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Beto lawn signs and bumper stickers are visible across my hometown of San Antonio. The 2022 Gubernatorial election between Beto (Blue) and Abbott (Red) is heating up as Democrats try once again to turn Texas Blue. Candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke calls himself “Beto” likely to appeal to the rising number of Hispanic voters in the state. ‘Beto’ is a popular Hispanic nickname. Robert O’Rourke claims to have been known as Beto by his family who gave him the nickname as a child, but he went by ‘Robert’ in college. At some point he changed his nickname to ‘Beto,’ perhaps to mask his Irish heritage in a Hispanic state.
Unfortunately, his lies don’t end with his name.
Drugs: Beto’s website explains his plan to “legalize marijuana and expunge the records of those arrested for marijuana possession.” Even though legalization will only apply to adults, it will also most likely lead to increased child use. In my clinical practice a large percentage of teenagers use marijuana even though it is illegal in Texas; likely usage will increase when it is legal and more easily obtainable. Research has consistently shown that marijuana use in adolescence can lead to lower cognitive ability/IQ, lower test scores, and an increased propensity for opiate addiction due to change in gene expressions in the brain.1 Further, DEA handouts for parents also indicate marijuana is often a gateway drug to other drug addictions.2 Worse, as an El Paso City Council Member in 2009, Beto stated “And I’d ask that there be some language in here that would also include advocating, or looking at, rethinking our War on Drugs, which by any measure I’ve looked it has been an abject failure. And also, looking at ending the prohibition on narcotics in the United States. And I’m not saying that we need to do that – to end the prohibition. I think we need to have a serious discussion about doing that, and that may, in the end, be the right course of action."3 In other words, in 2009 Beto was advocating legalization of all drugs, not just marijuana.
Border: Beto’s website speaks of a “safe, legal, orderly immigration system” relying on sensors, drones, towers and not border patrol or National Guard (boots on the ground.). In 2021, over 100,000 illegals were apprehended per month along the Texas border. Liberal defenders like the Texas Tribune newspaper claimed that Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star that increased the number of border enforces was a failure because numbers of apprehensions are up are missing the obvious and more correct conclusion. Border apprehensions are up because the number of agents and guardsmen are up so therefore more people are looking and able to catch offenders4. If you don’t look, you won’t find illegals. Border deaths due to environmental injures are also at record levels; many of the dead are children. Children are also a favorite cargo of human traffickers in Mexico. Encouraging illegal immigration means more deaths and child exploitation.
Drug overdose deaths in the US topped 107,000 in 2021 and are poised to overtake covid deaths in 2022. Data shows fentanyl overdose deaths in pediatric populations increased from 230 in 2019 to 884 in 2021.5 Much of the fentanyl in the US is arriving illegally along the Texas border, the longest border with Mexico. According to the Texas state government in 2022: “Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to 306,400 migrant apprehensions and more than 20,100 criminal arrests, with more than 17,600 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 336.3 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.”6
In May 2022, Beto made national headlines for his insensitive and abusive remarks made at the Uvalde hearings investigating the school massacre. At the time, Beto said “You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. “You are offering up nothing. You said this was not predictable. This was totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.”7 Beto was attempting to demonstrate his compassion for the lives of 19 children (and 2 teachers). Most Americans can agree that particular shooting was a tragedy. However, on the same campaign trail, the same man wants to fling the Texas border wide open and legalize drugs. Drug deaths among Texan AND US children are at record levels from drug overdoses and his reckless plans will pour gasoline on the fire and increase the carnage to ensure not hundreds but thousands of children will now die from his ideas.
Beto has a lifelong habit with hypocrisy and the truth. In 1998, he was arrested for attempting to flee the scene of a car crash he caused while drunk, then lied about the event. The same man changes his stance on gun control often depending on who the audience is. Now he pretends to care for the lives of Texas children while he simultaneously has a platform in plain sight that will exponentially increase the amount of fentanyl in Texas which will then be distributed all over the US to spread suffering and death to all states.
Beto’s candidacy and plans should concern all Americans, not just Texans. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke is a smart man and surely is well aware of the consequences of his drug and border plans. This makes his threat to the lives of children everywhere unconscionable.
John Hughes, MD
USMA Class of 1996
3rd Generation West Pointer
4 combat tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan
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