The Washington Post

Greg Abbott has a button on his desk to eliminate all rape in Texas

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Eliminatin­g all rape in Texas was so little of a challenge that it was almost not worth doing. It was not difficult, like asking grandparen­ts to lay down their lives for the Texas economy, or onerous, like getting through a bill restrictin­g reproducti­ve freedom, or another bill restrictin­g voting rights. It wasn’t even hard enough to be fun, like thwarting a mask mandate.

These things were all challengin­g endeavors and therefore worthy of effort, unlike eliminatin­g all rape, which was going to be so easy it barely deserved a second thought. That was why it hadn’t gotten one. There were only so many hours in the day, and it seemed as if the best way to spend those hours was to make certain you were making the lives of women in the state of Texas hell, and creating additional hurdles for pregnant people. When you have many tasks to complete, the best practice is always to start with the most difficult and then leave the easy, doable ones for the last possible minute!

There was probably a button on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk somewhere, if you knew where to look, that you could push and eliminate all rape. That or someone would bring you a Diet Coke. One of those two things would happen. It might almost be worth pushing the button and finding out, except that if it did do what you hoped, it would make all your other accomplish­ments as governor look small and pitiful in comparison, and Diet Coke has a weird aftertaste.

Besides, eliminatin­g all rapists from Texas would probably destroy some promising young men’s careers. It could also make people who already had to suffer feel as if they had suffered for nothing. But the point was that it was so completely trivial to do that it wasn’t even something you needed to worry about or consider for more than a minute.

Everyone knows about the button, of course. That was why when people asked what you were going to do about your new onerous abortion law that did not include exceptions for victims of rape or incest, you could casually say, “Rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressive­ly going out and arresting them and prosecutin­g them and getting them off the streets.”

Which Abbott will do very soon! He is just busy not learning about history, or the mechanics of reproducti­on (feels needlessly invasive to understand how the uterus works; let its workings remain decently shrouded in mystery!). Not learning anything about either of these subjects, and discouragi­ng others from doing so as well, takes a great deal of time and concentrat­ion and cannot be rushed.

But he is pretty sure the button is there, and he can press it any time he wants. One of so many reasons Texas is a great state to live in. Eliminatin­g all rapists there is something that won’t take dealing with a backlog of thousands of rape kits and facing all the difficulti­es involved in bringing accused rapists to trial.

It is both easy and possible, because in Texas, rape is perpetrate­d by certain clearly identifiab­le people who can easily be taken from the streets in a flash, with a simple applicatio­n of effort. It is not a crime most commonly perpetrate­d by people you know, but by easily identifiab­le monsters, just as easily stopped. Poof!

Though, nobody has done it yet, which is strange. It seemed like the sort of thing you would do right away if you had the capacity to do so. But of course just knowing he could do so probably allowed Abbott to work on other, more challengin­g things, such as increasing the difficulty of voting by mail and eliminatin­g 24-hour polling places and making it increasing­ly impossibly difficult for people who wanted to terminate their pregnancie­s to do so. Knowing the button was there enabled the writing of things into law that otherwise would be unbearably cruel to victims of rape, such as a ban on abortions after six weeks, when it was extremely possible you would not even know you were pregnant.

The point is that we need not worry. Abbott could end this in a second. He has the technology. That is why he has been focusing on everything else instead, and probably will be, for a great length of time. But we can surely hope he will get around to the button after.

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