If you’re a Democrat, the last few years have been pretty discouraging. When Joe Biden won the presidency we were ecstatic. When we won the Senate majority and the House majority, we really believed change possible. Then the reality of DC set in. We weren’t really in control; the minority still ruled through machinations like the filibuster rule. Senate Minority Leader McConnell seemed able to defeat any initiative by legislative sleight of hand. Biden’s dream of societal change for the better died on the mantle of Manchin/Sinema treachery. Et tu, Brute? After all, they were both Democrats. Why would they vote against party and comrades? Whatever the reason we have been disappointed and frustrated.
Then came last year’s absolutely craven and shameful Texas legislative session. The rulings on health care; the right for almost anyone except the criminally insane to carry a gun publicly; the voter suppression strategy…. we got plastered with a right wing agenda that still has people screaming for justice.
To make sure the message was loud and clear that the right ruled in Texas, the Governor shut down the border in a snit against the Mexican Governor of Coahuila, costing millions. He doubled down and continued to make soldiers from the National Guard remain on the border. Their jobs, mates, and life styles dissipating as they mainly stared at the Rio Grande. The energy grid that failed us two winters ago (as Ted Cruz cavorted in the Gulf waves at a Mexican resort) was not addressed. The fear of many of us who huddled in our homes was not relieved. Heroes from energy services like Bandera Electric Coop risked their lives to try and help us, not this Governor and not his Republican allies.
With August still ahead, another energy crisis looms. Our fears remain…except we swelter in heat instead of the cold. But that fear was not on the agenda with our legislators who ruled with an iron Republican hand. Other more important issues like stealing women’s rights and making sure every thug that wanted to improve his swagger got the right to a gun took all their time.
That has been tough. But some things have happened in the meantime that give real hope that change is on the way. The House Committee Hearings are painting the ex president as he is…a lying bully who risked the future of this nation for his own selfish needs. The Supreme Court is floating the possibility of outlawing birth control methods. And then, close to all our hearts, we watched our neighbor, Uvalde, drown in a sea of murdered children, dismembered by a sick youth who had access to military arms that no civilian should have access to, and certainly no teenager.
So what’s changed? Women are in the streets along with their male companions demonstrating peacefully, but forcefully, to alert the Supreme Court they have had enough. Beto has transformed the rhetoric in the governor’s race, demanding we examine the policies of Greg Abbott and the Texas Republican bully boys in Austin. Today, Senator Manchin joined Democrats in support of Joe Biden’s social and environmental reforms. Not the original, but reforms that will change the nation. Uvalde facts slowly edge into daylight and we now know we had a catastrophic failure by law enforcement…not the fantasy we were handed in those first news conferences where Greg Abbott assured us it could have been worse. No, it was about as bad as it could have been. We painfully learned that many good men with guns could not stop one bad man with a gun. It is becoming more and more clear to more and more people that gun safety is the answer…. not mindlessly arming more and more citizens who think the 2nd amendment is the cure for all social ills.
So, if you are a Democrat, I don’t need to tell you things are changing. You already know that. I think there is something we can do….each of us….to make this change more dramatic in November. I call it the “me plus five” strategy. Each of us must pledge we will vote in November. We should all strive to contact five others and ask them to pledge to vote also. When early voting begins, we need to call our five pledges and remind them to vote and see if they need a ride, or any other aid to get to the polls. It is an appeal to the common citizen that we can all take part in. Real democracy. We can do this. We can win. We can change things. We dare to hope.
Gary Moore, Bandera County resident, is a Texas State University graduate, former English teacher and football coach, journalist, script writer and photographer.