Texas has fallen deeply into a fascist shithole with a state government dominated by the theocratic, science-hating, woman-hating, voter-suppressing, transphobic lying Republi-fascist party. These shameless, genocidal lunatics are leading the charge of the fascist movement in every area of their agenda – gutting abortion rights, disenfranchising Black and immigrant voters, arming and unleashing its violent vigilante base, threatening political enemies, terrorizing migrants at the border, banning education on the real history of this country, and fighting for the right to spread COVID. It is high time to call these people what they are and stop normalizing their atrocious behavior. They are not just racist, divisive, or conservative – they are fascists. Fascism is a word with real meaning, and having so many fascists in power has real consequences for people’s lives and the very fate of humanity.
The Republi-fascists overseeing the state have caused a surge in COVID-19 cases at a time when vaccines and mask-wearing can greatly reduce the number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. The fascist trinity at the head of the state government – Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton – have thrown every roadblock they can in the way of a healthy, scientific response to this pandemic. They have refused to make the vaccine a requirement for returning to school or opening up businesses, sued school districts that dare to require masks that can save the lives of their students, families, and staff, and withheld public funds from agencies that wanted to require proof of the vaccine to receive services. When cases surged this summer, Abbott deliberately spread the lie that migrants were responsible for an “importation of COVID-19.”
These fascists have not wavered that much from Trump’s original stance to this pandemic – blaming China and immigrants while sabotaging disease prevention efforts, knowing that it was disproportionately killing the Black and brown people they’d just as soon get rid of anyway. This strategy has worked for a long time, but reality is starting to hit home. Recent statistics show that whites in Texas, who comprise 41% of the population, account for 42% of the recent deaths from COVID. The hospitals are full of unvaccinated people, a population the GOP has cultivated among their base.
So Lt. Governor Dan Patrick must have thought it was a good time to scapegoat Black people. On August 19, he said on Laura Ingraham’s Fascist Fox News program:
“The COVID is spreading, particularly, most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated, and the press like to blame Republicans on that. The biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated, and last time I checked over 90% vote for Democrats in their cities and major counties. So it’s up to the Democrats, just as it’s up to the Republicans, to try to get as many people vaccinated, but we respect the fact that if people don’t want the vaccination, we’re not gonna force it on them. That’s their individual right. But in terms of criticizing the Republicans for this, we’re encouraging people who want to take it [emphasis mine] to take it, but they’re doing nothing for the African American community that has a significant high number of unvaccinated people, so they need to address that.”
There are a lot of logical acrobatics going on here, but the main bullhorn to their base is that Black people, and the Democrats they vote for, are responsible for the COVID surge. Given how armed, violent, and vengeful the Texas fascist base is, this adds another layer of danger to a Black population here that is increasingly under siege. It’s also a deliberate misstatement of the facts. White people are the largest group of unvaccinated people in Texas, accounting for 5.6 million people, and the highest rate of vaccine refusal is among white Republicans.
There was a media outcry over Dan Patrick’s comments, rightly so, but very little calling out of the overall fascist messaging here. Patrick is telling you plain that these Republi-fascists claim no responsibility to protect the welfare of people who didn’t vote for them. And his absurd statement that the Republicans are encouraging people “who want to take” the vaccine is totally meaningless. The problem is with those who don’t want to take it because they have claimed the absolute individual right, as a matter of personal liberty, to spread COVID and kill people. Even worse, anything stopping them from killing people is perversely framed as tyranny and oppression. This genocidal and deadly serious outlook has been stoked by Trump and his fascist bootlickers at the state level.
As Bob Avakian pointed out in a recent article “On COVID, the Importance of Getting People Vaccinated, And the Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism,” absolute individual freedom is neither possible nor desirable in any just society. He writes, “It would be impossible to live in any society where ‘individual freedom’ (or ‘personal choice’) were absolute. The question is: Are expressions of individual freedom, or restrictions on individual freedom, good or bad—do they make for a better, or worse, society?”
The Texas GOP will fight tooth and nail for certain “freedoms” while having no qualms about denying women the right to control their own reproduction and Black voters the right to access their constitutional voting rights. What they tout in a language of rights, choice, and freedom is complete and utter bullshit, almost laughable in its hypocrisy if it weren’t so genocidal in its application. The right they are protecting for their voters – let’s be honest, even if it kills them – is the metaphorical right to burn crosses, to terrorize all those they seek to dominate.