Texas is showing what's wrong with the Republican orthodoxy
A potential pardon for a killer and an attack on women's rights is thrusting the Lone Star State and the conservative game plan into the spotlight. It's for all the wrong reasons.
Texas is a prime example of how cognitive dissonance is coming to define the Republican Party.
On one hand, putting laws on the books meant to curb gun violence is government overreach. On the other hand, preventing women from exercising bodily autonomy is perfectly acceptable.
So, make up your mind, Texas. Which is it?
On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would be seeking a pardon for an Army sergeant who was convicted of murder for fatally shooting a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020.
Sgt. Daniel Perry killed Garrett Foster, 28, at a protest in Austin, claiming he did so in self defense. The governor requested that the Board of Pardons and Paroles expedite its review of the case the day after the conviction.
“Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney,” Abbott said in a statement.
Not only does Abbott’s plan to pardon the killer exemplify the right’s interminable support of guns and dismissal of the nation’s gun problem, but it also demonstrates the ongoing crackdown on the rights to free speech and assembly.
Protests have been incredibly important in the nation’s history, whether that be peaceful protests or energetic, chaotic actions in the streets — which former President Barack Obama neglected to acknowledge in a recent tweet.
The tweet was in reference to the Tennessee House recently expelling two Black lawmakers — and sparing a white one — after they joined gun violence protests in the aftermath of a mass school shooting that killed three children and three adults in Nashville.
What the two incidents have in common: Republicans taking a page from the fascist playbook by quashing dissent themselves or supporting those who do the bidding for them.
Specifically, they do so when the issues at hand impact minorities.
In the midst of the discourse surrounding gun violence and the ensuing protests, the country is weighing two judicial rulings regarding abortion medication. One of them took place in Texas.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, suspended federal approval of the drug mifepristone.
The drug, which also is used to manage miscarriages and other pregnancy complications, was approved in 2000 by the Food and Drug Administration.
The ruling has been placed on hold, anticipating a challenge from President Joe Biden’s administration, with Health Secretary Xavier Becerra on Sunday denouncing the judge’s decision.
“We want the courts to overturn this reckless decision,” Becerra said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We want, yes, that women continue to have access to a drug that’s proven itself safe. Millions of women have used this drug around the world.”
The ruling will likely climb its way to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the decision appeared to be in limbo regardless, with U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice in Washington, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, calling on authorities not to implement any changes that would restrict access to the drug in at least 17 states.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has also joined calls from progressives for Biden’s administration to ignore the Texas ruling.
Texas already has almost completely outlawed abortion and has some of the most lax gun laws in the country.
A Republican stronghold, the state serves as an optimal example of the discrepancies in the party’s orthodoxy and as a result is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
As evidenced by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, the right’s stances on abortion and other freedoms are becoming detrimental to their prospects of gaining seats in Congress.
One probably isn’t going too far to presume that a lack of action on gun violence and the crackdown on protests will have the same effect.
Either the rights of the American people, particularly minorities, will continue to be threatened, or demographic changes in both the country and Congress will steer the ship in terms of change.
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