Governor Greg Abbot of Texas has long shown to be one of the least informed elected officials in the country, with a tendency to make shockingly poor decisions with little regard to reason or facts. Whether it’s calling out the state militia to monitor federal troops during the Jade Helm 15 exercise, or appointing a home-schooled religious extremist to run the public school system, or that time he authorized the creation of a Texas “Fort Knox” gold depository, to protect Texan gold from…Obama?
This latest development, however, is not only jaw-dropping ignorant but puts his citizens lives at risk- especially in a state where firearms are widespread. The governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed hospitals to detain mentally unstable patients for four hours, if the doctors considered the patient a danger to himself or others.
When one considers the endless wave of mass shootings that kill so many Americans every year, it’s hard to fathom how better mental health services are not a number one priority for American legislatures. But what makes this case even more disturbing is the lobbying group which convinced him to veto the bill- it was allegedly the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group of paranoid Scientologists who are convinced that modern psychiatric medicine is a conspiracy to sell drugs and control people. Salon put it best:
“Back in 2005, the CCHR opened a museum called “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death,” which links modern psychiatry to Hitler and other villains. The group also alleged that the 9/11 attacks were spearheaded not by Osama Bin Laden, but by his psychiatrist. It all smacks of the Alex Jones worldview, in which chemtrails, weather weapons and shapeshifting lizard people from outer space are plotting to get us.”
The Governor’s bowing to the lobbying of these questionable groups is tacit agreement with their nonsensical paranoia. Once again, Governor Abbott is actively siding with conspiracy theorists over the needs of his citizens and against reason. He should be ashamed to call himself a governor, and the people of Texas should be ashamed for electing him. This is not how government works; in fact, he barely makes any pretense at actually governing. This is just the latest in a slew of questionable decisions that makes the general populace wonder if in fact, it is Governor Abbott who needs mental health care. His consistent pandering to fringe lunatics is becoming a disturbing pattern.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.