Opinion: The failures of Greg Abbott


Graphic by Alexander Cha

As the 2022 midterm elections loom over Texans, scheduled for Nov. 8, citizens must make the critical choice of either voting for long-term Gov. Greg Abbott, or new candidate Beto O’Rourke. Personally, I can only pray that Beto wins the midterm election this season, given that he promises change for this stagnant state and justice for the oppressed. 

Ever since the midterm election of 2014, Abbott has done nothing but fail the state of Texas and its citizens, and has shown little to no regard for his people and their needs. It is about time for a change in politics to create a more modern Texas. To push the point further, let’s recap the numerous failures Abbott has made in office.

Fresh in our mind should be the tragic school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24. Nineteen children, between the ages of 10 and 11, were shot and killed, alongside two teachers. The day of the shooting, Abbott planned to attend a reelection fundraising campaign, rather than canceling it upon hearing of the incident to make plans to visit Uvalde. Already, we see that power is more of a priority than the wellbeing of his people. 

Once he finally got around to addressing the shooting in a conference, Abbott would begin to provide false information, praising police response and remarking how “it could have been worse.” According to the Texas Tribune, nearly 400 officers waited for more than an hour to finally confront the shooter, which has been heavily criticized already by the public. It’s beyond insensitive for Abbott to say such words as it downplays the tragedy of what happened that day in May. Since then, Abbott has been adamant about his refusal to pass stricter gun laws and has done essentially nothing in response to the shooting to protect future children and teachers.

Alas, the Uvalde shooting is only the most recent of Abbott’s many notable blunders. In February of 2021, the unofficially dubbed winter storm Uri hit Texas and triggered what we now know as the 2021 Texas power crisis. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the death toll was at least 246 people, both directly and indirectly. What was the first thing Abbott did? He blamed the power outage on wind turbines and solar panels, rather than the incompetent maintenance on the Texas power grid. 

“Our wind and our solar got shut down and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis. It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary,” Abbott said, choosing to use renewable energy sources as a scapegoat in order to further his own political agenda. While Abbott did call for the leaders of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to resign, he failed to do enough to prevent a future crisis down the road. Abbott has not had Texas’ electricity production regulated, as it has been deregulated since 1999 and thus, the grid was not able to withhold a winter storm. Should another snow storm strike, Texas could easily be in danger again in the cold with no power.

About a year later, on Feb. 22, Abbott ordered state officials to commence child abuse investigations on transgender Texan youth receiving gender-affirming care. Any parents caught providing gender-affirming care to their children would be hit with a charge of first degree child abuse. Now, it shouldn’t be hard to understand that transgender people, especially youth, are an incredibly vulnerable group within conservative states. To criminalize care designated for them and to cut them off from treatment that could prevent severe depression and even suicide only further stigmatizes the transgender community. 

By blocking transgender individuals from gender-affirming care, Abbott cuts citizens from access to potentially life saving healthcare. Approximately 82% of transgender individuals consider suicide, and 40% have attempted suicide, according to the National Library of Medicine (NIH). Now, it’s bad enough to publicly hate transgender people, but to also attack parents of transgender youth that only wish to support their children and their decisions is nothing short of deranged.

With how chaotic and debatably awful Texas politics is in the current day, it’s easy to ask yourself just how we got to this point. To that, I can only point to the constant failures of Gov. Greg Abbott. He shows a clear disregard for the lives of children in favor of lax gun laws for his people as a whole, giving the chance for them to freeze to death again, just to keep the power grid unregulated. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, the cherry on top is that he’s more than willing to attack members of the LGBTQ+ community and cut them off from critical, potentially lifesaving care. Regardless of how one feels about the other election candidate, Beto O’Rouke, I urge people to vote for him instead. This state has been nothing but a mess with Abbott at the reins, and it’s about time for a change.