First and foremost this petition is being blown way out of proportion. Jessica Luther (@scatx) has been explaining what 80,000 people here in Texas really means. As she has tweeted, it's just equivalent 1/4 of the Houston suburbs. Over 25 million Texans have NOT signed the petition. It's being used as another chance to mock the south and pin all of the ills of society on "those" backward people.
Let me make this abundantly clear: You don't get special liberal brownie points for putting down Texas. Time and time again it feels like urban and northern liberals try to feel better about themselves by disparaging people who live in the south or rural areas. It's annoying and insulting and as pointed out by Monica.Is.Liberal on Twitter, this attitude ignores the enormous work that it takes to be a liberal activist in Texas. In a series of tweets, she said:
Also I am sick & tired of ppl acting like Austin is the only place in TX w/liberals. We fight hard in other counties too. Joke all you want. It is easier to be a liberal in a state like WA than TX. We fight daily for representation. So yeah fall back. I've knocked on doors, made calls, registered voters, donated money, entered data all in Ft Worth TX. So kiss off on the shit talking. We did have Ann Richards as our Governor. Yes the evangelicals have taken over but we are fighting back. I've lost relationships with family members because I push the progressive/liberal/dem agenda in TX. What have you given up? I've worked side by side folks who work full time & donated 20+ hours a week on campaigns. Yeah we have liberals in TX & we kick ass. and you know what? our state is beautiful absolutely beautiful. I am not ashamed of my state just some of the folks that live here.Monica is right. When people make all these dismissive jokes about "those fools down in Texas," they're ignoring people like her; people who spend their daily lives speaking out against injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. It's simply true that the real test of progressive politics is known through activism, not sitting back and writing mocking tweets and Facebook posts.
Listen...it is incredibly important to acknowledge the truth behind the petition. There are problems here, which is why work like Monica's is so needed and so important. As the Huffington Post piece states, much of the backlash to a second Obama term is racially motivated.
However, the South in general and Texas in specific are hardly isolated areas of racism and/or ignorance. It doesn't matter how progressive or populated a region is, our country has race problems and other hate issues, across the board. It feels to me that many northern, urban, educated liberals want to ignore that fact and make it a "them" problem. That's the easy way out. It's much harder to actually work to make change in your own back yards.