Above you see the Tweet my Houston District C Councilwoman Abbie Kamin made to mark the 3rd anniversary of the January 6 insurrection attempt.
It is good that Councilwoman Kamin noted the day. All elected officials should be clear they oppose insurrection.
In addition to this Tweet, what are other ways Ms. Kamin can protect freedom?
*Speak frankly about the threat to civil liberties and democracy from the political right and the Republican Party. Bipartisanship is fine with an opposing party that supports democracy. But what if no such opposing political party is available? How is Councilwomen Kamin preparing her constituents for the authoritarian challenge of Trump-led 2024 elections? Is she discussing the mental health crisis many are facing as they contemplate the erosion of democracy that would come from a second Trump term? Advising District C residents to consider self-protection strategies appropriate for their household as right-wing political extremism accelerates?
*Ask the six Houston City Council Republicans if they support Trump and authoritarianism, or if they will speak up for democracy within the Republican Party. Again-Bipartisanship is great. It is essential in a democracy. But working with anti-democratic officials and not holding them to account is not pragmatism or good government. Instead, it is a form of extremism itself. You can't just look the other way at people seeking to take away your rights, or who will not speak up when they know they should.
*Prepare and make public a detailed written plan for increasing November voter turnout in District C. The plan could discuss the hiring of canvassing teams, how these teams will trained and what they will be paid, what groups and organizations Ms. Kamin will work with, how she will team up with other local elected Democrats to boost turnout, what permanent structure to boost turnout her effort will leave for the next election cycle & whatever else I'm missing here. This high turnout is needed to hold Harris County for Democrats, defeat Ted Cruz and strongly oppose Donald Trump. What could be a higher priority for Harris County elected Democrats? All elected Democrats should prepare such a plan.
*Speak to law enforcement unions supporting election-deniers such as Ken Paxton, Donald Trump and any Republican who has not publicly distanced themselves from these anti-democratic figures, about the dangers of law enforcement support of politicians at odds with our rights. There is no public safety without democracy. We must expand our commonly-held conceptions of public safety to include our freedom. Ms. Kamin has been endorsed multiple times by law enforcement unions. If these unions will not step back from anti-democratic politicians, then Councilmember Kamin may decide their backing does not meet her standards. She can still support the police while distancing herself from police unions.
We just saw a low turnout and depressing Houston municipal election season. John Whitmire and Shelia Jackson Lee had no ability to boost turnout even after years and years in public office. Council Democrats often did little to support other Democrats on the City Council runoff ballot.
Business as usual is putting Houstonians who care about democracy at risk. Texas women are being forced out of state for needed care. Governor Abbott is talking openly about shooting migrants. The Texas Legislature has passed laws to overturn Harris County election results. It is good Councilwoman Kamin has the events on 1/6 firmly in mind. But there is much more she could do.
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I'm Neil Aquino