Last week the state of Texas loosened gun restrictions. That’s almost incomprehensible in a state that already boasts some of the most relaxed (weakest) firearm regulations in the nation. But, for the hamster-dick right-wing extremists that dominate the Texas state legislature, any kind of gun restriction is a prospect more terrifying than a bunch of angry Black and Brown women storming into a Proud Boys meeting armed with attitudes and hair brushes.
And that’s pretty much who comprises both the Texas state legislature and the Proud Boys: old and middle-aged White men pissed off the world is no longer theirs to play with. Thus, they assert control the only way they know how – with guns.
Now, in Texas, people no longer need a license or even proper training to tote a firearm anywhere within the state’s 268,597 sm. (695,663 km).
Gosh, what could possibly go wrong?
Gun rights advocates have always proclaimed that responsible firearm owners have nothing to fear and the general public has nothing to fear from responsible firearm owners. But they’ve also screamed that any measure of regulation is a step towards elimination. They’ve warned about those proverbial “slippery slope” dilemmas, even though any nearby slope is slippery because of all the spittle flying out their chapped lips from screaming about gun rules.
Someone with more than half a brain stop the madness!
Contrast that shenanigans with the new voting regulations – restrictions – the same state legislature imposed shortly before then. Those rules limit early voting hours, ban drive-through voting and require large counties to redistribute polling places that could move sites away from areas with more Hispanic and Black residents.
The voting measures don’t surprise me. Ever since Barack Obama won his first election – fairly, legitimately and without question – legions of (mostly White) conservatives in state legislatures around the country have done everything they could to ensure that never happens again.
Conservatives have spouted the usual rhetoric about protecting the integrity of the voting process, just as they claim the need to protect their right (their right) to own firearms. I’ve noticed many of those old men – allegedly tough and strong – always express some degree of paranoia; their fear of someone invading their property and hurting their loved ones. Therefore, their guns are readily available. Stupid, paranoid people in the U.S. always reach for their guns and Christian Bibles when things look scary.
Strangely, though, they’ve long since recognized the power of the vote. Voting is actually more powerful and with longer lasting effects than firearms. A bullet could kill someone. A vote can put someone in office who will enact legislation that may alter society for decades.
And thus, they are scared.
It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Right-wing extremists always seem to forget – or perhaps, never truly understood – that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the first amendment for a reason. You vote first to enact and ensure change in society. Then again, as I stated above, perhaps they do understand the significance of voting – and that’s why they do what they can to assure that only people with their similar and limited intellectual prowess can vote. With their guns and Bibles by their sides.
My parents told me of seeing television footage of White police officials attacking Black citizens protesting against discrimination and segregation laws and trying to vote in the Deep South in the 1950s and 60s. I recall my father, in particular, telling me that the former Soviet Union would display those images on their own TVs and point out this was an example of democracy.
The U.S. always promoted itself as a beacon of democracy; a government of and by the people.
I’ve seen those black-and-white images of 1950s and 1960s America in various retrospectives of a time how we used to be. Considering what conservative-dominated states legislatures have done to voting and gun laws in recent years, I keep seeing those old images in contemporary colors.