Austin, Was It Ever About Principle?

By Eanes Ally

I find it just gut-wrenching how quickly you, my favorite Austin liberals, gave it all up. All these years, I believed you. I believed you had principle.  You made your own deodorant. You smacked your kid’s hand away from non-organic fruit. You raised both chickens and bees. You never missed a Saturday at the farmer’s market. So much hemp! So earthy! So crunchy! All the bona fides!

For years, at every playgroup, we ate over-priced, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free cardboard snacks while you proselytized nonstop about how giving up gluten solved all your intestinal problems. “Gluten! Inflammation! No Good!” But today you have zero-zippo-nada curiosity about how the mRNA technology may trigger autoimmune disease.

For years, all across Facebook, you asked for names of docs who would see your unvaccinated kids. And yet, last spring, you were the first in line to enroll your kids in the covid vax clinical trials. The clinical trials!

Remember that one playdate, when that one mama talked about giving her kids the lollipop from the other kid with measles? You sat listening with rapt attention, trying to figure out how to get your kids exposed to measles, you know, for the natural immunity.  But for the last two years, your kids haven’t been allowed to see anyone outside their “safety pod.”

How about the nonstop stream of pics of your kids at the capitol for the Austin Women’s March. You were absolutely convinced that the last administration would usher in fascism! authoritarianism! tyranny! Those jack-booted thugs! And yet not even a raised eyebrow at the power invested in an unelected Austin “health authority” with tyrannical power to shut down the city and the nerve to threaten us with more if we don’t comply.

How about all your t-shirts and bumper stickers about “My body, my choice”—my favorite is the one with uterus and ovaries made of the Longhorn logo— only to find out that you don’t give a rat’s patootie about anyone else’s bodily autonomy. It’s not that you were concerned about control; you just wanted to be in control.

Also turns out that “you do you” and “fly your freak flag” meant everyone else could live their lives…as long as their lives comport with your vision and include coerced vaccines and mandated masks.

And all that recycling! Remember the time you glared at the playgroup and collected all the plastic water bottles to take home for recycling? And yet now, not even a stray glance for piles of test-kit packaging and dirty masks.

Oh! And those years of teaching your kids that Trump voters are anti-science troglodytes—“If you don’t study, people are going to think you’re as dumb as a Trump voter”—only to see you mask your little children and impede their breathing. For what? For science?

All those Facebook posts about BLM and equity and racism! So. Much. Compassion. So. Much. Virtue. But not one phone call to AISD to express concern about the disparate impacts of mask mandates on kids struggling to learn to read.

In the long run, what’s a bigger threat to kids at the poverty line—covid or illiteracy? Given the choice, what do you think their mamas would pick?

I never expected better of anyone on the national stage, but you? I believed you. All these grand, virtuous proclamations announced with such flair. We didn’t always (ever?) agree, but your passion and idealism made me want to be better. I thought you meant it. It’s heartbreaking to find out that it was never about principle.

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