Paul Bettencourt, who once resigned from his job for purging Hispanic voters from the voting rolls, used racist language in a Senate hearing, and when called out on it, scolded a Jewish woman.
Texas Republicans have repeatedly shown us who they are. Do we believe them yet? Paul Bettencourt has a long history of racism. He has demonstrated to Texas again and again how he fights for white supremacy principles, all while shouting, “I’m not racist.”
On August 9, during the Senate hearing for the GOP’s latest voter suppression bill, SB1, Paul Bettencourt used the racist and anti-Semitic trope, “Zuckerbucks.”
The ADL condemned this word just last month after a New York Republican used it in Washington DC.
This word is similar to the use of anti-Semitism towards George Soros or a dozen other Jewish men who have been the target of racism by elderly white men, like Paul Bettencourt.
This type of language is nothing new to Bettencourt.
(Which I will show below.)
A few speakers after Bettencourt used the word, a white woman testifying against the bill criticized him and his language.
Neither Bettencourt nor any other Senator at the hearing responded to her criticism.
Then, a self-identifying Jewish woman testified against the bill and pointed to Bettencourt’s words as anti-Semitism.
First Bryan Hughes, said he didn’t know what religion Zuckerberg was. And it was the same thing as Reaganomics or Obamacare.
Then he offered the floor to Paul Bettencourt.
He said, “I don’t care what people look like, where they’re born, or who they sleep with. I just care that they’re Americans.”
Yep, he sure did sprinkle some xenophobia on top.
Then he repeated Bryan Hughes’ statement and said there is no difference between Zuckerbucks, Obamacare, or Reaganomics.
But there is a HUGE difference.
Obamacare: The healthcare plan was nicknamed after the president who enacted it. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin or religion, nor is it used in a negative connotation.
Reaganomics: An economic system meant to make the rich more wealthy, nicknamed after the president who started it. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin or religion, nor is it used in a negative connotation.
Zuckerbucks: A negative reference to the money a Jewish man spent during the 2020 election.
Surely, he doesn’t believe those three words have anything remotely in common. He used that comparison more likely because…how else do Republicans defend anti-Semitism when confronted with it.
Then he told the young lady, “I could be offended, but you need to go back and look at your history because that wasn’t the intent, nor do I recognize that is somehow a Jewish misanthrope.”
“I don’t care if you are Jewish and tell me it’s anti-Semitic, I say it isn’t.”
Racists, like Paul Bettencourt, frequently use this argument when confronted by the people their language hurts.
When a racist says, “all lives matter,” and a Black person confronts them, telling them that’s a racist term. They’ll respond, “No, it’s not, I’m not racist, I don’t see color.” Then they will continue to use offensive language, knowing it is harmful.
There’s no difference.
The young lady encouraged Paul Bettencourt to refer to the ADL regarding the use of the word. And again, Bettencourt told her to learn the history of words like Obamacare and Reaganomics.
Then Bettencourt said, “Don’t ever accuse me of racism again.”
The speaker handled it perfectly and once again asked Bettencourt to refer to the ADL, then thanked the Senators for allowing her to speak.
It’s moments like this, many of us are reminded why we don’t go into politics. We would have broken decorum, threw several cuss words in his direction, and then called him a racist one more time before snapping our fingers and walking off.
Since we’re on the topic, let’s talk about Paul Bettencourt’s LONG history of racism.
Bettencourt, before becoming Senator, was a Harris County voter registrar. In 2005, Paul Bettencourt was hailed a conservative hero when it was announced he discovered immigrants were registered to vote. However, later on, it came to light that Bettencourt was using this accusation as a guise to purge thousands of naturalized Hispanic citizens from the voter rolls.
Bettencourt intentionally purged Hispanics from the voter rolls to help keep white Republicans in power.
After gaining a reputation as someone willing to fight Hispanic voting, Harris County Republicans championed him as a hero, winning his Senate seat in District 7 during the 2014 elections.
In fact, the voter suppression bills the Texas GOP has pushed, now three times, this year are littered with racism, including purging common Hispanic names from voter rolls. Each one of those bills was authored or co-authored by Paul Bettencourt, SB7, SB1, and SB1.
Paul Bettencourt is up for reelection in 2022.
He has to go!
There are 572,000 eligible voters in Senate District 7.
Only 177,000 voted for Bettencourt in 2018 (which is only 30% of eligible voters.) Meaning 70% of SD7 didn’t vote for him.
This is why Republicans are fighting so hard to implement their voter restriction laws because if people show up to vote, the GOP loses.
2022 is a mid-term year, and turnout is usually low, but with the Democrats pledge of registering 2 million new voters, half of the GOP base dying from Covid, and as pissed off as Texans are about the Republican’s behavior this year; anything could happen.
Paul Bettencourt has to go!
You aren’t alone, millions of Texans are ready to get rid of all of the racism and corruption plaguing Austin, but it’s going to take all of us. Together we can turn Texas blue.
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