You Should Definitely Mess With Texas
For those of you who might be unfamiliar, Texas has actually proposed some truly wonderful legislation within the past year. No, I am not referring to House Bill 2127 which eliminated water breaks for workers throughout the state. And no, I am definitely not referencing the Texas trigger law that made performing an abortion within the state a felony immediately upon the US Supreme Court rendering the Dobbs decision last year. What I’m talking about is the Texas Independence Referendum Act (HB 3596) sometimes nicknamed Texit, a proposal by Republican state legislator Bryan Slaton this past March that would allow Texas to secede from the Union. When I heard this proposed legislation, I literally leapt for joy, hoping beyond hope that it would come to fruition as I envisioned myself driving to the closest Texas border and shouting loud enough for the entire state to hear, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!” Unfortunately, the bill never made it out of committee and we are stuck with these assholes for at least the foreseeable future.
Now before I go on my thousand-word rant about how much Texas sucks, let me first state here and now that I have numerous friends that call the state home. I love them dearly and this is not directed at them personally. In fact, most of them would agree with almost everything I am about to say. For some reason that is beyond my capacity for comprehension, they enjoy living there, even though they acknowledge that the state’s politics are distinctively backward. I’ve tried to tell them to get out while they still can, before the entire state of Texas reverts back into some sort of Wild West Fascism, but my concerns have fallen on deaf ears. So for now, I will simply have to dream of the day when Texas decides to become its own country and we build a giant fucking wall around them so that they can’t come here anymore.
If you are wondering what the source is of my vitriol for the state of Texas, it might have something to do with the fact that so many of them come to Colorado to escape, either temporarily or permanently, the hell hole they have created in their own state. But much of it really centers around a series of legislative decisions that reflect an absolute lack of empathy for anyone who is not a white male or a gun. And while I might be a white man myself, I still somehow believe that we all deserve equal protection under the law.
With that in mind, let’s start with the horrifyingly egregious and indefensible HB 2127 which stripped all construction and landscape workers of the basic protection of a water break every four hours. Nicknamed the “Death Star” law because it even pre-empts local protection for workers passed by cities and counties throughout the state, this law is clearly targeted at the hispanic population which makes up 61% of the construction labor force in the state. And why? Well, beyond Gov. Abbott’s thinly-veiled racism, the only possible motive for this legislation is so that wealthy construction and landscape operators can rake in more profits by increasing worker productivity as they yell, “No more agua! Get back to work, Pedro!” from their air-conditioned trucks. Yes, in Texas, where they passed the Safe Outdoors Dog Act in 2021, which protects dogs from being left outside or without water in extreme heat, they literally treat dogs better than they do their largely-hispanic construction workers.
But as inhumane as this law may seem, it actually gets even worse when seen in the context of the state that passed it. HB 2127 was signed by Gov. Abbott and passed into law on June 14th, right in the midst of a three-week heat wave that blanketed much of the state with high humidity and triple-digit temperatures. That’s blazing hot even for a state where data shows that a construction worker dies of heat exhaustion every three days, even before this bill was enacted. Were these legislators working outside when they voted for this? Of course not. They were sitting in their air-conditioned offices bitching about the heat they had to endure as they walked from their cars to their houses. Worse yet, taking a page out of the Ted Cruz playbook, they planned vacations to cooler climates like Colorado so that they could escape the heat they then forced construction workers to endure without so much as a cup of water. So why is Texas so ungodly hot? Well, it might have something to do with the climate change they routinely ignore and deny. And just who is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States? You guessed it. But don’t worry about them. They’ll just move to Colorado when their own state becomes too unbearably hot to live in.
Meanwhile, Texas has also managed to turn half the state into second-class citizens without bodily autonomy by passing sweeping abortion regulations that not only make it a felony to perform an abortion within the state but also criminalize any woman leaving the state for the purposes of having one. So the state that is supposed to be all about personal freedoms and state rights wants to dictate the personal body choices of women and what they decide to do outside the borders of the state? Holy hypocrisy, Batman! That makes my head hurt just trying to conceive of how these bastards digest the inconsistent pretzel logic they are shoving down their citizens’ throats.
But don’t think that everyone is treated poorly in Texas. Know who it’s good to be in Texas (besides the obvious answer of a white man)? A gun. Despite far and away leading the nation in gun deaths and one of the most horrific school shootings in recent memory, in 2021, Texas passed legislation allowing for the open or concealed possession of a firearm without a permit almost anywhere in the state. No background check needed! Because if there’s one thing Texas is about, it’s protecting life. Well, if you’re a dog, an unborn child, or a gun, that is. If you’re a Hispanic, a woman, or a student trying to go to school without the threat of gun violence- well, then like the old Texas adage, you’re as welcome as a porcupine in a nudist colony.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com