Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott Literally Fiddling While COVID-19 Burns Through State
Last week, one out of three new COVID-19 cases nationwide occurred in Florida and Texas. That's alarming to everyone, except apparently the GOP governors of those states, Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, both of whom seem determined to "out-dullard" each other with their response to the escalating crisis.
Despite rising hospitalization rates, Abbott has declared Texas “past the time of government mandates," and his special session agenda Thursday focused on removing mask or vaccine requirements from local schools. He's blocking local officials with brains in their heads from imposing any restrictions as cases rise. Abbott believes “everybody already knows what to do," even though Texans obviously don't. Only 44 percent of the state is fully vaccinated, and there are fewer than 500 ICU beds available in Texas at present.
Saturday, Abbott attended a political event for the purpose of keeping Texas RED. Republicans will achieve this through voter suppression rather than voter persuasion, which is tiresome, so it was really just a big party where they could kick back and soak in fresh air laced with COVID-19.
A great day in Austin County! These group of patriots are doing their part to keep Texas RED. https://t.co/U7BUCLjTDh— Greg Abbott (@Greg Abbott) 1628380702.0
Although Abbott himself is vaccinated, more than half the state isn't and this was a Republican event, so you do the math. We can't help but notice in the tweet above that the governor is literally fiddling while the delta variant burns through unvaccinated communities. Abbott has gone full Nero with COVID-19. That's the sort of confidence you can boast when you're about to rig elections so you'll never lose to a Democrat who cares about public health.
Screenrant editor Alisha Grauso noted that, in fairness to the Roman emperor, Nero “actually enacted sweeping relief efforts to try to quell the fire and also offer his people aid in the aftermath, particularly the lower class, so Abbott is somehow worse than a Roman emperor known today as being a psychotic tyrant."
Also, while there are no existing recordings of Nero playing the fiddle, I assume he had a better command of the instrument than Abbott. Ancient Rome was decadent but cultured.
Parties during the pandemic have become a partisan affair. GOP Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana whined last week that the "single biggest thing that has undermined our efforts to make the American people understand" COVID-19 still exists was Barack Obama having a birthday party or even a birthday at all. Kennedy demanded the uppity former president stay at home with Michelle Obama and enjoy "a beer and a personal pan pizza," like some broke-ass twentysomethings. Both my wife and I had more enjoyable at-home pandemic birthday dinners and we're not the fucking Obamas.
Obama did celebrate his 60th with a scaled back gathering with only vaccinated guests. (This likely reduced the number of QAnon conspiracy theorists present.) Fox News mockingly put “scaled back" in quotes, because “hundreds" of people attended the outdoor event. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines sometimes read as convoluted as a demonic contract, but last we checked, they still state that “outdoor activities pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people."
Demonstrating zero self-awareness, Fox compared the amount of time it devoted to Obama's birthday coverage (17 minutes, 35 seconds) with MSNBC's two minutes and 45 seconds and CNN's five minutes. Obviously, that proves which network has its priorities straight.
Obama's party was on Martha's Vineyard, and at least 64 percent of Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated. Seventy-three percent have received at least one dose, while only 52 percent of Texans have even reached that benchmark. Republicans spent more than a decade demonizing Obama, and they expect him to give up his birthday celebrations because Republican governors are letting their constituents die.
The former president's celebrity-packed 60th modeled the life you can enjoy if you're vaccinated and know Oprah Winfrey personally. That last part's a stretch, but vaccines are freely available to even non-fabulous Americans.
Republicans supposedly hate socialism yet they resent that Obama had a good time because he was responsible and has sensible friends. They can kiss his Black ass, which is in surprisingly good shape for 60.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."