Gov. Greg Abbott should have known not to mess with Texas mamas
Category: Op/EdVia: hallux • 2 months ago • 34 comments
By: Anthea Butler - MSNBC Opinion Columnist
They say nothing changes in Texas politics — until it does.
The same is being said now by some Texas mothers who are tired of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott , who is running for re-election against former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat. Mothers Against Greg Abbott , a new political action committee, excoriates Abbott in a compelling online political ad blasting his stances on women’s rights and trans rights, blaming him for the state’s failing power grid and implicating him in a long list of grievances that makes your head spin.
The ad is a litany of the horrible policies promoted by Abbott and his Republican colleagues that have made the state a hell for anyone with a working conscience. From threatening to take trans kids away from their parents , to putting a bounty on women who seek abortion and a bounty on anyone who tries to help them get one, to loosening gun laws amid so many mass shootings, Texas isn’t a great state anymore. It’s a failed state.
The Mothers Against Gregg Abbott PAC is a savvy salvo into the very realm that Republicans and evangelicals believe they control: the family. It puts faces on the women and families who have been harmed or threatened by the retrograde policies of the Abbott administration. The ad also highlights the diversity of the Texas population and, thus, the kind of voters who can bring into existence what Republicans such as Abbott are most afraid of: Texas going blue.
These women paint a more accurate picture of the gun-loving Republican governor who, according to his official schedule, did not attend a single funeral of the 19 children and two teachers shot dead in Uvalde in May by a teenager with an AR-15-style weapon . While Abbott wants to appear to be about family values, he has been inflicting pain and suffering upon Texas residents. From the 246 people who died in the winter 2021 storm dubbed the 'Texas Freeze,' to women who have suffered miscarriages and been denied health care since the end of Roe v. Wade, Abbott has touted prosperity but his polices have brought pain.
The ad is also an indictment of the patriarchal Texas gun culture Abbott has promoted. We’ve now seen reports that at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary that fateful day on May 24, 376 officers were present , and they waited 77 minutes to confront the shooter. Abbott’s decision to sign a bill ending the requirement for training or a license to carry a handgun has made a state that was already awash in guns even more dangerous. Shootings in Santa Fe , El Paso and Uvalde all argue against Abbott’s lenient gun policies.
As a Texan who has watched with dismay and absolute disgust at the death-dealing decisions Abbott has made, the Mothers Against Greg Abbott ad is a much-needed injection of hope, especially when combined with the news that O’Rourke hit a new fundraising record of $27.6 million between late February and the end of June. O’Rourke has a good chance to upend the incumbent Abbott, whose decisions have not been made in service to Texans, but out of an endless pursuit of donations and corporate relocations.
It is not hyperbole to say that Abbott and his administration have set Texas back to the 1950s. A failing power grid that is barely holding through a hot summer, rising crime rates, Covid deaths , restrictions on women’s health care, and immigrants dying in overheated trucks are not the kind of stories that inspire confidence in a governor who appears always willing to double down and treat the citizens of Texas as collateral damage to his political ambitions.
Mothers Against Greg Abbott (Get it? MAGA) are in the tradition of Texas women Barbara Jordan , Molly Ivins and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards . Texas women are determined and resourceful. If you get us mad, we’re going to come after you — especially if you are hurting children. Abbott should be worried because once you’ve made a Texas woman angry, you’re in for a world of hurt. As Jan Jarboe Russell wrote years ago , “ Don’t mess with Texas women — or our daughters to come. ”
Abbott should take heed because this is a MAGA movement that seeks to make Texas great again — without him.