If I could rename Texas, I’d call it Neglect, and its capital would be the bustling community of Hypocrisy.
On my map, voter ID, redistricting and gay marriage would all be within spitting distance of one another. Gov. Rick Perry’s disparaging comments about state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, would be a stone’s throw away, with the governor casting the stone.
These communities would be connected by Pants on Fire Highway.
In eviscerating the Voting Rights Act in an Alabama case, the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for voter ID to become law here. This, though a federal court in August noted that not all counties in Neglect have the state offices where residents can get the IDs now required, and that the cost of the documents necessary to get the photo IDs will be an obstacle for some.
The state weakly argued voter fraud. Noting that the record showed none, the court said the bill’s purpose “was to disenfranchise minorities.”
Disenfranchise. A powerful word and a famous historic landmark in Neglect, which is rushing to implement the law. You know, because a lot of minorities, when they vote, commit the mortal sin of preferring Democrats, which means a fall from grace someday for the GOP hereabouts.
It is easier, apparently, to marginalize some voters than it is to win them over.
The pretext for voter ID is sanctity of the ballot box. The law perverts the meaning. But as long as we’re on Pants on Fire Highway, let’s mosey on down to Redistricting.
They speak neglect and hypocrisy here as well, generally directed at this same population — majority Latino — who keep saying, “Huh? What? This is America; speak democracy, gosh darnit?”
Minorities in Neglect accounted for roughly 90 percent of recent growth. But it was relatively easy in Hypocrisy to craft lines to deny these voters representatives of their choosing. Legal challenges are ahead on recently enacted “interim” maps,” the suits buoyed by a panel of federal judges that found that the state’s motives were transparently discriminatory.
But if the Supreme Court set back voting rights, there was still some initial rejoicing in the community of Gay in Neglect. The court advanced gay rights with decisions on gay marriage. But the rejoicing has become a bit muted as it has sunk in that the court, in the name of a state’s right to discriminate, let stand a ban on gay marriage.
Right. In the land of Neglect and Hypocrisy, people profess to be small-government types when they really desire a state government so large and powerful that it allows the imposition of what amounts to religious belief on others — whether this involves marriage or abortion.
Consider Perry’s criticism of Davis, the Fort Worth senator who became a national figure with a filibuster of restrictive abortion measures during a special legislative session. The measures, which eventually passed in a later special session, bar abortions after 20 weeks. They also will likely lead to the closure of most abortion clinics for the “health and safety of women.” The record shows a more corrupt reason: denying what is legal and constitutional.
Perry, with his comments about Davis, is Neglect’s leading citizen. He said the senator — daughter of a single mom, once a single mom herself and a Harvard graduate — hadn’t learned that “every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential; that every life is precious.”
Precious only, apparently, until born in the state of Neglect, a proud national leader in uninsured, poor and ill-educated children. Perry, in fact, is Neglect’s chief booster.
Don’t look for Reason on this map. It can’t be found.
Pimentel is a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.