Texas has blazed red-hot on COVID maps since last spring, competing with Florida and
California. Yet Governor Greg Abbott enacted state mandates forbidding local governments from effectively limiting capacity at bars, clubs and restaurants. Clubs including Billy Bob’s Texas just reclassified themselves as restaurants, reports the Texas Tribune. Grinning patrons with masks hanging off their chins still crowd dance floors two-stepping to “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.”
While medical communities cry out for trained staff to care for patients, in October Abbott revised his COVID response threshold from 15 percent of “all hospital patients” to 15 percent of “total hospital capacity” (beds). It now takes more hospitalized COVID patients to limit bars and indoor dining. By December, over 100 Texas counties crossed the 15 percent threshold, states the Texas Department of State Health Services. Lines at foodbanks are growing too. Feeding America reports Texas has one of the highest rates of food-insecure children, 28.8 percent, or 2.1 million children.
Famed Texas journalist Molly Ivins died too soon (2007) to challenge Abbott, which she surely would have. Abbott, wheelchair-bound at age 26 when an oak tree fell on him and crushed his vertebrae, describes himself as having “a spine of steel.” His campaign site GregAbbott.com describes him as “throttled with incomprehensible pain” as surgeons placed steel rods near his spine. But for having experienced such horrific pain, he comes across as a Putin-esque piece of dry ice – an emotionless, remote, calculating, callous leader deep in the pockets of oil, gas and industry oligarchs.
This is the state of Texas, folks. Keep the public fearful and weak with disease, exhausted from working for minimum wage, dumb after impoverished education and they’ll still vote Republican. Texas, meet Georgia. Wish Molly was here to help whup this mess.