Tuesday , May 24 2022
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Is Promoting A Texas-Sized ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Is Promoting A Texas-Sized ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

According to Axios, Texas’s ever upward aspirational Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sent out a campaign email this week promising a Texas-sized version of Florida’s commonly called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Texas doesn’t have anything on paper yet, but that almost seems beside the point. In today’s MAGA meme climate, a state like Texas is damn sure not going to let Florida stake a claim of its own. No, Texas is near-obligated tip its cowboy hat, say “howdy,” and slam its response through a bull’s horn. Everything is bigger in Texas, everything in MAGA politics moves ever extreme.

The development is depressing, of course. And yet juxtapose the bills against corporate America’s response and one feels almost dared to feel good about the country’s direction at least with respect to LGBTQ issues.

Patrick’s email contained a flaming all-caps pronouncement that “I AM DONE WITH DISNEY!” and:

 “Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy.”

Back to Axios:

Patrick urged his supporters to boycott Disney and follow him in selling stock in the company, criticizing the business’ “woke agenda” after the company suspended its political donations in Florida and said it would fight the law.

Never in history has a group of people been prouder to proclaim themselves content to sleep through current events, including the fact that Disney’s stock is higher today than 30 days ago.

As Axios points out, this isn’t Patrick’s first go-round in taking on gigantic corporations that stake out a policy Patrick finds inconsistent with his personal platform. Last year he ripped Fort Worth base American Airlines for opposing Texas’s draconian voter suppression law, stating even back then: “Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy.”

It is with a great deal of trepidation along with some caveats that one reaches back to the Mitt Romney cliche to remind  Patrick that, “Corporations are people, my friends.” And in this sense, Romney’s old position stands as a cogent reminder that those silver planes don’t just show up with guys to fly them and attendants to keep people safe. The company’s structure consists of people, some that hack through numbers and discover that… Patrick may not necessarily speak for all Texans, or Americans, even though Republicans routinely, almost machinely, win every election in the state.

The actual practical effect of Florida’s and a potential Texas bill is minimal, given it involves sexual issues that come up in educating the youngest children, as we saw yesterday when Jen Psaki taunted Fox’s Peter Doocy while asking him to show her a kindergarten sex-ed lesson. One could follow the same reasoning through third grade without serious worry. But the symbolism and political gamesmanship do matter, which is why a company like Disney would take a stand, even when it carries some risk. Would anyone have noticed had Disney stayed utterly silent? Would anyone have noticed if American Airlines had stayed silent? There are massive companies in both states that are staying silent, yet those that speak oppose the bills.

These laws may reflect the MAGA GOP base’s values, but that’s a far cry from the majority or even the few moderate Republican values. We know. Because, even though corporations are people, my friends, they must still answer to shareholders by making money. When money, not the Republican primary vote, is on the line, perhaps DeSantis and Patrick aren’t the ones best positioned to assign values to their citizens.

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