Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law, passed overwhelmingly by the Texas legislature, that bans local governments from banning fracking within their own city limits. Without any sense of irony, the Republican-dominated government took local control away in a supreme act of big government. Smaller government and local control were core values … until they weren’t. (Mercifully, the Texas legislature now has adjourned for 18 months.)
It is no secret that the Republican Party in Texas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil and gas industry. They have proven repeatedly that they have a greater obligation to that industry than they do to their grandchildren who just might need breathable air. The environment always loses in Texas to carbon monoxide-producing industry.
The fact that they so openly and blatantly sold out their previously held values is disgusting to civilized society. The problem is that there seems to be very little of that left. There are few cries of hypocrisy and little visible outrage that our politicians are becoming openly owned by big business and a handful of billionaires. The lack of anger or even fear may well spell the death of democracy as we have known it. No one should be surprised by the behavior of politicians, but we all should be terrified by the passive acceptance of their behavior by the average American.
Why aren’t we marching? Why aren’t we protesting? Heck, why aren’t we voting? The most dangerous threat to democracy and to civilized society is not ISIS, or Russia, or China, or terrorists. The greatest danger to our country is the incredible apathy of people who once cared.
The truth is we can hardly criticize our politicians for selling out, because we the people have sold our values—civil liberties, economic equality, a future for our children, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—for the illusion of security. We have let them make us afraid of terrorists and people of color, and that our government will take away our guns. In our fear, we have let them destroy our democracy by selling it to the highest bidder.
That is true atheism. We are afraid because we don’t believe in God. If we did we could not be made afraid enough to sell out.