Texas is the land of big skies and big controversy. Controversies first: There’s the state’s notoriously crippling conservative agenda and the anti-abortion stance so severe that the state has seen a 29 percent decrease in women’s health clinics since 2011. There’s the state’s love of loose gun laws and a widespread fear and loathing of left-leaning liberals. But there’s also those big, big skies…the cacti. Marfa. The barbecue sauce. It’s the birthplace of Whole Foods and SXSW. How can a state be so many things good and not-so-good?
Despite all Texas has to offer, angry politicians keep Texas as prickly as its thorny succulents. Senator Ted Cruz, whom some expect will lose his re-election bid because he’s both unlikable and possessed with a vitriolic disdain toward the state’s increasingly liberal population, recently summed up his concern in a campaign speech, calling liberals dangerous.
“The extreme left, they’re angry, they’re energized and they hate the president. And I got to tell you, that’s dangerous,” Cruz said. “That level of fury and rage, we underestimate that at our peril.”
His comments are geared in large part toward his Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke, whose video supporting Colin Kaepernick’s right to kneel recently went viral. And they represent Cruz’s fear of a not-so-terrible future where Texas becomes the “next California,” a dystopian place he says that will be quasi-coastal, “right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair.”
Ah. Us dyed-haired-tofu-eating-silicon-implanted-Californians making life horrible for everyone all the way in Texas. Pass me some organic sprouted grain bread to soak up my tears, won’t you? I think some hair dye just dripped in my eye.
Senator Cruz may not budge on his position about liberal politics anytime soon, but here are a few good reasons he should give tofu and (vegan) hair dye another chance. Indulge me, Mr. Senator?
1. Tofu is a healthy protein.
Based on the Senator’s health care plan, being proactive is going to be critical for his constituents’ health and his own. Studies show that low-fat plant-based proteins are good choices to include in one’s diet, particularly for heart health. A number of studies have found that calcium-rich plant-based foods like tofu can prevent bone fractures. It’s also been linked to reduced risks of some forms of cancer. Another study found that eating soy can also reduce costs associated with sick leave by nearly $10 billion. That buys a lot of guns?
2. Beans are better for the planet (and Texas) than beef.
If we convert land used to raise livestock, like cattle, to growing sustainable and nitrogen-fixing crops like beans and peas, we can reduce our impact on the climate while feeding more people. While Cruz may not believe in climate change, surely he loves American farmers. And as demand for beef is declining, whether he likes it or not, demand for healthy foods like tofu are on the increase. Why not support America’s soybean farmers?
3. Tofu is Tasty.
Two words, Mr. Senator: Barbecue. Sauce. Texans love their barbecue. Why? Because it’s slathered in tasty sauce. And without getting into a whole sidetrack over which state makes the best barbecue sauce (cough, Tennessee, cough), the fact is, it’s the sauce, not the meat that makes the meal. It always was. (Low-quality meat is often sent to barbecue because the sauce can make it taste better.) And tofu takes to a good BBQ brushing just like any other protein. Head to Austin and let Wicked Healthy chef Chad Sarno whip you up something saucy and vegan. You won’t regret it.
4. Catherine and Caroline Probably Love Bunnies.
While your daughters are a bit too young to be dying their hair yet (imho!), they probably adore bunnies. Who doesn’t, really? So much fluff! A number of conventional hair-dye brands rely on pre-market animal testing. But a growing number of studies prove that these tests aren’t necessarily even accurate, causing animal suffering when there doesn’t need to be any. Bunnies are expressive, curious, and sweet creatures who would much rather curl up on the couch with you and the girls and eat some tofu than have hair dye rubbed in their eyes.
5. It’s Patriotic.
Dying one’s hair can be a safe and fun form of self-expression (see First Amendment). Couldn’t we all use a bit more fun in our lives? After all, POTUS dyes his hair. Plus, fun nontoxic brands like Manic Panic are also made in America. So, dying our hair supports our economy. It’s downright patriotic. And, besides, with all the limitations you’re already putting on a woman’s body in Texas, can’t we at least do what we want with our hair? Especially if it’s cruelty-free?
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