A Tale of Two Governors and Two State Re-openings
This is a tale, not of two cities, but of two states, and two governors. Both states began reopening their economies last week as the worst of the Chinese flu appears to be over, except for a few isolated hotspots. Both states are reopening in a similar fashion, taking baby steps rather than a full gallop.
One state is Georgia, the other is Colorado. Georgia has 10.6 million people, Colorado a little more than half that number. The virus stats favor Georgia, but only by a small amount. According to the Real Clear Politics Coronavirus tracker, Georgia has 27,733 confirmed cases compared to 15,768 in Colorado, consistent with their population difference. Georgia fares better in deaths per million population, at 110 compared to Colorado at 142.
Both states slowly reopened their shuttered economies last week. Georgia allowed gyms, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, and bowling alleys to resume operations. Not willy-nilly business as usual, but with standard precautions which have unfortunately become our new normal for the foreseeable future. These include temperature checks, symptom screening, clients waiting in their cars, social distancing, masks, disinfection, and so on.
Restaurants also took a small step forward, moving from curbside delivery to actually letting customers dine inside, but with caveats including “Limited seating, spread out tables, and lots of hand sanitizer.” How soon until someone confuses hand sanitizer with pancake syrup or salad dressing and blames President Trump?
Colorado reopened around the same time, April 27, going from “stay at home” to “safer at home”. Retail and personal services resumed business on May 1 along with non-critical offices (meaning government at all levels) on May 4. Curbside retail delivery and real estate showings are back, along with haircuts. Hygiene mandates, like in Georgia, are in place.
Both approaches are comparable and reasonable. No businesses are being forced to reopen and customers can choose to stay home and not patronize any of the reopened establishments. Which many people will likely do.
Media reaction was anything but comparable or reasonable. The Guardian calls the decision racist with this headline, “Georgia's Covid-19 reopening pits white governor against black mayors.” CNN parrots the racist angle with this headline, “Black leaders say reopening Georgia is an attack on people of color.” CNN the “news” network that believes robots are racist. The media mindset is that anything a Republican does is racist, de facto standard.
For the similar Colorado plan, headlines were more benign. From The Hill, “Colorado governor defends lifting restrictions: We have to make the best decision based on information we have.” This sounds exactly like what Governor Kemp of Georgia is doing. The Denver Post had no problem either saying, “Businesses creak to life as Colorado’s stay-at-home order lifts.”
The same Denver Post that directs pabulum at their chosen governor directs vitriol at their, “Not my President”. A few weeks ago, the Denver Post published their own editorial, “Trump is playing a disgusting political game with our lives.” One could argue the same about Governor Polis, reopening the state before everything is completely safe to mitigate his state’s budget deficit and unemployment numbers for his political advantage. But no is saying or thinking that way except the state’s largest newspaper.
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Reopening plans are similar for both states, based on their unique situations, COVID cases and deaths, hospital capacity, and the reasoned judgement of public health officials and elected leaders. Both states are taking small steps forward to avoid a Colorado calamity of getting out in front of your skis and having a nasty fall. For the Wuhan virus, this could potentially lead to a surge of cases, threatening hospital capacity.
Yet the media attacked only one of the two governors. Even President Trump, under pressure from the basketball player and scarf-queen, denounced Kemp’s decision to reopen Georgia, or at least certain aspects of the reopening. Was it the nail salons or bowling alleys reopening that upset the task force?
Colorado also reopened nail salons. There was no mention of bowling, which may be more popular in Georgia than Colorado, but Colorado allows “personal training services for fewer than 4 people”, not much different than bowling in terms of touching or sharing equipment. Trump and the task force only criticized Georgia, and not Colorado.
Why the difference? Two reasons – politics and intersectionality.
Starting with politics, Governor Kemp is a Republican. And if you listen to Democrats and the media, he is an illegitimate governor. The real governor is the zaftig Democrat Stacey Abrams. Does anyone believe that if she was the governor slowly reopening Georgia that any media would dare criticize her? Governor Polis is also a Democrat. Big media never criticizes Democrats. Ask Biden or Obama. And Polis is not only a Democrat, which leads to the second explanation.
Intersectionality is a new word among woke progressives, referring to all the “isms”, multiple forms of discrimination intersecting within the victim classes so favored by the left.
Kemp is heterosexual, Polis is gay, with a first gentleman husband, and two children. Unlike the media, most Coloradans or Georgians don’t care, judging their governors based on policy, governance, and results. Aside from unclear messages coming out of various Colorado government agencies, Polis has handled state response to the virus adequately, taking a mainstream approach, reopening early, and not becoming a dictator as some other governors have.
Would the media dare criticize the first openly gay governor in America, and a Democrat? Not on your life. But this is about intersectionality and politics, not one or the other. Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, Ric Grenell is also gay, yet that hasn’t stopped the Washington Post from accusing him of lying and coverup over the Wuhan virus threat.
This would explain how two state governors with similar reopening plans, are treated so differently by an unobjective media. Trump is correct when he calls the fake news media the enemy of the people. But fear not, the world is waking up.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, Rasmussen Reports, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook LinkedIn, Twitter and QuodVerum.