I was reading Brains and Eggs post about mansplaining. I don't know where I have been the past few years but I only heard this term the last couple of days in reference to Rick Perry's outrageous comments regarding Texas Senator Wendy Davis. I absolutely relate to mansplaining
The idea of mansplaining has grown to be applied to any situation in which men believe they are the experts and drone on and on about something on which the women being lectured are the actual experts. It also refers to the social syndrome in which women cast themselves as listeners who doubt their own expertise in the face of such masculine certainty.
but that's not what this post is about. It's about WHY there are bigots like Rick Perry in charge.
Because so many Republican men think that all women are like Republican women, it does not occur to them that there can be women like Wendy Davis. Or Leticia Van de Putte, whose question set off the roaring in the Texas Senate gallery that ultimately killed the bill.
We all know (that would be Republicans and Democrats, as well as Greens and Libertarians and independents) that Republican women and men like those mentioned previously are actually the minority of Texans. Our problems in Texas, however, stem from the fact that they are the majority of those who vote. That's why people like Rick Perry and Greg Abbott and Sen. Bob Deuell -- and Ted Cruz and Steve Stockman and Louie Gohmert -- and women like those pictured above are our elected officials.
We also know that these same people are desperate to keep it that way. The Supreme Court cases, the gerrymandered districts, the voter ID legislation now back on ramming speed... all of it is designed to keep people like this right where they are. In charge.
Here's the statistics that probably shouldn't have shocked me but did. This is from the San Antonio Express
Texas ranked 51st in voter turnout in 2010 — behind the other states and Washington D.C. — and 49th in the number of citizens who contact public officials, according to the study released by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin and the National Conference on Citizenship.
The state's slacking continues when it comes to civic participation rates, ranking 43rd in donating and 42nd in volunteering, according to the Texas Civic Health Index.
So, we have the least amount of people who vote who are putting in people who may or may not represent the majority. For me, if I look at a ballot and only see Republicans running, I have no incentive to even vote unless it's for the least worst or to try to vote out a particularly egregiously bigoted incumbent. And indeed the report says this may be one reason why more don't vote in Texas.
She said Texas' comparatively noncompetitive elections also may play a role, since Republicans are so dominant that people may not feel they have as much of an incentive to get involved.
Part of the answer, then, has to be to get more Democrats on the ballot, and then work to see those get elected. A second prong has to be to get people registered to vote, make SURE people are registered by having them confirm their registrations and then getting out the vote in the election cycle. Even if you vote Republican, surely for democracy's sake, you believe there should be a CHOICE, yes?
One thing for sure. It is NOT that the Texas citizens who were in the capitol gallery the other night were outliers, it is that they are not being represented and Republicans like Rick Perry and David Dewhurst want to insult them by pretending they don't count.