Right-wing politicians only care about power, not actual people

I was sitting here in my home office (aka the living room) this morning, getting started on my work day, with the television on in the background. I wasn’t really paying attention to the TV; it was just on because my wife had been listening to the news earlier and hadn’t turned it off when she left for the commute to her office (aka the dining room).

Because I wasn’t actually paying attention, I didn’t notice when the political ad came on. So I don’t know what the candidate’s name is or what office he is running for. But I do know he is a Republican, and I do know his argument against his opponent is that his opponent supports a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own body.

This candidate described himself as “pro-life,” and how voters have to choose him over his opponent because he will “protect life.”

I refused to even turn around and look at the TV; I could feel my blood pressure going up just at the idea that Texas Republicans are “pro-life.”

As many others have said, these right-wing anti-choice folks are NOT “pro-life.” What they are is “pro-birth.” Because once those “unborn children” become “born” children, these folks don’t give a fat rat’s ass about them unless they are straight, white and cisgender. And it helps if the child is a son born to a wealthy family.

But what about those “born” babies with black skin or brown skin? The ones who don’t fit the perfect child mode — who are born with physical problems or a genetic illness, who are born addicted, who are born to grow up as LGBTQ? What about the ones whose mommies and daddies are too poor or too liberal to donate to keep these “pro-birth” folks in power?

The right-wing pro-lifers don’t care about those “born.”

For instance, more than 100 children have died while in state custody since 2020. That is, according to the Texas Tribune, “on par with” the numbers from previous years. That doesn’t include children who have been abused or neglected while in the care of the state. There is a federal lawsuit that has been going on FOR A DECADE over the fact that children in the Texas foster care system are being abused and neglected in staggeringly high numbers.

According to a November 2021 report by CBS DFW news, nearly 15,000 children statewide are in the custody of Texas’ Child Protective Services. While most are in foster homes, “Every night, hundreds of [those children] are forced to sleep in offices, motels, and other make-shift government shelters.”

In other words, these children are being kept in unlicensed facilities, and according to the Texas Tribune in a September 2021 report, “501 children spent at least one night in a non-licensed state-operated placement” in just the first half of 2021. And, “On average, children spent two weeks consecutively in unlicensed placements, with one child spending 144 consecutive nights in such placements.”

The Tribune goes on to note: “Children in unlicensed placements were at times given the wrong medication, while others went without their prescribed medication for days … . Investigators found evidence of child-on-child sexual abuse. Some children ran away, and there’s evidence that some communicated with sex traffickers. Untrained staff members restrained children as young as 7, and in one placement a security guard handcuffed a child.”

It’s illegal, of course, to keep these children in these unlicensed facilities, but hey — there’s nowhere else to put them. But even the licensed facilities aren’t necessarily safe places; earlier this year news broke that a staff member at a LICENSED STATE FACILITY was abusing girls who had been rescued from situations where they were being sexually abused and trafficked.

And what about the children in Texas that CPS doesn’t even get to in the first place? In March of this year, KVUE ABC reported that 199 children not in state custody died of abuse or neglect in Texas in 2021, according to a report from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, of which CPS is a part. In 177 of those 199 deaths, the report notes, there was no open CPS investigation or ongoing services, which means there was no regular monitoring happening that might have saved the child. That means 22 of those children were being monitored by the state when they died.

Where is the “pro-life” outrage for these children?

CPS is obviously under-staffed and overworked. They just do not have the time or resources necessary to look after the children already in their custody, much less those still living in dangerous home situations. And yet, Gov. Greg Abbott still wants CPS to investigate loving, supportive families who are doing everything they can to keep their children happy and healthy just because those families are providing proper and necessary healthcare for their trans children.

Sure Greg: Ignore the children who are actually being abused and neglected and dying to spend your time persecuting and terrorizing families caring for their trans children, because you don’t like trans folks. That makes sense, yeah? That’s being properly “pro-life,” right?

Let’s be honest here: These “pro-life” folks aren’t really “pro-life.” They don’t really give a damn about these children — born or unborn — and they sure as hell don’t give a damn about the women they are forcing to carry even untenable and dangerous pregnancies to term.

They are not “pro-life.” What they are is “pro-power.” They are claiming power over our lives, and they are using it to their own advantage, despite what is best for us.

It is time for us to take our power back. And it starts at the ballot box. Yes — take to the streets in protest; show up in numbers too large and too loud to be ignored. But more importantly, show up to vote — in EVERY election. That’s the only way we can protect our lives and the lives of those we love.

Tammye Nash is managing editor of Dallas Voice. The opinions expressed here are her own.