This morning a friend sent me a text message saying that the next election could resemble a class war more than a democratic process because we have tea partiers full of hate for anyone not rich, white and a (preferably male) heterosexual; clamoring to be the republican presidential nominee and country full of desperate people willing to believe anything that promises big change. According to her the future of our country will encompass LGBT people being forced to wear pink triangles and she and I will be chained to kitchen appliances. As extreme as it sounds, it’s really not as far from reality as one would hope. Want proof? Just look at the state of Texas, where potential presidential nominee Rick Perry is Governor.
Texas is a terrible place to be a woman. Or a child. Or elderly. Or a minority. Or anyone not rich and white really. Though Texas has the 2nd highest public school enrollment rate in the country, they have the highest percentage of people ages 25 and older without a high school diploma. They have one of the lowest rates of poor people covered by Medicaid. They have the highest percentage of children without insurance and the highest percentage of children living in poverty. These examples are just a sampling, so yea, it’s pretty much awful for anyone in Texas who isn’t rich.
Coming into play most recently is a massive cut to an already paltry budget for family planning services. The recently passed budget cuts funding for family planning services from $111.5 million to only $37.9 million; it also added money to the budget for their “alternatives to Abortion Services” program. In other words more than 284,000* men and women will lose access to basic health care and fundamentalist will have more money to coerce women. Yup, that sounds about right for Texas.
Now to be fair they did only add $300,000 to the budget for the anti-abortion program, but it shows a clear lack of concern for the health and well-being of the women in the state. The “Alternatives to Abortion Services” program has a single focus, keeping women from accessing a basic right. Of the groups supported by this program 26 of them are Crisis Pregnancy Centers that receive most of their budgets from religious groups. Meanwhile the family planning budget provides very real, very necessary health care to women and men in the state and receives most of its funding through either state or federal healthcare funds; cutting the budget for such a basic need while adding to the budget for something so singularly focused and already well funded is clear misogyny.
Oh and in case you are wondering about the “LGBT people being forced to wear pink triangles” thing, check out this article for the ways Perry has encouraged discrimination against the LGBT community in Texas. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the future of America to be determined by hate filled politicians, so I say it’s time to call the tea partiers on their nonsense and show the world an America dominated by real hope and compassion.
*Some articles I read list this number others use 180,000, either way it’s shameful.