Congressman Vela (D-TX34) recently applauded the exodus of Texas Democrats from the state as a perfectly legitimate method of conducting the people’s business in Texas. His logic, basically, was this: when you cannot beat them, turn off the lights and shut the whole thing down.
Our democratic republic has a built-in system of checks and balances to make it difficult for one faction to get everything they want. The filibuster, for example, is a mechanism used in the United States Senate to give the minority an opportunity to block legislation being promoted by the majority. There is one major difference, though, between using the available mechanisms of power to block legislation and what the Texas Democrats have done.
The filibuster and other political maneuvers commonly used by minority factions to stop run-away majorities all require some form of action, a maneuver that involves effort. What the Texas Democrats have done does not require any effort. They simply disappeared, refused to act. It’s akin to when a board chair unilaterally ends a Zoom meeting when she can sense the participants are leaning towards a vote with which she disagrees, despite the objections from all the other participants to hold the vote. This is categorically different from blocking a legislation; it is cowardice.
When Congressman Vela and others of his political persuasion applaud disappearing, they reveal something about their politics: doing nothing is doing something. No wonder Congressman Vela has been a do nothing representative, relying on crass words bereft of substance to build his public image rather than a resolve towards passing substantive legislation. Now, as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, a position given to him as a reward for his loyalty to the president, Vela applauds Democrats who disappear. Of course, he does. After all, he believes that doing nothing is a perfectly valid way to represent his own constituents. Some of us already knew this about him. Now we all know.
Rey Gonzalez, Jr., MD, JD San Benito