BY MIKE MAGEE
Texas Governor Greg Abbott had burst into tears lately, and his central theme seems to be “revanchism”. Given the dwindling population, he takes revenge on enemies and newcomers and allies himself with slippery politicians and vigilantes. As they say in Texas, “He’s at the bottom of the game by his first name,” and the game he plays seems to be “South Africa – 1950”.
The formal establishment of apartheid South Africa occurred in 1948, despite the fact that racial injustice had been fomented centuries earlier. Violence and intimidation, embedded in laws supported by a 15 percent white minority, led to the establishment of the African National Congress (ANC), which launched its so-called “Defiance Campaign”. In 1962 her party was banned and its dynamic leader Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
Yet resistance both inside and outside the country continued to grow. Religious leaders like Archbishop Desmond Tutu took to the streets and organized huge, peaceful rallies. In 1976, pictures of black children were attacked and killed in Soweto municipality while a protest spread like wildfire around the world. 176 died and thousands were injured. In response, the United Nations urged its member states to separate and impose economic sanctions. Just 2 leaderss not. (More on that in a moment.)
Minority rule, oppression, vigilante justice, and disenfranchisement eventually lose their proposals as Greg Abbott learns. A majority of 52% now say his state is moving in the wrong direction. The list of complaints is long and growing. Catholic bishops condemned his inhumane treatment of immigrant families that year. Baptist minister Rev. Frederick Haynes III recently shed light on the Republican Legislature’s Voter Suppression Act, which suggested they “dress Jim and Jane Crow in a tuxedo.” Only 39% are in favor of his handling of the pandemic, and many Texans find the renewed advocacy of “vigilante justice” for unhappy women and girls who wish to have an abortion a worrying and dystopian new reality. By the way, 1 in 5 Texans no health insurance, and Texas is one of twelve Republican-led states that continue to decline federal offers to expand Medicaid coverage to their citizens.
Modern day demographic characteristics in the Lone Star State indicate that the territory is no longer predominantly white, rural, or conservative. Texas’s population has grown 40% (over 8 million new residents) over the past 20 years. As of 2010, over 95% of these newcomers are People of Color. For every white immigrant in the past decade, Texas has taken in 3 blacks, 3 Asians, 3 multiracial citizens, and 11 Hispanics. The cities and suburbs, which have grown nearly 20% in the last 10 years, now comprise 70% of the nation’s population. Rural areas have only grown by 1%.
Newcomers find jobs in companies attracted by liberal zoning, low taxes, and monetary incentives. Companies like HP, Tesla, Oracle and Amazon say they are big fans of 3P management (People / planet / profit). But how will this new “creative class” of techies and scientists like living in a state that has a 4thNS P – prejudice?
The current Republican crowd may be brave, but let’s face it, Abbott is not a Reagan. And even “The Great Communicator” itself has been tainted a bit by refreshing the story.
For example, by 1983 all but two national leaders of the UN member states had supported the sale of South Africa – Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. In fact, Reagan doubled in 1986, put Mandela on the terrorist watch list (where he stayed until 2008), and said, “The South African government is under no obligation to negotiate the future of the country with any organization that has the goal of creating a communist state … “
That was five years after he flipped his real hand Walter Cronkite In an interview, he describes South Africa as “a country that has stood by our side in every war we have ever waged, a country that is strategically crucial for the free world in the extraction of minerals”.
Professor Steven Pedigo Director of the LBJ Urban Lab at the University of Texas is an expert in urban economic development, regional cooperation and placemaking. Pedigo has developed strategies for more than 50 cities and regions in the US and believes Republicans’ reliance on “gerrymandering, voter suppression and relentless cultural warfare” is a “deadly misjudgment”.
When Abbott rides “Abortion” as Reagan once rode “Communism” and Rev. Frederick Haynes III. Desmond Tutu channels how long will it be before “Divest in Texas” becomes the Lone Star State’s new battle cry?
Mike Magee, MD is a medical historian and health economist and author of Code Blue: Inside the Medical Industrial Complex.
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