife, who retired from teaching last year was one of 30% of the teachers in her school, not returning. This is NOT the exception but the rule in TX public Ed. Teacher pay is abysmal and state government is constantly meddling in social issues regarding public Ed. Bands of far-right protesters roam the state looking for School boards to assault with dishonest talking points too. Yes, this includes book bans by the same people who ok’d them previously and before they needed and extremist talking point.
Retired teachers’ salary hasn’t had a cost-of-living increase in 19 years. This means that if you retired from teaching in TX 19 years ago, your retirement payment has never been adjusted for the cost of inflation.
Persistently struggling schools represent a decades-long problem that reflects two policy failures: the failure to adequately fund schools in poorer communities, and the failure to create a teacher workforce to fill each school with experienced, high-quality teachers. If the state were rated for addressing these two failures, Texas would be rated “F” relative to other states. Texas should do better.
David DeMatthews is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin.
David S. Knight is an assistant professor of education finance and policy at the University of Washington.
TX education is a perfect time to talk about gender issues for children in TX, just another culture war being waged dishonestly by the TX Republican Party and this time, the casualties in this war are children. For a party claiming to stay out of personal affairs, this issue, also a national Republican party talking point and focus, TX is the bullseye of social invasion of privacy. Those who report abortions or someone “assisting” in someone acquiring an abortion are vigilantes that receive a 10,000 bonus is they win their civil suit against the accused. WTH!?!
Back to gender issues: Like all red-states, TX is on the warpath against children seeking medical counseling and assistance regarding any such issue. This has become so bad that even a prestigious international organization focused on human rights abuse has taken note. Human Rights Watch says the following:
“This week, the attorney general of the US state of Texas took the extreme position that gender-affirming health care for children should be criminalized as a form of child abuse. Texas Governor Greg Abbott subsequently ordered state agencies to investigate parents whose children are receiving gender-affirming health care and threatened punishment for professionals who fail to report it.”
Defund the police
This is a carry-over from 2020 that still tickles the fancy of dishonest TX Republicans. Wow, where do I start to expose this lie. First, TX, like in education is in the bottom third of nationally ranked states, for crime… yes again after 27 years of progressively worse extremism in our state and most local governments. To date, only Austin has had anything that even hints at defunding and all they did was to take legitimate cost cutting measures by weaving certain duties into other departments and allocating more of their funding into crime prevention. Good Grief Greg… Texans can read! It’s insulting that you think that we can’t. Texas law prohibiting alleged “defunding” is another solution looking for a problem. It also helps focus Texans on clickbait issues while covering up the truth. If crime is horrible in TX, which it isn’t compared to our historical trends, Republicans are responsible, not any other so-called, “side.”
I could go on all day, highlighting the dishonesty, conspiracy theories and injustice imposed on all honest Texans, but it won’t help, if fellow Texans refuse to put state and nation over party. Our constitutional democracy is up to its butt in alligators, and we face real global threats, yet unsolved. We cannot address those threats when one of our only two, major parties are irrevocably mired in extremist, conspiracy theories. Until the nation can purge big money and dishonesty from politics, we need both to be sharp, well-informed and honest, with full transparency. Then, debate by all sides based on integrity, will find the solutions we all require.
Every minute that Greg and the TX GOP continue their charade of governing, we fall further behind in meeting our national and state challenges like, a failed grid, bottom of rankings in poverty, healthcare and education, etc. Twenty-seven years of failure is enough. If Texans refuse to pursue truth and return Greg and henchmen to power, we deserve what we get…more failure. This goes for America too.