Editorial: Sons and daughters of liberty

Editorial: Sons and daughters of liberty

Editorial: Sons and daughters of liberty
July 04
14:55 2013

Joshua Knopp / Staff Writer

Remember Tuesday, June 25 when a livestream of the Texas State Senate was must-watch television? That was awesome.

Happy Independence Day. Two hundred thirty-seven years ago today, a group of political dissidents signed a piece of literature that’s changed the world almost as much as The Bible. The original colonies liked it so much, they wrote little constitutions of their own, and that tradition has been followed by every state since. In fact, the U.S. federal political setup is so popular that most states have mimicked that, too. Most states have their own court of last resort, they all have an executive branch of some sort, and 49 out of 50 boast a bicameral legislature similar to the U.S. at large.

So when we talk about Texas’ statewide political system, make no mistake, we’re talking about the entire nation’s political system. Taxation without representation, government by the people for the people — it all applies across the board.

Over the past two weeks, the Texas legislature has been kicking around draconian restrictions on abortion clinics that would have catastrophic effects, both practically and emotionally, on women’s health. And while it’s been doing this, it’s broken just about every social contract Western government is supposed to adhere to.

That night, and every day of the second session since, the Texas legislature has not been listening to its constituents. As a matter of fact, they’ve been actively ignoring us. From clearing out the rambunctious senate gallery with armed guards so they could hold a vote every citizen in the cheering throng was trying to prevent to ignoring 1,000 applications to testify before the House committee and voting 8-3 in favor of a bill that the majority of the 3,500 people who registered a position were against, all signs point to state lawmakers not enacting the will of the people.

Isn’t that why we vote on them?

Even doing something as simple as going inside the Senate Gallery gives off a pervasive sense of condescension and disregard. Armed guards surround the viewing area, ready and eager to forcibly escort anyone who “disrupts” the proceedings away, possibly to jail for a couple of days.

If we’re not allowed to make our voices heard, than what’s the point of even going? If the state is going to invest in highway patrolmen to stop us from expressing ourselves to the people who are supposed to be beholden to us, that’s not taxation without representation, that’s taxation against representation.

Texas senators and representatives are not holding themselves accountable to us as a voting public, and sadly this isn’t anything new — and it isn’t anything local, either. National senators and representatives aren’t held accountable any more often. We, as a country, have become too absorbed in the election of a singular executive who can only give a thumbs up or down to the ideas of less visible politicians we seem to have forgotten about.

And the toughest part to stomach is no matter how badly the politicians in favor of HB2 are beaten next cycle, the damage will be done. There’s no realistic way this bill doesn’t pass. And if it’s repealed in January 2015, which is the soonest it would happen, that’s a year and a half of Texas women banished to the wild, strange territory of clandestine abortions and general lack of prenatal care. That’s the best-case scenario.

“We The People” need to take back control of this country, and before we do that, in the process of doing that, we need to take back this state. Come November 2014, know who your representatives are, know where they stand, and know that they answer to you, not the other way around.

This is the right we fought the American Revolution for, a right that shook the global political system as other countries around the world followed suit. Exercise it.

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