Gestapo and Brown Shirts, the KGB, STASI, anyone? Just when I think I’ve heard it All, (capital “A” my emphasis), the Texas Legislature comes up with yet another dangerous attack on women’s rights. I’m talking about the idea of having regular Texas citizens collect a $10,000 reward for turning in patients and abortion providers who cross a six-week pregnancy line. Yes, the Texans want to make it illegal to have an abortion after six weeks, which is still within the timeframe where many females don’t even know they are pregnant!
These craven Republican Texas legislators walk among us, posing as actual humans. This isn’t new. If vigilantes don’t already make your skin crawl, think about lynch mobs, Jews turned in by neighbors for a one-way trip to a death camp and sweet little South African apartheid-era children squealing on mom and dad for being Black sympathizers. Where is the late, great, Molly Ivins — columnist smart-ass extraordinaire and as Texan as they come — when we really need her?
In Molly’s tongue-in-cheek spirit, I have come up with other $10,000 reward programs to offset the Bad Karma at work here. Consider the following:
Belay the Spray: My front walkway is made up of flagstones lined by various cacti. I have a shriveled brown thumb instead of a green one, which is why my yard is full of plants that are hearty enough that even I can’t kill them. The flagstones occasionally grow weeds in the cracks between the stones. I pull them out; it’s no biggie. I stepped outside one morning when the gardener was here and caught him spraying Round-Up on the weeds. I am afraid I scared him when I was yelling.
I went inside and printed out a diatribe in Spanish on the evils of Round-Up and gave it to him. I also felt bad because I’m guessing one of his customers probably yelled at him once for not using Round-Up! But geez, could I get a $10,000 reward for turning in people who not only use spray poisons on plants but also the people and pest control companies that use poison to kill rats? I have seen far too many poisoned predators up the food chain thanks to the stubborn use of substances that kill the “good guys” of the insect and animal kingdoms.
Spot the Speeders: Could I have a hefty reward for squealing on the jerks who race through streets anywhere, but especially in neighborhoods like ours that feature pedestrians, pets and kids? Yes, I am that woman who yells loudly at vehicles rocketing by. I once read somewhere that a satisfying thing to do is carry an ordinary household hair dryer when you take walks and point it at fast-moving cars while holding a pad and pen. People slow down when they think there is a radar detector trained on them! But really, I’d rather get some cash for turning them in.
Peg The Priest: And finally, did y’all hear about Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill of Wisconsin, who has been the acting general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? He’s actively supported denying faithful Roman Catholic President Biden communion because Biden supports women’s rights, including abortion rights. Monsignor Burrill has resigned because he’s been outed as a user of Grindr, a gay dating app. I don’t have room to go into all the problems with celibacy and closeted priests, but I suggest that exposing this kind of duplicity deserves a reward!
I’m guessing there are more than a few Texas legislators who have taken advantage of reproductive rights, including abortion, for their wives, daughters and/or mistresses. As Monsignor Burrill’s case proves yet again, it’s often the people who yell and scream about other people’s alleged depravity that are covering up their own. I would love to offer a $10,000 reward to any Texan who spills the beans about their legislator covering up their own shenanigans.
And yes, of course there are female antichoice folks. I’m reminded of another hypocrite, Susan Carpenter McMillan, who was a candidate for the California State Legislature. Ubiquitous in the late ’80s and early ’90s, she was a spokesperson for a large antichoice organization. McMillan finally had to admit that she’d had two abortions. Of course, they were necessary to her at the time. Oh please. By the way, I refuse to use the blatant spin term “pro-life,” which is a lie… but that’s another column.
So, let’s create a fund to reward folks who “out” Texas Republicans! Heck, while we’re at it, let’s throw in right-wingnut evangelicals and TV preachers, who often talk one thing and walk another.
Ellen Snortland has written, “Consider This” for decades and done her best to call out “bad guys.” Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org