Song #12 // Parker Millsap, “The Very Last Day” [The Very Last Day]

Dan Patrick is the Lt. Governor of Texas, my current big dumb state.

Let me tell you how dumb Dan Patrick is. Well, I only have a minute to share a few things. He’s not important enough to waste too much time on, unfortunately he’s just loud enough that we have to hear it pretty regularly down here.

I’ll preface this by drawing your attention to Senate Bill 6, which he unveiled yesterday, that he says ostensibly “protect[s] businesses from government interference,” but in actuality allows overt and unfettered discrimination based on people’s gender (and in some cases, sexual) identities.

In introducing this new hate bill–again, aimed ostensibly and giving more freedom to institutions, but in reality prevents transgendered people from exercising what should be a basic civil right of choosing which potty aligns with their identities–Patrick said, “we are on the right side of the issue, we are on the right side of history.”

Now, something should be telling you that similar things were said on the other side of Southern lunch counters and in hiring and wage decisions of women in the workplace. Those things were said, and they were certainly “right” for a long time.

But this is right now. And I haven’t even gotten to how dumb Dan Patrick is (because, let’s face it, we have to look no farther than North Carolina to see how seismically devastating similar bullish legislation can be on the economics and reputation of a state; even for a big dumb state like Texas this level of blind hatred and insecurity can’t stand.)

Dan Patrick (a big dummy who made his name not in hair gel but in radio) isn’t just interested in where people go to the potty. That’s not a civil rights issue to him. No, school choice of all things is “the civil rights issue of our time” according to Dan Patrick, who looks like Joe from the Guess Who board game.

School choice. Not fair housing. Not rights for transgender people. Not rights for women. Civil rights for Dan Patrick are the ability of parents to “choose” the best school for their children. Sounds innocuous, right? Keep in mind, though, that “choosing” is not the same as “going.” Through charters, vouchers, and mobility only available to some, school “choice” in Texas (as it has been elsewhere, most notably in my home state forever stained by future billionaire Education Secretary DeVos) is for the select few to outrun the hordes in an undesirable cohort. It’s economic segregation wrapped up in “freedom” and “choice.”

Dan Patrick is also dumb for hating women by hating Planned Parenthood, an organization whose primary purpose and activity is in widely providing women with healthcare and counseling. After falling for a fake news story about PP selling fetal tissue, Patrick launched a criminal investigation because, according to him, Planned Parenthood was profiting from abortion, and “encouraging” women to have abortions.

But even if Heaven shines down (even more than it usually does) on Texas and shows Dan Patrick the True Light on minorities and women, he’ll still stick to one thing: guns. This is Texas after all, y’all.

This past year Texas enacted the campus carry law–on the exact day of the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower mass shooting–which allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on all public universities. Needless to say Dan Patrick forwarded this particular bill not because of an explicit need or an explicit threat or even an explicit public outcry for it. He forwarded it because,well, ‘Merica (and because he’s dumb, which we’ve established.)

I’ve never met Dan Patrick. I have nothing against him personally as a man (that I know of.) Chances are we wouldn’t get along at all, but that’s neither here nor there. But I–and hopefully, we–know hatred, intolerance, and insecurity when we see it. I’d like to live in a state (and, really, in a country) where calling those things what they are is met with informed dialogue, if not agreement. Instead, down here it’s more likely met with:

Then go back to California, fairy.

Granted, going to a seldom-read blog to call an elected official “dumb,” and then cherry-picking pet policies to highlight and write about in brief uninformative ways isn’t exactly the height of maturity or eloquence. Like all my other posts, this is a first draft/best draft approach, and this one is as regrettable as the rest (read: espousing the virtues of coyote urine.) But I’ll rest a little easier tonight knowing that a small plot of the Internet is staked out with a simple declaration that people who are afraid of other people, who disenfranchise people, who make people less healthy, and who facilitate the shooting of other people are dumb. No one told Dan Patrick he had to be all of those things.

That’s just dumb.

Sorry Parker Millsap, neither you nor your music seemingly have anything to do with this tangent. My apologies (even though your tunes really brought it this year.)