Budowsky: Texas Mr. and Ms. Smiths come to Washington for democracy
In a daring move that electrified believers in voting rights and democracy throughout Texas and across America, more than 50 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives have airlifted into Washington to escalate a heroic battle for the right to vote that is under fierce attack across the nation.
This battle is being waged in state capitals across America and the Capitol building in Washington, which was recently invaded by a criminal mob committing defamations against democracy that small minds try desperately to support or forget.
In Austin, the courage and conviction of these Texas Democrats prevents the Texas House from achieving a quorum and passing another aggressive attack against voting rights in the Lone Star State. In Washington, these Texas legislators aim to inspire every Democratic member of the United States Senate to pass historic legislation to prevent massive voter suppression and hyperpartisan gerrymandering by those who would steal the midterm elections in 2022 and the presidential election in 2024.
Many of these GOP voter suppression attacks are aimed at preventing Black and Hispanic voters from making their voices heard. But they also attack the rights of millions of voters who are senior citizens, disabled, female and young.
As Texas state Rep. Chris Turner, chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus and a leader who some key Democrats believe would be a great governor if he ever chooses to run, says: these courageous Texas Democrats are coming to Washington with a simple message — Congress must act NOW to defend democracy against the pandemic of voter suppression.
These Texas Democrats are a beacon of light for democracy in America. They are reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” except in that film the hero waged a filibuster against corruption, and now the heroes wage a battle to persuade every Senate Democrat to thwart a filibuster against voting rights that is a dagger aimed at the heart of the right to vote in America.
These Texas Democrats come to the Capitol at the very moment that President Biden has begun addressing the nation with a passion for voting rights, initiating a grand and historic battle.
Democrats and all believers in democracy are inspired that these Mr. and Ms. Smiths who came to Washington from Texas are demonstrating creativity and political courage and daring. They are ready and willing to put their political careers on the line and make personal and family sacrifices to defend the great cause of American democracy.
The attacks against voting are promoted by the big lie of those who claim that the 2020 election was not honest; and the ludicrous lie that the loser of the 2020 campaign will become president again this August; and the poisonous lie that voters should be suppressed in 2022 and 2024 because of fraud that did not happen in 2020.
By dramatic contrast, the Texas Mr. and Ms. Smiths who come to Washington tell Congress the great truth that the right to vote is the blood, the soul, the heart, the spirit and the essence of America. They tell Congress the great truth that the right to vote is the sacred trust that protects and defends the American dream, and anyone who seeks to destroy this is committing a defamation against democracy that historians will condemn for centuries to come.
As I write these words, for inspiration I am watching a tape of Bruce Springsteen singing “Chimes of Freedom” in East Berlin, in 1988, one year before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
While Springsteen sang “Chimes of Freedom,” hundreds of thousands of East Berliners, defying their communist dictators, sang with him with stars in their eyes and hope in their hearts for the dream of democracy they joyously celebrated one year later — as others in countless places have across centuries.
The timeless truths told by Texas Democrats who come to Washington include the greatest truth of all: If every Senate Democrat backs voting rights they — and we — and democracy — will win.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.