Opinion: I fled Texas, and I am okay with it

The Minneapolis skyline is the second best in the Midwest, and they are the city hosting the Minnesota Vikings NFL team. (Nov. 13, 2022)

The Prairie News is a student-led free press. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not those of WTAMU.

In 2021, 8.2% of the 332 million Americans moved. The numbers for 2022 appear to be significant at 30 million estimated people. I am one of those 30 million estimated people.

On Nov. 3, 2022, I packed my bags and moved 1,000 miles north of Amarillo, Texas, to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Several people have different reasons for moving, but overall I had four reasons for leaving the state where I was born and raised.

When I was first growing up on the outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro, I remember the seasons changing just a little bit every year. The differences have become so noticeable that people, no matter their political identification or educational level, would acknowledge the changing weather patterns.

The days and nights in Texas have been getting hotter, a drastic difference from the past. Every year there seems to be a worsening persistent drought in the southern part of the United States.

My new home is just miles away from Lake Superior, which contains 3 quadrillion gallons of water. The Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, have the headwater of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. The water is more transparent than a backwoods, manufactured body of water. It remains full due to the water readily available throughout the ‘Land of 10,000 lakes”.

I am incredibly grateful to have the privilege to move states and create a more secure environment.

  • Texas, and the U.S., are descending into nationalist fascism.

Before moving out of the state, I voted for Beto O’Rourke for governor. I did so to help foster a more empathetic climate for the people I love.

To be clear, Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke support increased funding for the state police and prioritizing businesses’ success. Abbott showed that there is record job growth in Texas, and he will help with furthering it. O’Rourke wants to bring more jobs to the state, not to ensure people can live without an income. These issues have little diversity in thought in American politics.

The U.S. is a one-party state, and Texas is no exception. Abbott and O’Rourke don’t support Medicine for All, guaranteed housing, food and water for every human, limiting massive wealth accumulation and other issues impacting working people’s daily lives.

Yet, Governor Abbott won his re-election last week because he successfully debated topics that are supported by the nationalist wing of the corporate state, Republicans. When I first came to West Texas A&M University, I was an individual that only thought of myself.

Volunteering, spending time with the unhoused community in Amarillo, and getting involved on campus opened my eyes to the skeletons in the closet of WT and Texas.

The loudest voice in the room is the voice with the most money. That is what corporate fascism is and will, unfortunately, follow me to Minnesota. Still, at least here in Minneapolis, the general public is not advocating for the state to get more government actions to be used against working people later.

  • My relationship is illegal in the state of Texas.

I usually do not partake in the debates the political parties use to garner support to win elections. Yet, I must acknowledge the ways that these debates impact me.

Being a queer person, a future marriage in Texas is likely to be guaranteed as invalid. This is because of an endless culture war perpetuated by the more conservative U.S. party, the Republicans.

Currently, the Texas constitution has an unenforceable ban on gay marriage. Due to the ruling of Obergefell, same-sex marriage is legal nationwide.

However, the supreme court is under a conservative majority of 6-3 due to the appointments of former President Donald J. Trump. This conservative bench has already overturned one liberal precedent surrounding national abortions and they have indicated that same-sex marriage is something they may be looking at in the future.

As a white queer man, I am privileged in my identity. I have the luck to be in a stable relationship where my fiancé and I bring in more than the minimum wage. We both work for a company that has flexible arrangements for working from home. We don’t have to worry about the threat of being impacted by state violence, like the BIPOC people in our community.

  • Living in Texas and in a car-centric environment is expensive.

Everyday living in Texas, I had to have a car. I lived in Amarillo because it was close to the places I wanted to go to and yet I had to drive to WT to talk to professors, attend meetings and work at The Prairie News.

There are a multitude of costs that come with owning a car. There are many fees that come with registration and permits. There is a cost to expend resources such as time. People have to set aside time to focus on driving, rather than enjoying the journey to places.

The Twin Cities has decent public transportation compared to Amarillo, but it’s still lacking compared to other larger cities around the world. Yet, I can take the train from my apartment to the Airport or Mall of America, rather than driving there.

When riding the bus, you can be intoxicated and free from the responsibilities of soberness. Minneapolis has a great brewery scene and that’s because of the consolidated living situations that make it a walkable community. Being in a walkable community means that you do not have to worry about the costs of drinking and driving, at least not in terms of you being behind the wheel.

Leaving the state of Texas has opened the doors to a healthier way of living that includes being car-free for the first-time since I got my learner’s permit.

We were able to move because of our privileges. However, most people in this country do not have the option to do so. Moving is expensive, and yet I see why people take the opportunity to pack up their bags and run to a safer environment.

If I had the wealth of someone like Rihanna or Jeff Bezos, I would help people flee the same circumstance I am running from. Yet, In the interest of self-preservation, I will be a Minnesotan, not a Texan.

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