I never used to think of Michigan and Texas as kissing cousins.
After moving to Michigan from Indiana as a young adult, I always considered Michigan a diverse, well-balanced state with strong streaks of both liberalism and conservatism. Texas was that wayward state way down south, that land of Confederate flags, evangelism and ten-gallon hats that never managed to make it culturally out of the early 1950s.
That’s why I’ve been puzzled of late to see parallels emerging between the two states. Texas has already turned its back on a Medicaid expansion under Obamacare – much to the detriment of its million poor residents – and Michigan seems poised to do the same.
And just today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry lambasted Democratic state senator Wendy Davis for a day-long filibuster of a state bill that would severely curtail abortion rights in Texas. Perry questioned how Davis, in good conscience, could challenge the bill when she herself was a teen-age mother who went on to college and success – someone, he says, who should understand the sanctity of life.
Perry asked the wrong question. The question is how he and his abortion opponents can, in good conscience, take a wrecking ball to what has been law of the land nationwide since the early 1970s and deny Texas women their basic rights.
This dressing down by Perry reminded me of the Michigan House floor suspension last year of state Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum for their heated rhetoric in fighting similar abortion legislation. Brown, for instance, was banned temporarily from speaking on the House floor for uttering the word, “vagina.”
Yes, Michigan and Texas should get together for a hoedown, maybe some square-dancing and barbecue, followed by singing of Baptist hymns. The party would be grand, as long as anyone who attends does not need healthcare services or becomes pregnant.
As in real life, seeing kissing cousins can make one wince.