By Vincent L. Hall
Stop the music! June is Black Music Month, but the sovereign State of Texas is always offbeat. The Bluebonnet State was late getting the word to free the slaves and is always the last to the liberation party. If you happen to be anything less than a rich property owner with connections in Texas, everything is a bit behind. Texas is the Lone-Stall State!
Juneteenth is what wordsmiths call a portmanteau (portman’too). A portmanteau, simply put, is a blending of two or more words to create a new word or concept. Blended word concepts are important when you study history because the interpretation of federal and state law is wrought with dubious terms and double entendre. Take for example the Supreme Court’s instruction to the states after Brown v. Board of Education. The court agreed that segregation violated the Constitution but allowed the states to correct their injustice with “all deliberate speed.” All deliberate speed was legally translated by Segregationists as; “OK to procrastinate, no need to rush.”
Juneteenth is by no means a legal term but was based in legal precedent. Honest Abe issued the Emancipation Proclamation in the fall of 1862 with an enforcement date of January 1st 1863. For slaves in Texas the decree was hardly worth the parchment it was scribbled upon because the state remained under the control of the Confederacy. Texas and especially East Texas fought and resisted the Emancipation Proclamation, and it was not until June 19th, 1865 that Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops descended upon Galveston to demand an end to the emancipation procrastination.
Maybe we need another federal intervention. 154 years post Juneteenth and Texas is still moving with all deliberate speed when it comes to defending the poor and taking care of teachers and a whole range of subjects that social justice activists sink their teeth in. Governor Greg Abbott is no General Granger and has little compassion for anything that doesn’t keep him in office. In September of 1986, Abbott was jogging on a windy day through the ritzy River Oaks neighborhood in Houston. A large Oak limb snapped as he ran beneath it. The accident cost him the use of his spine and wreaked havoc on his kidneys.
Abbott, an attorney, sued the homeowner and a tree care company and has received nearly $7,000,000 in payments since. Author and Attorney Mark Bello makes mention of Abbott’s gross hypocrisy in a 2013 “Legal Examiner.” “Mr. Abbott has been outspoken in his support for the tort reforms. He says tort reform is needed to curb “frivolous lawsuits.” What a hypocrite! For example, under Abbott’s policies, if a patient is left paralyzed from the waist down due to a doctor’s negligence, tort reform caps non-economic damages at $250,000 with no built-in increases over time, to keep up with the rising cost of living.
And, let’s not forget who we are talking about. Abbott has sued the federal government 27 times; (20 since President Obama took office) at the expense of taxpayers. The cost for Texas alone is $2.58 million. Of those 27 cases, he has won five. Were these 22 loses frivolous expenditures of taxpayer money? Greg Abbott will not accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Texas, causing millions to suffer from the lack of preventive, physical and psychological treatment. Parkland Hospital of Dallas, one of the leading public health facilities in the world, estimates that it loses more than $100,000,000 per year as a result.
And then, there’s this other issue that gets lost in the red-state assault of women’s productive rights. The Texas Tribune reported, “The rate of maternal deaths in 2012 among black women was 27.8 per 100,000 live births, compared with 13.6 for white women and 11.5 for Hispanic women.” That is just one casualty of denying Medicare that goes under the radar. There are so many others.
Texas is in a constant state of procrastination, and it keeps all that intact by electing GOP legislatures led by the biggest freedom staller and hypocrite of them all…our “frenemy” Greg Abbott!!! (And yes, frenemy is another portmanteau!) #maketexasblue