Sixty Democrats in the state’s lower house fled to Washington to deny a quorum to the Republican-dominated legislature determined to adopt repressive voting restrictions. The Lone Star State is slated to gain two additional congressional seats in 2022 following favorable census data. The stakes both in Texas and nationally have grown.
While in DC, six of the band of legislators tested positive for the coronavirus. VP Harris met with the group. A few days later, Harris visited Walter Reed for a checkup and Fox News, not to miss a sour note, linked the two incidents.
But the actual transmission of political infection occurred when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) indicated he was prepared to abandon the Senate in order not to vote for the Biden infrastructure bill. There were, as of the announcement, no reports of GoFundMe groups in response to Graham’s bid to be a lone star.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has declared that he will continue to call special sessions until the voting legislation is passed. In the meantime, the legislature’s sergeant-at-arms has been ordered to arrest the abandoning band upon their return to the state.
It may be concluded that Texas politics is predictably bizarre.
The imbroglio about critical race theory (CRT) continues to inch up in crescendo toward a deafening cacophony to employ a few foreign descriptions. However, the Granite State’s governor and legislature may have tipped the balance of rationality in attempting to modify or ban CRT from the jurisdiction in an effort to eliminate “divisive concepts.”
According to the state ACLU, language was inserted into budget legislation seemingly in scattershot fashion in a manner certain to result in confusion and legal challenges. Among others, the organization commented on a few of the more obvious conflicts:
One part of the bill aims to permit ‘workplace sensitivity training’ while other portions of the bill ban speech aimed at addressing ‘unconscious racism’ in the workplace. Similarly, one part of the bill purports to protect academic freedom while another portion bans the teaching of so-called divisive concepts. Frankly, the bill is indecipherable and internally contradictory.
Opposition to CRT which, in many instances, does not actually exist except in the minds of folks who disfavor the non-existent, has an unknown shelf life. Whether political energy and words will survive past 2022 into 2024 is questionable. What happened to “Where’s the beef?”
Graniteers seem determined to be at the forefront of national confusion over CRT. Unless, of course, the “divisive concepts” cripple their efforts.
A state health official charged with responsibility for spearheading its vaccination program was abruptly terminated on July 12 following efforts to include minors in the procedure designed to increase protections prior to the opening of schools. Tennessee’s chief medical officer said the official should be removed due to complaints about leadership approach and handling of a letter explaining vaccination rights of minors for COVID-19 shots, which helped prompt a backlash from lawmakers.
Parents objected to information provided to teens regarding their rights to be vaccinated without parental approval. A parent group brought suit, complaining about the threat to their religious liberty. As in most states, Tennessee requires a panoply of vaccinations across school grades up to college attendance. It appears religious liberty commences with COVID.
Republican legislative leaders criticized efforts to vaccinate minor children in the face of rising infection rates, accusing the health department of pressuring teenagers into vaccination. The lawmakers threatened to dissolve the agency for failure to comply; thus, the complaints about “leadership approach.” Not surprisingly, the official had received glowing personnel performance reviews in the months prior to the ouster.
To make matters worse, Tennessee canceled a scheduled August immunization event directed at healthcare providers with the rationale that the event was “paused to ensure all materials, sessions and other supporting information are focused to parents who are the intended audience for any outreach efforts regarding medical decisions for children.”
The line in the sand for political ideology versus saving lives rests upon preventing youth from volunteering in the Volunteer State.