This year on the Fourth of July, Texas lawyers will stand on the front steps of every one of Texas’ 254 county courthouses and participate in the nationwide tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence.
We can only hope that Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick, Senators Cornyn, Cruz and every other American elected official will also read the “unanimous declaration” of the original 13 United States of America.
This year more than ever, our elected officials need to be reminded that “all men are created equal” and that “governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” I can forgive the founding fathers for failing to acknowledge the importance of women easier than I can forgive our current elected officials for their disdain for the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence.
Just last week, 13 male Republican U.S. Senators unveiled their abomination of a so called health care plan which turned out to be so bad they couldn’t even get 50 votes to bring it to the floor for debate.
To no one’s surprise, the bill, generated in secret by 13 privileged American males, including our own Senator Cruz, turned out to be a giant tax cut for the wealthiest 400 families, rather than a health care plan for the rest of us. Again, to no one’s surprise, the tax cuts came from cutting access to health care for low-income women and children, the elderly and disabled.
Regardless of where you stand on the merits of universal health care coverage, there can be no doubt that the way the Republican health care plan was crafted behind closed doors without any public input or the participation of the other 87 elected U.S. Senators was simply un-American.
On the eve of our 241st birthday, it is not just the Washington elite political establishment that needs reminding of what this country stands for. Later this month, Gov. Abbott will convene a special legislative session where he will again ask his right wing attack dog, Dan Patrick, to pass a bathroom bill and school vouchers.
As angry as those two issues make me personally, it is the rest of Abbott’s special session agenda that should alarm every Texan whether they are Republican, Democrat or just plain freedom-loving Americans who hate both parties.
Abbott intends to give the state total control over what are supposed to be home rule cities by enacting state mandated spending and revenue caps, limits on annexation and requirements to force issuance of construction permits. Abbott’s scheme to play puppet master over local cities from his fancy mansion in Austin defies every principle upon which Texas was founded.
While Republican elected officials from Washington to Austin make mincemeat of American and Texas values my usually loud friends on the right remain completely silent. At least that will make it easier for some of us to hear the Declaration of Independence being read in every Texas County this year.