Tone-deaf Politicians Create Unforeseen Issues in Texas

Derek Ramirez Jerez, Staff Writer

On March 3, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted his decision to completely open businesses in Texas and end the mask mandate, despite Texas’ consistently concerning COVID-19 numbers over the past year. This was met with a lot of controversy, as his reasoning for this is feignedly attributed to the increase in vaccinations given.

Many privately owned businesses in Texas expressed opposition to this new mandate, still requiring customers to wear masks within their stores. Large corporations, such as Target, Starbucks and Best Buy, might not feel the impact of this, as the higher-ups can ignore customer resistance, leaving it to the individual workers to deal with these consequences. But small, family owned businesses do not have the same luxury and have become an afterthought for most decisions.

Five days later, a Mexican Restaurant in Houston came under fire for opposing the Governor’s decision. The business received various attacks, with the most striking involving one racist individual who threatened to call ICE on the employees in order to check for their green cards, per CNN. Requiring someone to wear a mask should not warrant racist attacks. This is an obvious flaw of the Governor’s actions that is easily avoidable.

The reality of Abbott’s decision ineptly tries to counter the newly Democrat ruled government, exercising his state power against it. His Twitter conveys strong opposition against the Biden administration, and it comes as no surprise that a Republican ruled state would do this. 

A decision with this scant reasoning shows how tone-deaf politicians are today. They disregard blatant issues, like this mandate, for the sole reason of opposing the other party.

The real problems lie in what happened to the owners and employees of this restaurant. Receiving racially charged threats because they chose to exercise their rights of being a privately owned business is ridiculous, and the Governor’s decision is completely to blame. It gives a platform to people who believe wearing a mask is a personal insult, causing them to lash out against those who do not agree with their beliefs. But, none of this came to mind in the rash decision Abbott approved.

Politicians need to fully grasp the power that they hold. Their decisions directly impact the lives of many people, but often the focus is set only on one side of the political spectrum, while disregarding others. Abbott made his decision to appease his Republican supporters but ignored its practicality, creating inadvertent conflict between those who support and oppose the new decision. His legislation should be about resolving issues, not causing more in an already damaged state due to COVID-19.

Politicians need to be aware of the various impacts drastic legislation like this can have on their constituency. It is impossible to satisfy everyone, but too often, politicians are  detached from reality to know the full power their decisions can hold, causing more overlooked outcomes. Governor Abbott did not foresee a restaurant in Houston receiving racist threats, but he needed to do more to reach out and learn the effects his mandate has on privately owned businesses.

Selfishly making this decision to both appease Republicans and oppose Democrats should not be the duty of a governor for a state as large and diverse as Texas, or in any state for that matter. Actually doing what is best for as many people as possible should be the main focus for politicians. In this partisan age, however, the main focus has become consistently trying and one-up the other political party.

This country is and has always been plagued by tone-deaf politicians. Many past decisions, mostly based on race and Civil Rights, were made to appease the majority white demographic while going against human rights for people of color. To a much lesser degree, the same is seen here, where racist tensions from the border between Mexico and Texas manifest themselves into the interactions between Mexican restaurant owners and white Texans, all because of a governor’s ill-advised decision.