March 4, 2021


Florida’s and South Dakota’s recent economic reopenings, engineered by popular Republican governors, preceded Texas’s without inspiring it. Reopening was coming anyway to Texas and its diversified, if pandemically pinched, economy. Immediately upon Abbott’s March 2 announcement neighboring Louisiana announced major loosening of its restrictions, and nearby Mississippi declared itself open for business. The loosening goes on even in Massachusetts, where Gov. Charlie Baker has opened restaurants to full capacity. Montana and Iowa have abolished face-mask requirements. This unmasking business has legs, whether the experts like it or not.

The love of democratic citizens for experts shouldn’t be overestimated. The nature of democracy is preference for or deference to popular wisdom, however unwise that wisdom may prove in action. It’s been a long time since this pandemic started. People are tired. People want to see, and relate to, each other. That’s human nature. The human nature-affirmers like Greg Abbott, with a little luck and sense of timing, are likely to come out way ahead of their castigators and vilifiers, Robert Francis (Beto) O’Rourke conspicuously included.

That’s all well and good, but leave it to America’s Newspaper of Record to suss out what Abbott is really up to: Texas Removes Mask Mandate To Scare All The Californians Away.

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