On the morning of August 3rd, 2019 a man from Allen, Texas walked into a Walmart in El Paso with an AK47, spraying bullets along the grocery aisles and killing 20.
Twenty minutes before, he posted a manifesto online detailing the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Fearing that “the heavy Hispanic population in Texas will make us a Democrat stronghold,” he opened fire in an act of not just terrorism, but also of political racism.
While national media accused Trump of his racist rhetoric inciting the violence that caused the tragedy, Texan politicians forsake the politics in order to come together in offering support. Rather than turning a tragedy political, our governor used politics to offer support after the tragedy. Greg Abbott’s actions on the ground display exceptional unity in Texas as the city of El Paso is reeling from the shooting that occurred.
He didn’t merely provide financial support for reconciliation – promising an infusion of $5 million in state funds to help with the recovery process, but also provided emotional support that crossed party lines. Through meeting with El Paso’s all-democrat delegation to the state legislature, he demonstrated that support is not divided by a political aisle. Through calling out the shooter as “a white supremacist” he helped the focus remain united on the problem of “dealing with racism.”
The response to this tragedy demonstrates the political resilience of Texas against the recent tendencies towards political stratification. While race becomes increasingly political on the national level, Texas pushes back, recognizing that values are not determined by skin color. As the state railed against the attack that included taking the lives of 6 Mexican nationals, our politicians displayed a unity that symbolized the power that Texas is bigger because we’re unified together.
Perhaps this attitude is recognized as the only way for the Republicans to survive – on a national level the rhetoric has caused the historically conservative Hispanic population to shift left. However, the optimist in me recognizes that we is unique in recognizing that amidst the battle of social values and ideologies surrounding us, the humanity in Texans stands strong.