Texans are sick and dying because of the Republican Party’s malicious and self-serving COVID-19 policies. On Aug. 27, Galveston County hit the highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, even though we now have both vaccines and masks to fight back.
But Gov. Greg Abbott and Republicans support neither masks nor life-saving vaccines. Abbott has banned school districts from instituting mask mandates. He and the Republican Party have argued these measures infringe on our freedom, but what freedom are they really protecting? The freedom to infect our fellow citizens with a fatal disease?
We must defeat this virus. A long-standing principle is that when your freedom endangers others, the state should act to protect citizen safety. However, not only did Abbott deny the pandemic, he blamed undocumented immigrants, falsely claiming that hordes of people are pouring across our borders and spewing the virus.
No evidence supports this argument — it’s designed to distract from his poor mismanagement of COVID that has resulted in the loss of many Texans’ lives. Instead of using COVID relief funds to encourage vaccination, a clear solution to COVID, Abbott focuses on spreading misinformation.
This points to a larger pattern of Texas Republicans, including County Judge Mark Henry, embracing distractions. Their clear priority is to use the pandemic as a political opportunity, a chance to keep their base riled up.
The novel idea of using funds to encourage Texans to mask up and get themselves vaccinated is just too politically unattractive for the Republicans to imagine.
Encouraging false conspiracy theories isn’t the way to defeat the pandemic. Texas Republicans offer no “real” solution. Their plan is that people should “tough it out” regardless of the number of Texans who grow sick and die.
Even though Republicans always champion local control as a way to make government more responsive, Abbott is intent on taking the weapons from the hands of Texans through banning mask mandates and discouraging vaccination.
That’s our Republican Party — changing its values based on what’s politically lucrative, not on what’s actually good for Texans.
Democrats offer a realistic, common-sense solution. Give Texans the tools to control the virus. Allow schools, businesses and other organizations to require people to be vaccinated. Political leaders should encourage everyone to vaccinate themselves and their families.
Free every Texan from the virus by working together to develop smart strategies, like mask requirements. Allow local entities to develop their own policies for their specific area.
Once the pandemic has been defeated, life can return to a more “normal” pattern. Republican leadership from Austin has been based in an ideological fantasy world, which is why the virus has made a comeback. Texans are divided, not focused on working together to solve this problem.
Democrats stand for doing the right things, things that will destroy the power of COVID-19 forever. Let’s unite as Texans to save lives, reduce suffering and get back to normal.
Successfully, this time.