I moved to Texas back in 2014. The governor at the time was Rick Perry. Perry was the guy who insisted that he needed to order the National Guard to the Texas border to prevent an imagined invasion of illegal aliens. The National Guard left a few months later after it was determined that their services weren’t really needed. The truth is that the whole exercise was politically motivated, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. I remember Perry boasting about how Texas was leading the country in job growth. Not long after he left, Texas led the country in job losses. Why? The job growth came mostly from the oil and gas industry, two industries that are now suffering a downturn. Perry was replaced by Greg Abbott. Abbott is another one of those crazy Republicans. This whole state is full of crazy Republicans. Instead of focusing on important issues like infrastructure and property tax reform, they spend all of their time trying to pass discriminatory legislation like bathroom bills and anti immigration laws. They write voter suppression laws in order to stay in office as long as possible. They pass crazy open and carry gun laws that let people walk around with AK47s strapped across their shoulders. They go out of their way to defund planned parenthood. They write laws that make it nearly impossible for women to get abortions. In doing so, they also prevent women who want to continue their pregnancies from getting prenatal care. Texas leads the country in infant mortality rates.
When the citizens of Denton county approved a ban on fracking, Abbott quickly signed a bill that prevented local communities from banning fracking. So rather than represent the people who elected him, he sold out to the oil and gas industry. Back when the frackers were going at it nonstop, the Dallas area experienced a rash of earthquakes. Not just a couple of earthquakes. Hundreds of earthquakes in an area that normally saw only one or two a year. There were reports of foundation problems due to the earthquakes. They had the same issue in Oklahoma, another area with a high concentration of fracking. Scientists there reported that the increase in earthquakes was a direct result of the fracking. In Texas, they’re still looking at the issue. Now that the fracking has lessoned because of less demand, the earthquakes have stopped. So there is less impetus to draw a conclusion about the detrimental effects of fracking. And don’t forget that at a minimum 10% of fracking wells leak hydrocarbons into the water tables. Studies have shown that people who live near fracking have higher rates of asthma. So while homeowners are concerned about their homes and their health, Abbott and his cohorts are celebrating their increased campaign donations and the oil and gas companies are free to continue polluting the air and water and scarring the landscape.
When hurricane Harvey hit a few weeks ago, Abbott and Trump were heaping praise on each other for what a great job everyone was doing. Now that the press have left and the photo ops have disappeared, the realities of the crazy republican legislation are on full display. While Houston desperately needs to start rebuilding, they can’t. They can’t find enough workers. You see in Texas, before they started passing anti-immigration laws that made undocumented workers afraid to even step out of their homes, the home building workforce was made up almost entirely of Mexican workers. Building houses is hard work.
We had our house built back in 2014. We followed the building of our house from start to finish. Every phase of the house was built by Mexican workers: framing, brick laying, plumbing, electrical, landscaping, roofing. They worked weekends; they worked holidays; they worked when it was 100 degrees outside. They also did excellent work. But now these same workers live in a state where a broken tail light can get them deported to a country they probably haven’t seen in decades if ever. Their wives and children are left behind with no means of support.
When it comes time to vote, I will vote a straight Democratic ticket. The only way to stop the crazy is to get people in office who work for the people and not industry.