Message to the Governor
Dear Governor Greg Abbott,
By now you have probably heard the controversy regarding your participation in the North Texas Regional Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. It is indeed, a great honor to serve as the governor of the great state of Texas. It is an equal honor for many to meet you, as you have achieved the highest political honor in this state. It is with that honor comes great responsibility.
For many African-Americans in this state, you have failed us. This failure can be described in the words as “huge.” The animosity directed towards the selection of you as being the Honorary Grand Marshall is that it is an oxymoron. This is a contradiction of terms, as your service as Governor and Attorney General has not been honorific, for African-Americans but horrific.
The Greg Abbott record of lawsuits and countersuits to restrict voting rights is contradictory to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. You, as attorney general, argued against voting rights and instituted a strict Voter ID that values identification of carrying a gun over carrying a book as proper identification. You marshaling the state’s valuable resources to reducing voting instead of increase voting participation.
There is nothing great or grand, about one-third of our state, not being properly housed and malnourished. Texas also constantly ranks in the bottom ten in education and in healthcare. Despite this, the Governor rejects the past help of the federal government, as he is pushed by some of his supporters yelling “states’ rights”.
These same calls Dr. King heard in the 1960s, when it was for Voting Rights, the retort was States Rights. When it came to Fair Housing, the retort was States Rights. That was 1968. In recent memory when it comes to providing health care to children with CHIP, it’s “States Rights.’ When it came to respecting a black man living in the White House, it was “States Rights.”
In 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, then Governor of Texas John Connally was not sympathetic. Governor Connally, who himself was a collateral shooting victim of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, held the view that King was the victim of violence he had promoted. We have traveled a long way since those words in the spring of 1968.
As we live in the winter of our discontent in 2018 the debate on the legacy of Dr. King continues. Governor Abbott, you will no doubt participate in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Governor Abbott, riding on a float and having the title of Honorary Grand Marshal is mere window dressing. I sometimes wear my Dallas Cowboy football jersey, however, that does not make me a football player.