Throughout the long and brutal year of the coronavirus crisis, the callous recklessness and moronic ignorance of Republican leaders have proven to be as dangerous to the public as the virus itself. Deaths in the United States have crossed the half-million mark in no small part thanks to the outrageous refusal of Republican governors to impose proper quarantine protocols and to drag basic public health recommendations into their idiotic and interminable culture war battles.
As the Biden vaccination program unfurls at a brisk pace and the infection numbers finally begin to fall, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his Lt. Governor Dan Patrick — two of the dumbest, cruelest extremists to ever hold statewide office — have decided to jump-start a COVID-19 resurgence by fully re-opening all businesses and repealing the statewide mask mandate in a performative show of defiance against the Biden administration.
In a truly despicable effort to head off the criticism for the inevitable upsurge in COVID cases and deaths that will follow an abrupt re-opening, Abbott and his knuckle-dragging lieutenant went straight to FOX News to lay the blame on the right-wing’s favorite boogeymen — President Biden and undocumented migrants.
Furious over the President’s (correct) disparagement of his mask mandate repeal as “neanderthal thinking,” Abbott falsely accused the Biden administration of releasing COVID-19 positive undocumented migrants into Texan communities.
Dan Patrick also blames undocumented immigrants for spreading Covid in Texas pic.twitter.com/o6IvLTEXCs
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 4, 2021
But as usual, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that since January, a total of 108 migrants — a mere 6.3% of the total number released — have tested positive for COVID-19. On the other hand, the Americans of Texas themselves have racked up a staggering 2.6 million cases and have an average of 4,500 new cases every single day.
— Texas DSHS (@TexasDSHS) March 3, 2021
You don’t have to have a fully developed frontal brain lobe whose growth was fuelled by a high-protein omnivorous diet to recognize that the problem is not the undocumented migrants, but that hasn’t stopped Abbott and Patrick from embarking on a vile and enormously xenophobic fear-mongering campaign.
To add insult to injury, the federal government is attempting to provide Texas with extra federal funds with which to test migrants for COVID-19 before releasing them, but Abbott’s team is literally stalling their efforts to do so and have yet to give state approval for the grant from the Department of Homeland Security — almost as if they are deliberately trying to make the problem worse to fuel their hateful narrative.
It is beyond the pale to shift the blame for their appalling decisions onto a President trying to do his best to clean up the mess he’d been left and on innocent people desperately seeking a better life. Unfortunately, that’s all we can expect from Republican governors, who have decided that the lives of their citizens are nothing but
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.