What kind of country are we living in anyway? In response to that question, most of you would likely look at me as if I were crazy and declare instinctively “a democracy” or “a republic.” Until the last two months I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly. I believe we have been since the founding of the republic, and for the most part, we still are. However, I maintain in the last few months we have entered a slippery slope toward autocracy and socialism. We have willingly forfeited many of our constitutional rights. If you doubt me, that is your right, but read on as I present my case.
For the past three months or so, due to the advent of the CV pandemic and its threat to our health, our political leaders have imposed various draconian restrictions on how we should be living our lives. Some of these impinge on freedoms that are guaranteed by the Constitution, that we thought of as sacrosanct just a few months ago.
Most Americans have dutifully complied with the guidance of these political leaders and the medical professionals that they have assured us will guide us through the crisis. We have willingly agreed to work from home or, in some cases, not at all, shut down small businesses that, in some cases, have been in our families for generations, confined ourselves to our homes (cute term – “shelter in place”), worn masks and gloves in public, refrained from visiting our families and close friends, delayed serious medical procedures that were deemed “non-essential,” avoided group gatherings and followed social distancing guidelines.
We were told these dictates were temporary and necessary in order to “flatten the curve” of CV cases and avoid overwhelming our hospitals. Don’t worry, we were told, soon we would defeat this virus and things would return to normal.
Okay, we have complied, often at great sacrifice to our personal liberties, personal health and economic wellbeing. Many businesses, large and small, have been damaged irreparably; millions of jobs have disappeared, in some cases permanently; and unemployment numbers are approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression 90 years ago. Remember, just three months ago we were in the midst of arguably the best economy ever.
We have suffered through this on the basis of sometimes questionable science. For the most part, we have sacrificed willingly, simply because we were told to do so definitively and authoritatively by “experts” whom we trusted knew what they were talking about. Some scientific and political guidelines have been shifting for little or no reason. Wear masks; don’t wear masks. The virus will be a minor short-term inconvenience of limited scope. No, wait, it is a life-threatening pandemic. President Trump was a racist and a misogynist for instituting travel bans; no, wait, he was wise to do so as he saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. It is essential that you shelter in place; no, wait, perhaps you would better off being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. In retrospect, we now see that no one was really sure how to proceed, not the medical experts, nor the politicians, and surely not the talking heads on tv. Moreover, we were deceived by the Chinese. They lied, obfuscated and exaggerated, and our health experts relied on this misinformation to our detriment.
At this point, we have seen considerable improvement, although not total victory. Now, we are in a phase where we should be able to commence opening up the economy. We have suffered enough and sacrificed enough, perhaps irrevocably. In attempting to protect ourselves from the CV we have undermined, if not destroyed, our economic and social wellbeing. Now, it is time to use some good old common sense. For most industries we have seen that there are ways to open up safely and prudently. We need to recapture our way of life before it disappears forever.
It has been agreed that the manner and timing of reopening should be left to each state’s individual governors. Fair enough, after all, they are more knowledgeable of their respective state’s situation that the federal government. A “one size fits all” approach would not work.
But what has happened? The various governors have made some wise decisions and some unwise ones. Some have been so autocratic, arbitrary and heavy-handed that many view them as violations of the Bill of Rights. Some decisions that were beneficial have been roundly criticized by commentators who know less than the average person. In many cases they live and work in the NYC-DC bubble and have no idea what is going on in the rest of the country, nor do they care. It’s easy for them to lecture us when they are safe and secure in their bubble and drawing a paycheck. Keep that in mind as you watch them on tv.
Below please find a sampling of some decisions, both wise and unwise:
1. Georgia was the first state to reopen on April 25. Many critics, including Stacey Abrams, who is still under the delusion that she is the state’s rightful governor, and commentator Chris Hayes, predicted disastrous results. Hayes opined the resultant death toll in GA would be “blood on [Governor Brian Kemp’s] hands.” That inane prediction failed to materialize. GA’s reopening has been successful and is a model for other states to follow.
2. FL reopened soon after GA. Its governor, Ron DeSantis, was also roundly criticized for “jumping the gun.” No-nothing talking heads on some cable tv stations (You know who they are.) predicted solemnly and definitively there would be “dire consequences.” The number of cases would explode; many people would die. In fact, the opposite has happened. Hospitalizations, cases and deaths have held steady or declined. Wisely, FL allocated a substantial portion of its resources to safeguard the most vulnerable, notably, the elderly. The result, businesses have reopened without significant problems, and FL, the state with the highest number of elderly people, has had fewer than 2,000 nursing home deaths. Compare that to NY, which, has suffered in excess of 5,000 such fatalities in just the last few weeks, Furthermore, the overall number of cases and deaths has remained below the national average. One would think that these successes would be greeted with positive reviews by the national media. One would think that they would admit their predictions were wrong. One would think they would be calling for other states to follow the GA-FL model. But, nooooo! In fact, one would have to search long and hard to find positive stories regarding GA’s and FL’s reopenings. It’s almost as if most of the media wants us to fail.
3. NY governor Andrew Cuomo has talked a good game on tv, but his actions have been questionable, at best. He has made many bad policy decisions, which I have discussed in previous blogs. His worst and, perhaps, the worst decision anyone has made during the entire pandemic, was to force nursing homes to accept CV patients from hospitals. One does not have to be a genius or a medical professional to know not to do that. All you need is a little common sense. Predictably, some 5,000 elderly died in a few weeks as a result. Cuomo’s response: “That’s life. We did everything we could.” On the positive side, Cuomo has disclosed he plans to reopen some counties, e. g. the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley and other upstate areas.
4. PA has followed suit regarding transferring CV patients to nursing homes. The state commissioner of health, however, has transferred her 95 year old mom out of the home she was in. Apparently, it’s dangerous for her, but not for others. PA Gov. Tom Wolfe has supported her decision.
5. Eric Garcetti, the mayor of LA, has extended the city’s lockdown through the end of July. Mayor Garcetti is talking about maintaining it until a cure is found. Of course, no one knows when that would be. It could take years. Meanwhile, his city is dying and not from the CV. It is dying economically and socially. Is he waiting for/expecting a federal bailout? Good luck with that. This decision is ill-advised on so many levels I would need a separate blog to do it justice.5.
6. MI’s governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to maintain the lockdown as long as she can. She appears to be enjoying the arbitrary autocratic power it is giving her. She doesn’t seem to grasp or care that her arbitrary and autocratic decisions are trampling on the Constitution and 250 years of precedent. For example, one cannot mow his own lawn. How is that a health hazard? Also, a barber who defied her order had his license revoked. Moreover, one is not permitted to protest her policies even peacefully. If anyone does, he or she is denounced as a racist or a misogynist. At the moment, MI is not being governed in accordance with the Bill of Rights? It would not surprise me if there were a revolt.
7. In TX a beauty shop owner who defied the lockdown orders because she “wanted to feed her kids” and enable her employees to earn some money was hauled into court. According to the moronic presiding judge she compounded her “crime” by refusing to apologize to him for her “selfish” behavior whereupon she was jailed.
8. The WA state government is tracking many people who venture outside, where they go and with whom.
9. I could name many more inane, ill-advised examples of autocracy, but time and space do not permit it.
I believe we can and should be more aggressive in opening up the country. In most businesses we can and must find a way to reopen before we suffer permanent damage. For example, many restaurants can open with social distancing and/or outside seating. I believe patrons would even consent to having their temperature taken upon entrance as an added precaution. Open Table estimates that 25% of restaurants are in danger of closing permanently.
Airlines could refrain from selling the middle seat and/or operate at less than full capacity.
Retailers could limit the number of patrons at one time, like supermarkets are doing.
Retailers are in dire straits. “USA Today” reported that retail sales declined 16% in April, and further declines can be expected.
Movie theatres could limit sales to 25% capacity. Most of the time the theatres are only partially filled anyway.
There are many more examples. We need to figure out how to accommodate spectator sports, schools, and group gatherings such as graduation ceremonies, weddings, and bar mitzvahs. People are inventive and smart. We could do it in most cases. The fans really want to be able to watch their sports teams. The owners are in favor, and most players want to play.
According to the latest ABC poll 70% of parents are presently not willing to send their kids to school. That is not good. Virtual education is not as good as the real thing. We need to find a way to return kids to school safely.
The Dems’ response to the Pandemic has been curious and ill-advised. First, they took a few weeks staycation. Now they have proposed a wildly partisan “rescue plan.” It is some 1,500 pages of the far left’s wish list. I have not read it. Probably, no one will, which is likely what Pelosi wants. Remember what she said regarding the Obamacare bill? “You have to pass it to see what’s in it?” That seems to be the case with this bill.
Anyway the major points are as follows:
1. A $1,200 cash payment for illegal aliens.
2. Complete amnesty for illegals.
3. Broadening the definition of “essential” jobs to include virtually all jobs.
4. Expand the definition of “guest workers” to include many additional categories.
5. Release prisoners convicted of all but the most serious crimes.
6. Loans for lobbyists.
7. Repeal the limits for deducting state taxes.
8. Expand voting by mail. (Many suspect there’s too much voting fraud as it is.)
9. And my favorite, a $1 trillion bailout to be paid to those states that are in financial straits. So, citizens of fiscally responsible, well-run states pay for other states’ profligacy.
Sense a trend? Everything is beneficial to illegal aliens, socialism, and special interests. Nothing is a real CV-related benefit. It will probably pass the House, but, thankfully, it has no chance of passing the Senate and no chance of being signed by Mr. Trump. I don’t even see how any red-state Dem Reps could vote for it.
Why even bother to propose it? Are they trying to lose the 2020 election?
As illustrated above, we are losing many of our constitutional rights, and our capitalist, free enterprise economic system is in jeopardy. Our way of life is being transformed before our very eyes. Like I said at the outset, what kind of country are we living in anyway? At the present rate, soon you will not recognize it.