August is now officially awful. At 10pm the other night, it was 90 degrees. Truly soul-killing. Summer, which always begins with such high hopes, is not exiting nearly fast enough. And I don’t know about you, but the number of my Facebook friends recently who are having meltdowns is easily approaching double figures.
My late brother-in-law, a Presbyterian minister, would annually deliver a sermon to warn his San Antonio parishioners during these dog days not to make any big moves. You’ve had it with your significant other and want to end it now? No, you should probably wait. You’re sick of your idiot boss and stupid unfulfilling job? Hold off and see how you feel later. You want to move not now but last month because you’re sick to death of the unrelenting sun and heat? Wait until September’s cooldown comes, and, just maybe, you’ll feel different then.
Yet somehow this August seems worse. Maybe we’re just tired. We went through COVID times with a blundering president, but after 45 exited and, finally, competent people took charge, with the rollout of COVID vaccines, it felt like we might just get back to something resembling normal. But no!
Too many haven’t gotten vaccinated, especially here in Texas. The delta variant had loads of room to run. The Absolute No group — about 14% of those eligible nationwide and probably a bigger group in Texas, fueled by conspiracy theories and magical thinking — held us back, but they’re not the only ones.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its advice in May to say that if you’d gotten a shot, you didn’t need to mask anymore, all of a sudden, the number of mask wearers plummeted. Curious, I checked the CDC website to see the percentage of Tarrant residents vaccinated then. It still hovered below 40%. Huh? It was like those surveys that show that very few men believe they’re only average at sex. Just as the bulk of males are average at sex, a lot of people who never got a shot don’t need to be running around maskless.
We’ve an added burden here in Texas. Kakistocracy is government by the worst elements of a society. I wish Texas was only that. Now that our one-party Republican oligarchy has logged more than a quarter of a century, they’re actively trying to kill us. We’re now a kakastocracy, a government by shitheads.
For years they’ve refused to expand Medicaid, even though it wouldn’t cost much and would help more than a million uninsured and underinsured Texans. Cover Texas Now, a group of faith-based and consumer organizations, estimates that about 750 people needlessly die every year because Republicans are more interested in keeping a very few trans student athletes out of school locker rooms than actually doing anything to help the average Texan.
That’s not all their death dealing. Republicans are wedded to a very few big energy concerns and speculators who benefit from our Texas-only grid that collapsed last winter. BuzzFeed estimated that the collapse killed 702 people. And don’t forget, Republicans passed the so-called constitutional carry bill over the objections of law enforcement. What could go wrong with allowing any adult over 21 to carry a weapon without a license?
And, to top it off, Gov. Greg Abbot, trying his best 45 imitation to ingratiate himself to his bizarro base, refuses to allow masks in schools so as to ensure more kids, staff, teachers, and their relatives die in the future. In a sane state, public health would not be a partisan issue. First off, more people would have heeded the advice of experts and gotten the shot. Also, school districts would be free to mandate masks after being advised by county health officials.
Since Republicans won’t push vaccinations or even allow districts to mandate masks, voters need to exercise their power and throw these crazies out on their ears. Make Republicans pay for being a Trump Death Cult, more interested in tough/dumb guy signaling than in the health of actually still-alive Texans.
This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will be edited for factuality and clarity.