I was gutted to learn this week that Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic statewide in 23 years. Twenty. Three. That was 1994 (in case you find #thestruggleisreal with math, like I do). The genocide in Rwanda took place that year. OJ Simpson was fleeing in his white Bronco. Lisa Marie Presley married Michael Jackson. Kurt Cobain killed himself. Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction were released. Friends debuted. FRIENDS.
Fellow Baylor alum Bob Bullock was the last Dem to win a statewide election when he was elected to his second term as lieutenant governor in 1994. Rick Perry replaced him (so that’s where that shitshow started). I was an entirely different person in 1994 — not married, no kids, living in Florida, likely still a half-ass Republican from my parents’ Reagan days, preparing for a six-month backpacking trip through Europe.
Now here we are in 2017, with Trump having beat HRC by just nine points in Texas. This is a great snapshot from Texas Tribune of the current political situation in my bleeding red state.
So … where do we begin? Because, so sadly, my 24/7 Twitter/Van Jones/cocktail habit isn’t fixing this.
All that red up there is a tad overwhelming, so here’s where I’m starting: Pete Sessions. U.S. Rep. Sessions represents my 32nd congressional district. Before November 9, I knew him only by his conservative-looking signage (you can just tell, right?). After this town hall meeting, he is my obsession. Lately, he’s been making national headlines in his position of chairman of the House Rules Committee (making him a vital player in the Trumpcare vote). He was UNOPPOSED BY A DEMOCRAT (this makes me want to vomit) in 2016, yet won by just over 70%. More interestingly, my gerrymandered district went for HRC.
Instant target, which is why stuff like this is happening:
Confession: I didn’t get the whole “all politics is local” deal until November 9. The presidency and SCOTUS and big social battles are just so sexy. I have never been able to get enough. How can I be bothered with the ins and outs of local politics and potholes and zoning and teacher evaluations when climate change and gay rights and women’s rights and black lives were at stake?
November 9 was my “duh” moment. When everything generally is going your way (read: Obama), maybe you can ignore the local stuff. I couldn’t be bothered to care about Pete Sessions (of course I voted against him, but that ended my activism). And I get zero credit for knowing Ted Cruz was a scary douche because that’s pretty much institutional knowledge globally now, right? But when Trump happens, all that stands between you and the shitshow is local politics.
Last weekend, we had local elections here in Dallas. Suddenly, our local city council and school board elections were sexy AF. I waited until I walked into the voting booth to decide my school board vote … finally understanding what it felt like to be an undecided voter. Now, I will never be able to translate that feeling to the presidency (I just want to bitch slap those focus groups every four years), but I got a glimpse.
Suddenly, I was trying to ferret out which city council member would stand strong against Austin and DC against sanctuary cities and baffling “bathroom bills.” Should party play a race in a city council election? Apparently it’s not supposed to because ours are non-partisan. But one guy seemed pretty conservative, nice though I hear he is, and this is no time to risk that.
Same with the school board. One candidate said the other supported vouchers (he denied it in a flurry of nice cardstock flyers crammed in my mailbox). So voting for him felt like voting for Betsy DeVos. And then there’s that damn bathroom bill deal again. If DC and Austin are going to send shit to us, we need local people who will fight them.
Suffice it to say, caring about local politics is exhausting. But ain’t nobody got time for the alternative.
Enter my fangirl crush. Just when I was getting distracted by LIFE, about to lose my #StayWoke status, in walks Colin Allred. Literally, into my church. This guy. Look. At. Him. I mean … Listen. To. Him. (Synopsis: Grew up with single-mom, Baylor grad, former NFL football player, civil rights attorney, worked with Obama.)
Now, Allred isn’t he only guy running. Another District 32 friend is watching Ed Meier, who worked on HRC’s transition team. He sounds awesome. (Obviously Allred and Meier are’t women, which isn’t our post-HRC-consciousness ideal. But baby steps here in Texas people. Check that map again.)
My first conversation with Allred at church went something like this: “Hi, I’m Dawn McMullan and I love you and I hate Pete Sessions and please beat Pete Sessions because Trump and pussy grabbing and shitshow and transgender bathrooms and wow that smile and I went to Baylor too and football and Hillary and Russians and OMG that town hall and oh welcome to Greenland Hills and Jesus.”
Something like that. Then, more composed post-sermon, I walked up to his wife and introduced myself in a more godly way.
So, clearly, at first blush I have to go with Allred, my fellow Baylor Bear and the guy who sits a few rows back in the pew on Sundays. (Funny story, Pete Sessions used to sit in our pews, too). But I’m thrilled Meier is in the race. And I suspect there will be others. Allred and Meier went on the Twitter offensive after the Trumpcare 2.0 for last week. Let me remind you: Sessions ran UNOPPOSED BY A DEMOCRAT last November. I can’t roll my eyes back enough to display my disgust at that.
Part of that is my bad. But unopposed and disinterested we are no more. #ThanksTrump.
5 thoughts on “Week 25: How I became a local political fangirl”
I’m with you!
Such a great post this week!! And I feel the same about Colin!! And all of a sudden I’ve jumped into local politics too!
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Glad you’re woke. Might want to do more research in whose running. First person to announce was Dani.
That’s very exciting! Checking her out now. Thanks for the heads up!
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