In god we trust, but Abbott not so much

Signs are designated to say In God we Trust but there is no law that says it must be in English.

State of Texas

Signs are designated to say “In God we Trust” but there is no law that says it must be in English.

Senate Bill 797: A GOP Embracing of Religious Fundamentalism

In pattern with his past behavior, with the introduction of Senate Bill 797, dubbed the “In God We Trust” bill, Governor Greg Abbott continues to embrace McCarthy-esque ideals and instill fear into his followers under the guise of religious and nationalist virtue.

The law, passed in 2021 during Texas’ legislative season, requires the following…

Sec. 1.004. DISPLAY OF NATIONAL MOTTO. (a) A public
elementary or secondary school or an institution of higher
education as defined by Section 61.003 must [may] display in a
conspicuous place in each building of the school or institution a
durable poster or framed copy of the United States national motto,
“In God We Trust,” if the poster or framed copy meets the
requirements of Subsection (b) and is:
(1) donated for display at the school or institution;
(2) purchased from private donations and made
available to the school or institution [in each classroom,
auditorium, and cafeteria].
(b) A poster or framed copy of the national motto described
by Subsection (a) must contain a representation of the United
States flag centered under the national motto and a representation
of the state flag.
(c) A public elementary or secondary school and an
institution of higher education may accept and use private
donations for the purposes of Subsection (a).

Calling this Orwellian will seem like a stretch to most, but taking the Texas GOP’s policy history into account, it’s apparent what they seek to do. For far too long, house republicans have been acting on their own volition and self-righteousness. Keep in mind, these are the same 70 year old politicians, people who haven’t been in the public education system for 50 or so years, advocating for cameras in classroom. The disconnect between policy and public will is increasingly strong in Texas, especially in our educational institutions.

However, I digress. I try to not be cynical, and I try to give politicians the benefit of the doubt (though it’s in none of our best interests), but there is no redeeming factor about the legislation in question whatsoever. Is there an exponential decline in religiosity in younger people, yes, but let’s think critically here and ask ourselves, is this really a reasonable approach? Would forcing God upon impressionable children and angst-ridden teenagers really solve any of the societal declines the GOP so adamantly preaches is imminent? Perhaps their ignorance has bested them, though. There is an argument to be made that traditionalists truly do want what is best for our children, and they believe religion is the only moral pathway to such nirvana.

But if I were to tell you that, I would be disingenuous. To say this law is a mere religious virtue signal is to insinuate ignorance on part of the Texas GOP, which I refuse to do. There is no religious hand at play, and though Abbott would like for you to believe otherwise, any ounce of concern and motivation behind this law is fear. House republicans have proven themselves corrupt and disingenuous, but not unintelligent. Willfully stuck in the dark and past, sure, but not unintelligent. These are career politicians, all things considered. It’s a game they’ve taken advantage of for years, and have been relatively coasting on through the 21st century. In just 20 years, Texas has gone from a red monster to a swing state, and with new abortion and gun rulings engulfing the conversation on the upcoming midterms, the GOP is fearful of a blue wave, and rightfully so.

Paradigm shifts like these aren’t entirely uncommon, but the cause of such a blatant demographic transfer is. Rather than both parties diverging, devolving into extremism on both ends, the Dems have remained relatively stable in their core positions while the GOP continues to welcome MAGA propaganda and boogeymen. The GOP was once a respectable organization, a simple fellow citizen across the aisle, but their cult of personality has reached a point of, arguably, no return. Conservatism is an ideology formed in direct opposition to progressivism, it’s reactionary by nature, and I believe Abbott and his colleagues have realized this. They don’t have to draft any legitimate, impactful policy, they just have to oppose the Dems at any cost necessary. This is even true at the federal level, with bipartisan bills meant to lower the cost of baby formula by funding the FDA being opposed by Republicans 231-192, every 192 nays being from GOP representatives. Looking at it all retrospectively, the rose-colored glasses begin to fade. It’s all one big power grab.

The problem is not women, minorities, or non-Christians. It’s a system that works for career politicians, and not the people. There is no incentive to act by the will of the state of Texas, so until we reap the root of this rotting tree, Greg Abbott and his posse of “yes” men have no reason to. After all, why act morally when your immorality is rewarded?