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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Governor Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 woes: Karma is not a bitch, it’s a fair judge

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Texas Governor―an inglorious conservative extremist who banned mask and vaccine mandates tests positive for COVID, and we should not be worried 

So, the latest victim of karma is Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, who recently led a school of anti-science numbskulls to ban mask and vaccine mandates in the state of Texas. The news is the power-intoxicated Governor tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, just a day after attending a super-spreader indoor campaign event at the Republican Club at Heritage Ranch in Collin County. At this event, Abbott stubbornly appeared unmasked which indeed was a demonstration of his anti-science mentality. As I write, Abbott is grounded in his imbecility and quarantined as a home patient receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, according to his aides.

Leaders who support compassionate policies are rewarded with kindness and generosity,

The phrase “Karma is a bitch” has always represented retributive justice across times and occasions. Its fundamental philosophy is not new and simply implies that good deeds or good intentions yield good consequences and vice versa. Traditionally, it is a principle of Hinduism and Buddhism which implies that individuals get what they give. In other words, leaders who support compassionate policies are rewarded with kindness and generosity, whereas those who are cruel and intolerant in their actions might receive, in one way or another, cruelty and ruthlessness.

The ideology of karma is also found in Biblical references. Galatians 6:7 states that “God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Similarly, Genesis 9:6 indicates that “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.” Also, Psalm 1:16 goes on in a similar tone, that “the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Abbott is not new to framing insensitive and stupid policies. Paralyzed from the waist down since 1984 after an accident involving an oak tree falling on him, Abbott has shown little or no compassion in enacting or endorsing policies that favor the wellbeing of others.

In April 2020 for instance, when the world was still under a COVID lockdown, Abbott issued several executive orders detailing an ill-informed plan to open businesses and activities in Texas. In June 2020, when cases in Texas were rising, Abbott insisted that there was no need to modify his failed strategy. At that period, Texas broke COVID records with more than 5,000 people testing positive in a single day―the highest number at the time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March 2021, Abbott shocked the entire world when he announced the revocation of orders regulating the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. He announced the lifting of the statewide mask mandate and opening of all businesses at 100 percent capacity. To make it worse, he invoked the usual anti-mask conspiracy remark that people and businesses do not need the state telling them how to operate.

In late July 2021, Abbott signed an executive order barring cities and other government entities in the state from enacting vaccine requirements or mask mandates against COVID. This was a period when the virus’s more contagious Delta variant ravaged the state. At the time, statewide, COVID-19 cases and ensuing hospitalizations skyrocketed, with hospitalizations hitting more than 7,300—approximately the same number as the people hospitalized in 2020, the previous year. During the same period, the seven-day average of daily cases in Harris County was 1,761 compared with 59 cases in the first week of July.

Abbott’s order applies to all government entities receiving state funds, including counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, and government officials. Several school districts and a handful of counties across the state defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order, prompting a series of court actions which may favor the Governor eventually. The Governor knew that the Texas Supreme Court is a politically grounded judicial red confraternity who would always side with his lunatic policies. Just last week, the Texas Supreme Court sided with Abbott and temporarily halted mask orders in Dallas and Bexar counties.

For fools like Abbott, karma is not a vindictive premonition but a philosophical mystery that conveys justice and fairness regarding individual actions

So it may be fair to say that karma is not a bitch but a fair judge. The “payback” nature of life must not be undermined for the mystery of God remains intact in shaping or chastising individual deeds. Thus, the mysticism of karma remains a fair judge in rewarding good or evil. For fools like Abbott, karma is not a vindictive premonition but a philosophical mystery that conveys justice and fairness regarding individual actions. When karma strikes, the intention is not to retaliate but to teach a lesson about the balance of life. Therefore, Governor Abbot may still survive his latest COVID-19 ordeal, but the good news remains that he has received a matching dose of retribution for his stupidity.

♦ Professor Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. Article is also published in the West African Pilot News

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Decree of Dictatorship—Governor Abbott’s Intoxication for Power

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In a democracy, resistance against tyranny is a civic duty.

Over the last few years, America, and indeed the world, witnessed how Donald Trump came into the highest and most respected leadership compartment, saw power, and squandered it without regret. America is a living witness to how Donald Trump’s leadership disgrace exposed the porousness of the democratic process—a typical example that America, as a nation, is not immune from the levels of dictatorship found in countries like North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia.

However, the destructive influences of Trump’s vicious assault on the rule of law are not going away any time soon. This explains why Texans should be worried about their leader, Governor Greg Abbott, who is currently on a rampage with unrestrained and tyrannous policy-making excess. Abbott and his cohorts have thrown the entire state of Texas into a near-constitutional crisis.

By current standards, democracy in Texas is in a state of uncertainty, orchestrated by a reckless Republican-controlled political base and endorsed by an irrational demigod called Abbott. He has proven to be insecure about his career designation and completely uncomfortable with the rule and process of law.

This governor has completely lost it. Gradually, he has led a gang of stubborn extremists to turn the Lone Star State into a lawless zoo. Currently, Texans wake up each day with grave concerns about their democracy. They feel the scratchy, filthy air of dictatorship under a delusional governor who wakes up each day with a new punitive decree. It is getting worse. For instance, Texans are still shocked about Abbott’s inexplicable threat to defund the state legislature, after Democratic lawmakers derailed an 11th-hour attempt to pass his priority bill that would have made it even harder for the public to cast a ballot in elections.

With fabricated claims of widespread voter fraud, Republicans in Texas and across the United States have tried to suppress access to the polls after a shameful 2020 election performance. Among its numerous, unusual clauses, Texas’s Senate Bill 7 would have imposed felonies on public officials for certain activities related to boosting mail-in voting, banned 24-hour and drive-thru voting, emboldened partisan poll-watchers, and made it easier to overturn election results.

Following this defeat of legislation, Abbott, who views with distaste voting privileges of Blacks and other minorities, threatened to eliminate funding for the Texas Legislature. In typical Trump fashion, he tweeted his retaliatory vows: “I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned.”

He vowed that the troubled bill—which would restrict voting hours; make it harder to vote by mail; give more power to partisan poll watchers; increase punishments for mistakes made by election officials; and prohibit voting on Sundays before 1 p.m., an act viewed as an attack on voting campaigns by Black churches—will be added to a special session to pass it.

But that is not all; over the past months, Texans have been going through Abbott’s policy-making surprises. It may be recalled that earlier this year, Abbott shocked the entire world when he announced the revocation of orders regulating the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This included the lifting of the statewide mask mandate and the opening of all businesses at one hundred percent capacity. To aggravate this madness, he invoked the usual anti-mask conspiracy phrase: that people and businesses do not need the state telling them how to operate.

In a democracy, an abuse of the process, or exploitation of the majority privileges, is akin to autocracy.

It may be right to conclude that Abbott’s burden of dictatorship is gradually descending on the rule of law. In a democracy, an abuse of the process, or exploitation of the majority privileges, is akin to autocracy. Just this month, Abbott signed a new education law forbidding lessons on systemic racism. This bill, also operated by a handful of states, regulates how teachers discuss current affairs, prohibiting students from getting credit or extra credit for participating in civic activities that include political activism or lobbying elected officials on a particular issue.

Abbott, it appears, is running amok with the latest abuse of his mandate, and Texans are concerned as they watch their chief executive metamorphose into a sharp-horned, evil soul. Imagine Texans carrying handguns without a license; or hotels not being able to stop their guests from taking guns into their rooms; or a situation where the government cannot shut down gun shops during a declared disaster. These are not fairy tales but the realities of Texas under the tyranny of Abbott.

Governor Abbott signed a slate of gun-related laws last week, ranging from technical changes, such as allowing Texans to carry a gun in any type of holster, to more broad political statements, such as declaring Texas a Second Amendment “sanctuary state”. Abbott officially signed House Bill 1927, the “constitutional carry” legislation, that allows Texans aged 21 and over to carry a handgun in public—either concealed or openly—without a permit or training, starting September 1. By Abbott’s new laws, the state’s $40 fee to obtain a handgun license will no longer be required, whilst mandatory training requirements are also no longer necessary.

The values of constitutional process are not ingrained in stone. They are written laws susceptible to interpretative ambiguities.

Most party-hardliners may not publicly admit this, but the decree of dictatorship transcends party lines. It’s simply an affront to the ideals of democracy. The values of constitutional process are not ingrained in stone. They are written laws susceptible to interpretative ambiguities. Therefore, entrusting power to leaders with ethical laxity can gravely jeopardize the ideals of the constitutional process. Thus, rejecting Abbott and his Republican cohort becomes a commitment to protecting the standards of socio-political fairness. There have to be ways to stop Abbott’s repressive rule. Perhaps a massive electioneering presence of Blacks and minorities would make the difference.

State Chairman of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, Hon. Carroll G. Robinson, Esq., suggested strategies for Black voter turnout. According to Hon. Robinson, “If we’ve learned nothing else from Stacy Abrams, we should have learned that to maximize Black voter turnout to win, the work and investments must begin early. Elections are won with investments and hard-work done well in advance of an election year. It’s not enough to curse the dark and complain about the incompetence of Abbott, Cruz and other Texas Republican leaders— including Patrick and Paxton—we have to invest in Black voter turnout to defeat them.”

Fighting off tyranny will require all hands on deck. For instance, a group of Democratic Texas state lawmakers just traveled to Washington, D.C. to confer with congressional Democrats and Vice President Harris and lobby for far-reaching voting rights and election reform legislation. Consequently, Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced his readiness to fight voter-suppression. According to Garland, the aim is to ensure that, “all eligible voters can cast a vote, that all lawful votes are counted, and that every voter has access to accurate information.” The Department of Justice is already suing Georgia, alleging that a recently passed election law violates the Voting Rights Act’s protections for minority voters.

Governor Abbott’s intoxication for power signifies a degree of dictatorship incompatible to the process of democracy. He is a governor who has demonstrated a revulsion for justice and fairness. He has uncovered his authoritarian demeanor, and, worse, his animosity and disrespect for people of color are unparalleled. In a democracy, resistance against tyranny is a civic duty. At this time, the people of Texas must stop this hare-brained dictator or forever hold their peace.

Professor Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. Article is also published in the West African Pilot News

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