“I am going down with the ship.”
I can’t speak for everyone. I can only speak for me. I can’t fault any other choice anyone else might make.
All I am saying is: If Texas goes down, I’m going down with it.
To the bitter end.
I’m here to stay and I’m ready to fight.
Ever since 2016, and with increasing urgency these past few years, I’ve seen Progressive friends either leave our state, or discuss it seriously. Some have already left for more friendly states.
Sometimes, it’s said as a joke.
Many times, nobody’s laughing.
Considering yesterday’s SCOTUS decision —and the “trigger law” coming soon to Texas— I trust an ever-increasing numbers of Progressive folks will now have these very same conversations once again.
It’s clearly a grim time in our state.
The rights of many people I dearly love —as a pastor, as a family member, and as a friend— are in serious jeopardy:
The freedom of liberty (common sense gun safety, and police reform)…
The right to vote…
The freedoms of so many Texans are increasingly under assault on so many fronts. It’s hard to keep it all straight. The assault feels overwhelming and the situation might seem hopeless.
And, maybe it is.
To anyone who suggests that the fight is hopeless and that the ship is *already* sinking, I honestly can’t talk you down. Maybe it IS already too late.
I mean, we are armed only with ideas, values, and the power of the vote. The other side is increasingly armed with literal guns, massive financial resources, and a new decade of gerrymandered districts that grossly disenfranchises thousands.
But to any who wants to leave for “friendlier” places, let our experience be your warning.
Texas has never been different from America. It’s always just been America writ large. The same forces at work here are are at work there. Further, if our nation has learned nothing else since 2016, it’s that no right, even those we believe to be bedrock and fundamental, is ever fully forever guaranteed. There will always be those who seek to limit or take away your rights. And if and when Texas falls, they will most definitely come for your new state too. There is no permanently “safe place.”
That said, I cannot begrudge anyone any choice they make. I’m just speaking of the choice *I* will make. (I *will* ask one thing: If and when you leave what those of us who stay need from you is encouragement, not your backseat driving…we understand why *you* left…just help us with our struggle to stay, rather than pile the list of horribles we can already cite higher…)
Make no mistake, what is coming is a very grim time, and some very challenging years, where no outcome is guaranteed.
No march toward “progress” is assured. (Hint: It never was…)
The level of sacrifice called for could be extremely high.
Further, there is no dodging the truth that the struggle will be far more costly for some Texans than for folks like me. (CIS gender, straight White man…)
But…I will stand with Women, the LGBTQ+ community, People of Color, Immigrants, and Religious Minorities.
I will stand with doctors and nurses who fear being sued by fellow Texans.
I will stand with teachers, afraid they will be asked to carry a gun.
I will stand with children, asking what we will do beyond mere “words,” to keep them safe in school.
I will stay.
And I will fight.
And I’d the ship goes down, so be it.
All this is what I know I will do, deep in my bones. I can do no other. Because it’s what I’ve always done during my adult life. And for me, leaving is just not an option.
There will be other days, other posts, other moments…to talk about what this means…to talk social policy and elections…to talk theology or ethics…to look at gerrymandering and take a hard look at just how challenging this will be…and to work like hell between now and whatever future will yet unfold.
We don’t need to, and we can’t, solve everything (maybe anything) today.
All I am saying today is this: When it comes to the fundamental question of whether to stay in Texas, or to leave, I AM NOT LEAVING.
This is *my* state too. I love it, and I love all its people —even those with differing politics and social views— far too much to leave it.
I love all my big, beautiful, messy Dallas friends.
I love the diversity of our city’s core —the neighborhoods where I’m privileged to live and work— and the racial, economic, and gender diversity of the whole county.
I love my Austin friends, who consistently seem to forget that we have more Blue voters than they do (Bless their hearts…).
I love all our big cities: the humidity of Houston/Galveston, the cowboy history of Fort Worth, the deep beauty of San Antonio’s missions and riverwalk.
I love the suburbs where I was raised.
I love the breathtaking beauty of Big Bend, and the insanity of Marfa and Terlingua.
I love the beautiful small towns of East Texas, where my family is from.
I love the small towns, and family businesses we often visit when we go to our East Texas Lakehouse.
I love the Hill Country rancher/cowboys I met when I lived in Mason County, and the Hill Country hippies of the Kerrville Folk Festival.
I love the migrant workers in the Valley, and the old Germans in Central Texas.
I love the Texans who just got here from somewhere else, and those who (like my by-marriage family) were here before any White person ever breathed the word “Texas.”
And it’s your state too.
Where ever you are from, and whatever your reasons are for loving it…or hating it…it’s your state too.
It’s our time to fight —with our time, our talents, our resources, our vote, and perhaps our liberty— for our lives, for our loved ones, and for our state.
THE SHIP MAY BE GOING DOWN.
BUT IT IF DOES, I’M GOING DOWN WITH THE SHIP.
Who’s with me?
4 thoughts on “I am going down with the ship.”
Dear Pastor Eric Folkerth,
Hello! I would like to have the pleasure and honour of sending you my support for your indefinable spirit in defending the following against the fallouts of the SCOTUS striking down Roe v. Wade:
May you have a wonderful and productive weekend!
I’m going down with you. Part of it is lack of choice: leaving is really not an option for me but mostly I’m staying to fight the good fight. Thanks for your good words here.
I’m staying. I will speak up about the inequities, the exclusions, and the punitive decisions that hurt so many, but I’ll be here. Gloria Thomas