Back in June of 2014–that’s 20fucking14, people–I wrote about the cane toads of politics. I was talking about the way the Republican Party was deliberately encouraging fuckwits and conspiracy theorists to disrupt healthy political discourse as a tool for gaining and staying in power. My point was….wait. Damn it. Hold on.
Okay, cane toads–a quick and dirty primer: they’re a species of truly massive, voracious, ridiculously fecund toads that are also poisonous to predators. These gargantuan bastards will eat anything, including each other if no other food is handy. Greedy industrialist farmers who wanted a cheap, easy way to control insects introduced cane toads to sugar cane fields in places like Hawaii, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and now–because cane toads ARE such massive, voracious, ridiculously fecund, poisonous toads–the cane fields are overrun with cane toads.
Right. My point, as I was saying, was that introducing and promoting cane toads (or any invasive species) into an environment inevitably results in the destruction of other species that are actually helpful to that environment. When you introduce the cane toads of politics–the gun toads, the climate toads, the religious toads, the abortion toads, the conspiracy toads–into local and national politics, you create the conditions that inevitably degrade and destroy a healthy political environment.
Right now Texas is a cane toad state; it’s overrun with cane toads. Florida is just about there. Almost every state with a Republican governor and legislature is heading in the same direction. Right now, today, Texas is a state where almost anybody can openly carry a gun in public–no need for a license, no need for training, no need to obtain a permit, no need to undergo a background check. Sure, you’re supposed to legally obtain that gun, but nobody is going to check to see if you did.
Right now, today, Texas is a state that has deliberately and systematically made it more difficult for Black and Latino citizens—citizens of Texas–to cast a vote to determine who will govern them and make their laws. Right now, today, Texas is a state in which it is almost impossible for a person who is pregnant to obtain a legal abortion, even if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.
How is that possible? It’s possible because cane toads eat their own. Like I said back in 2014, Cane toads don’t stop being cane toads just because the beetles are gone. They’re still hungry and they’re still poisonous, and they don’t stop. This is why there are no longer any moderate Republicans. This is why there are no pro-choice Republicans, no Republicans who believe in climate change or reasonable firearm safety legislation, this is why we have anti-vax and anti-mask Republicans, this is exactly why there are Republicans who support insurrectionists. There aren’t any moderate pragmatic Republicans anymore because the cane toads ate them.
If we want to preserve the cane fields of representative democracy, we have to drive out the cane toads.