Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first African-owned, U.S based newspaper published on the Internet.
In a stupefying imposition of executive power, Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday March 2, 2021 did the unthinkable: ordered the halt from this Wednesday of the mandatory order by President Joe Biden for everyone to wear a mask— for everyone’s own safety and the life of millions!
Abbott, evidently, has his eyes on the anti-science, pro-Trump base of the nativist Republicans. It’s truly a shame. It is so difficult to imagine that this Republican Governor since 6 years, still dusting the files from his catastrophic failure to protect Texans from February 2021 snowstorm will, giddily, like his political godfather Trump leap into another deadly, hideous decision!
That’s usually what happens when you place partisan, shortsighted considerations over the fundamentals of science and the core, objective interests of the society.
These issues of biological science versus flippant, partisan posturing on matters of life and death have followed humankind for centuries. In fact since the beginning of modern, human societies, the debate about atom, Big Bang theory, darwinism, divine creationism and naturalism are some of the conceptual titles of tomes of inquiry into the emergence of life, itself.
Epidemics and pandemics have been recorded as major events and assaults on the capacity of human beings by the microscopic and usually viral infections.
Intelligent and purposeful leaders inform their citizens, honestly and accurately, to rise to the challenges of such catastrophic occurrences. They act responsibly and are guided by the factualities and verifiable evidences of science and technologies.
On the other hand, there are crass politicians who are stuck in the dark and dingy pits of dishonest and obfuscation. Those are the desperados whose personal ambitions are reckless but place above the interest of all others!
They pander to the mass of hardline voters. Those politicians follow the wind vane before deciding on the key issues.
Overall, I believe the science-based and focused efforts by U.S President Joe Biden on this deadly issue of Covid-19 have started to yield better results.
There are better, improving numbers on the fight against the coronavirus, drawing largely from the three operational pillars of wearing mask, maintaining social distances and taking the vaccine! Donald Trump and his fellow travelers mock these necessary standards of safety.
The most kind of the harsh reactions to Mr. Abbott came from the first sentence of the editorial, same day, in the Fort Worth Business Press: “It’s official: Greg Abbott is a moron.”
FWBP continued, that: “With Texans still suffering from the state’s mind-boggling incompetence in the face of a devastating winter storm, the governor decided to kill some more of us by removing the restrictions previously imposed on businesses and individuals to protect everyone from COVID-19…. Abbott, who apparently wants to be seen as the emerging leader of the brain-dead wing of the Republican Party, has failed every test of leadership he has faced during his lackluster six-year tenure as governor of Texas. He was slow to react to the pandemic when it started, failing to enact protective measures such as lockdowns and mask mandates until the disease was wildly out of control all across the state. When he finally took action, his decisions were half-hearted and made with a wink and a nod meant to cover his right flank by letting hard-core conservatives know that his actions were taken under the duress of political pressure, not because he believed in them…. Now, with only a fraction of the state’s population vaccinated against coronavirus and new variants challenging the effectiveness of the vaccines being distributed, Abbott has concluded that the threat of illness and death from COVID-19 is so insignificant that we can, for all practical purposes, stop worrying about it. For crying out loud, governor, who is giving you advice? Donald Trump?”
Democrat and former member of the House of Representatives from Texas, Beto O’Rourke, a potential Abbott opponent in the 2022 Texas Governor’s race, wrote on his Twitter page, Abbott has simply issued “A death warrant for Texans.
Add them to the 44,000+ killed as he failed to confront the pandemic & botched the vaccine rollout. And those who froze to death because he cares more about energy companies’ profits than keeping Texans alive. Abbott is killing the people of Texas.”
Abbott’s failure to lead, responsibly, led to the failure to “winterize” the independent Texas Electricity grid. Winterizing the grid enables it to withstand winter storms such as Uri.
Also, he falsely claimed that the very small 12% of renewable and clean wind mill energy was the reason why Texas (which pulled itself out of the national grid) failed to adequately protect its citizens.
Another very popular personality in Texas is San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. His reaction is important, especially noting that Abbott’s decision is “mystifying…. It puts a lot of businesses in a tough spot. They’re trying to do a good job of keeping everybody safe. Of course they want to open up. But getting rid of masks just seems ignorant to me. We have to have instant gratification and act like the pandemic is over? We already went through this once, and now we’re going to do it again?”
On Wednesday, Biden said Abbott and the Mississippi Republican Governor, Tate Reeves, are reflecting what he called” Neanderthal thinking” and “big mistake.”
The dangers of Covid-19 are real. On Thursday, March 4, Texas had diagnosed 2.68 million cases and 45,000 people dead from the virus. In the greater Houston area, within and around Harris County, 353,000 cases had been diagnosed and 5,210 people have died. Several of the infected and the dead are people we know; or as the case may be, we knew!
People in our communities, in the Nigerian and African communities; and beyond. What, for Abbott’s sake, Texans are still wondering, is going on here? ———— Dr. Chido Nwangwu, the Founder of USAfrica multimedia networks and public policy organization since 1992 in Houston, established the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com. He served as adviser on Africa business to the ex-Mayor of Houston, Dr. Lee P. Brown. Chido is the first continental African to be admitted to the 100 Black Men of America. He is the author of the 2021 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity. In July 2017, he was issued a U.S. Congressional Recognition for USAfrica’s 25 years. Chido has been honored by the Washington D. C.- based National Immigration Forum for utilizing multimedia to fight authoritarianism and foster freedom of expression in parts of the African continent. He has been profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. Chido247@Gmail.com follow @Chido247