Alabama’s Going to Learn the Hard Way

Clete Wetli | May 24, 2020 | Opinion Article

Although it seems like an eternity in our new, surreal COVID method of timekeeping, the White House released some watered-down guidelines for states to reopen only a couple of weeks ago. Not a single state that hastily reopened has met the criteria, but they decided to risk it anyway because of political pressure over the economy. Oh, and armed right-wing Trump cultists decided to protest because they were pissed, they couldn’t go to Costco or get their mullets trimmed at Great Clips.

In a truly disgusting display of political malpractice, Trump made sure his name got put on the stimulus checks that barely met the needs of those who are suffering during this crisis. And now, Republicans are balking at the idea of more economic relief as over 36 million Americans find themselves without a job and the infection rate and the death toll continue to rise. They think we should just “wait and see what happens”.

Alabama’s Gov. Ivey said she’d let science and data guide her decisions, instead, she decided to loosen restrictions this last week as the spiking numbers in Alabama gained national attention and criticism from public health experts. Cases rising? Well, says Gov. Ivey, surely it must be time to reopen gyms, hair salons, and strip clubs. As governor of a state famous for saying “Hold my beer, watch this…”, she knows that a plea for personal responsibility will definitely be taken seriously…

And, now Memorial Day weekend has arrived.

Folks are flocking to the beach. Some are wearing masks and practicing social distancing. But a large group of folks is not. They think it’s an infringement on their liberties and their God-given right to congregate over grilled meat and cheap beer. In fact, speaking of the congregation, they’re pushing for churches to reopen without restrictions, because what could possibly go wrong?

Yeah, who cares that the second wave of the Spanish Flu killed far more than the first wave? “History shmistory, that’s prolly another libtard hoax!!” Funny thing, at that time, there was a similar contingent of malcontents who refused to wear masks… And, a whole lot of them died, too.

The virus doesn’t care about how much money you have in the bank or your political philosophy. It doesn’t care if you are too machismo to wear a mask in public or if you touch door handles without washing your hands. It doesn’t care about your obsession with the Second Amendment or your very compelling conspiracy theories you discovered surfing YouTube. It doesn’t care about your sexuality or your opinions or your lifestyle or whether you’re living a good or bad life. It doesn’t even care if you listen to Rush Limbaugh or have a secret crush on Rachel Maddow. It’s just looking at its next available host.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious airborne virus. Until there is a vaccine and effective treatments, the best we have right now is social distancing, good hygiene, and masks to prevent rampant transmission.

That’s the whole problem with Alabama being declared mostly open. It’s one among many states that have deliberately ignored the facts and science and the harsh lessons of history. Premature reopening is nothing more than an unnecessary gamble with precious, irreplaceable human lives. This is particularly true in Alabama because there are so many who refuse to wear masks, practice social distancing, or take personal hygiene seriously.

This certainly isn’t the first time Alabama has decided to battle facts and science and ended up on the losing side.

So, Alabama is just going to have to needlessly suffer- again. And, maybe a few times after that until people finally accept reality, rather than embracing the delusion that it magically won’t affect them. It’s the difference between being persistent and being obstinate. Or, in this case, compulsively defiant.

Right now, it looks like Alabama wants to learn the hard way- again.

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