It was shortly after 1 p.m. on Monday, 16 March, 2020, a date which shall live in infamy in the minds of millions of Louisianians and citizens of several other states. John Bel Edwards, governor of my home state of Louisiana, issued an executive order that effectively unemployed, for at least 30 days, 213,000 of my fellow citizens.
These souls had done no wrong save choose to work in Louisiana’s top industry: making visitors and regular folks feel at home and loved in our famous restaurants, taverns and music houses. Edwards, along with a dozen other spineless governors, characterized their decision as “necessary…to save lives,” yet what consideration was given to the 233,000 and their freedom to responsibly pursue their “lives?” What of the impact this action would have on them and their families, including tens of thousands of children who were fed, clothed and nurtured by their restaurant & service industry-working parents? Thus, this “assault on the virus” is just as easily, nay more easily, seen as an assault on reason, and on their liberties.
The political class has all but admitted this by doing what they do best: propose to throw money at the problem. The Trump Administration is contemplating an incomprehensibly gargantuan, $1.2 TRILLION “stimulus” act, ostensibly to undo the fiscal damage wrought by the panicked reaction to the COVID-19 “pandemic.” Damage that was at least partially avoidable and largely self-inflicted by a cowardly elite ruling class and an “if it bleeds it leads” media.
Ironically, the first wave of media hysteria wasn’t hysterical at all. Dr. Jeremy Brown, writing a mere two weeks ago at The Atlantic, under the title The Coronavirus Is No 1918 Pandemic, sounded perfectly sanguine about the then “epidemic”.
“As we wait for the [Coronavirus] epidemic to abate, social distancing, hand-washing, covering our mouths when we cough, and staying home when we are sick are all important, low-tech measures that we can take to reduce the chances of spreading the infection—and the fear that increases its damage.”
Over at Slate, Jeremy Samuel Faust was equally calm and downright passive about Covid19, titling his report on the then epidemic “COVID-19’s Mortality Rate Isn’t As High As We Think” [emphasis mine, M.C.], writing that…
“There are many compelling reasons to conclude that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is not nearly as deadly as is currently feared. But COVID-19 panic has set in nonetheless.”
There are dozens of other, less than alarming and certainly not apocalyptic, stories that help flesh my first point out: the cause of the current hysteria was known 2 weeks, heck 2 months ago, yet the panic had not yet been “triggered.” This means that every governor in the United States had plenty of time to draft some reasonable rules that could protect endangered age groups and vocational fields, like the restaurant and service industry, simultaneously!
Instead, they did nothing save for dabble in presidential politics by either basking in President Trump’s triumphs or stumping for Joe Biden.
Prior to Governor Bel Edwards foolishly closing all restaurants, bars and hospitality venues in Louisiana, Governor Mike Dewine of Ohio had gone completely knee-jerk authoritarian by locking down nearly the whole state. Again, this is an irresponsible assault on the liberty of those practicing these public vocations. In fact, the National Restaurant Association tracks the impact that restaurants have on each state, let’s take a look at what damage Dewine’s lack of preparation will do to Ohio.
585,000 Restaurant and foodservice jobs in Ohio in 2019 = 10% of employment in the state.
22,547 Eating and drinking place locations in Ohio in 2018.
$24.2 billion Estimated sales in Ohio’s restaurants in 2018. [emphasis, mine]
“OK, Church, that was then this is now, we are now in a full blown, zombie apocalypse pandemic and must take every measure humanly possible to defeat this virus! Without complete quarantine, our gooses are cooked, you’re going to get us all killed!” No, I’m not because we have an obligation, in our practice of Christian solidarity, to protect the vocations of the living and productive who are the primary providers of the elderly endangered as well!
So what’s my solution? Simple, practical prudence such as asking for voluntary cooperation from businesses to shorten business hours, limit seating to no more than 50, discourage the elderly from dining out and enforcing bar curfews, which could be moved to 9 or 10:00 p.m. These simple rules, easily adaptable state by state, can be applied to nearly any place of public compliance and will save tens of millions of vocations and seriously dilute the need for a $1.2 trillion “bailout.”
The actions of far too many governors and big city mayors is lazy, imagination-free, tyrannical herd-think, and citizens should reject it as such. They can and must do better.
Mike Church is the Founder and Morning Drive Host of The CRUSADE Channel. Follow him on Twitter @TheKingDude