Rural Texans, you have faithfully voted Republican for decades, buying into the Republicans' portrayal of Democrats as unChristian baby killers who want to turn your children gay, make them hate America by teaching them the true racist history of our country, give all your stuff to Black and brown people, inject you with micro chips via vaccine, and other fear mongering tactics that distract you from the fact that they don't give a flying flip about you.
Note how Gov. Greg Abbott's refusal to expand Medicaid has devastated rural hospitals. Does your small community even have a hospital any more? Most likely not, as rural hospitals in Texas have closed in droves.
Now comes the move on school vouchers - to take money away from your local schools so parents can send their kids to private schools at taxpayers expense.
Let's talk about schools in small towns in Texas.
They, along with your churches, are the heartbeat of your town, aren't they? I know, because I grew up in Iraan in Pecos County and went to high school at Odessa Permian. Go Mojo!
The principal and teachers are your neighbors and friends. The coaches are local heroes. The whole town turns out for Friday night football, for all the home basketball and baseball games and then everyone caravans to the away games, often trailing the school buses carrying the team. Certainly you are there at 1 am - and sometimes later in the vast expanses of West Texas -- when the buses return home with either very tired kids who are congratulated on their victory or very tired kids who need to be reminded that they played a great game, even if they didn't win.
(I remember once when the bus of one of Permian's fierce rivals broke down about ten miles outside town. Within an hour, Permian parents had organized to pick up all the kids and coaches, drive them all the 80 plus miles home, and then return to Odessa.)
Everyone in town supports the PTA bake sales, buying each other's cakes and competing good naturedly on the cake of the town's acknowledged Best Baker. Everyone supports the car washes, scrap metal drives, Christmas wrap sales, and candy sales of the various youth groups. Everyone supports the band and the choir and the pep squad. And of course the football teams. This IS Texas, after all.
You know your schools aren't failing. You know CRT is not being taught there. You know your teachers are trustworthy enough to pick out books for your kids.
And here's the thing - all this is true of the schools in Fort Worth and other Texas cities. Because I'm not the only small town product who has moved to a Texas city.
Texas. The word Tejas means "friends or allies," which is why "friendship" is our state motto.
What the Republicans are trying to do to your schools is not the act of a friend or ally.
So do what you've always done Stand up for your schools and your teachers and the kids. All the kids.
Don't let them take money from your schools and give it to parents wanting their kids in a private school. Push back.
You're Texans. I know the kindness, the heart for community, the generosity of which you are capable. It's time to remind Republicans that we don't scare easily, we don't appreciate being lied to, we love our kids, and we value fairness, friendship, and fidelity.
It's time to push back.