As we turn the page on 2017, we are starting to see the American people stir.
The people had big wins in Virginia and Alabama. We can do the same in Texas.
Women are speaking out about decades of abusive behavior by powerful men, immigrants are asserting their rights to the American Dream; we no longer question why a person is gay but embrace their right to live and work free from state-sponsored discrimination or fear of social violence, and we speak forcefully about why black lives matter as much as anyone else’s.
We embrace the identities that make up the American mosaic, because the majority has decided that our identity is of a free people who share equal access to justice, and to the economic and cultural opportunities that come from our constitutionally protected rights to pursue happiness.
Government of the people and by the people is complex. By its very nature, it is a creation of us, and reflects all of our varied interests and backgrounds. What brings us together is the rule of law, as exemplified by Doug Jones, the winning Senate candidate from Alabama. He prosecuted KKK members for going outside the law to preserve what they thought of as their culture.
There is a taint of that history in our current politics, which attempts to subvert the spirit of the law through imposition of policies that subjugate people socially and economically. But the majority of Americans have made it clear. There is no longer debate about whether or not certain groups of people – whether it is the half of us who are women, the nearly half of us who are minorities, or the smaller percentage of us who are gay – have a place in our local, state, and national life.
Those who believe that they alone are “true Americans” use government to attempt suppression of those who, historically, have been shut out. Thus, we have underfunding of schools and attempts to divert public funds, which diminishes the key to economic opportunity: education. We have voter suppression in the form of gerrymandered districts and newly created felonies for minor infractions. We have attacks on immigrant workers and students disguised with disingenuous calls to the rule of law that seemingly don’t exist when it comes to civil rights or environmental regulations. We have economic policies that reduce the shared prosperity that gave us the greatest middle class in history and instead redistributes wealth to the richest amongst us.
In Texas, we have seen extremist policies that attack immigrants, women, and LGBTQ Texans. While we fight to protect individual rights to self-determination, they fight to reduce them.
Eventually, the fever will break and love WILL trump hate. We saw that in Virginia in November, and in Alabama in December. I’m confident that we will see that in Texas in 2018 at all levels, including with El Paso’s own Beto O’Rourke for U.S. Senate. Fear, hate, and greed cannot be the basis for governing. Each one of us can help to write the next chapter, and I am optimistic because of you. Onward to 2018!