There’s an opinion piece in this morning’s Washington Post about Tate Reeves, the Republican governor of Mississippi and that state’s appalling response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s the headline:
Similar opinion pieces have been written about almost every Republican governor in the United States, and they all make the same stupid ass claim of incompetence. The first covid death in the US was in February of 2020; this is September 2021. We’ve been dealing with covid for nineteen (19) months now. We’re closing in on 700,000 deaths from covid.
This is NOT a result of incompetence. We’ve developed a vaccine–three vaccines, in fact, all of which are pretty damned effective in reducing the transmission of the virus AND mitigating the symptoms of the disease AND drastically reducing the potential of dying from the disease. We know wearing a mask reduces transmission of the disease. We know social distancing helps. WE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT THE FUCKING COVID VIRUS.
That we still have ICUs full of covid patients is NOT a result of incompetence. It’s an intentional political strategy.
I’m not saying Republican governors and Republican strategists cobbled together a conspiracy to murder their own supporters. I’m not saying the GOP gathered together in a room and worked out a plan designed to spread covid. What I’m saying is the GOP wants President Uncle Joe to fail–to fail in every aspect of his administration. The economy, public health, national infrastructure, international diplomacy, the military, agriculture, the justice system –pick an issue, and the GOP wants Uncle Joe to fail at it. They want him to fail, and work to make him fail, so they can then accuse him of the failure. And they’re willing to quietly sacrifice lives to see that happen.
Remember, all of these GOP governors and senators and congress-folks and political operatives are fully vaxxed. They’re not stupid (okay, some are stupid; some are really stupid, and then you’ve got the Gohmert Scholars who are ohmyfuckinggod stupid). They’ll say, in the quietest voice possible, they believe the vaccines are effective and will save lives. They’ll say they think people should get vaxxed. But they also say–and say it much louder and more often–that patriotic citizens should be free NOT to get vaxxed, NOT to wear masks, NOT to trust the CDC.
That’s not incompetence. Failure to implement and enforce a covid vaccine mandate isn’t incompetence; it’s deliberate. Failure to implement and enforce mask mandates isn’t incompetence; it’s intentional. Promoting and encouraging resistance to basic public health regimens isn’t incompetence; it’s purposeful. At best, it’s willful indifference–a casual disregard for the safety and welfare of others. More likely, it’s a reckless lack of concern about the risk incurred by others.
You know what? If you (and yes, I’m talking about you) were standing at the top of some steep stairs debating with a buddy whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and you tapped your buddy in the chest with a finger to make a point, and your buddy fell down the stairs and died, you’d be guilty of a crime. You didn’t mean to kill your buddy; you were aware of the stairs, but weren’t really thinking about them; you were indifferent about the safety of your buddy. If you were standing by those stairs and gave your buddy a shove to scare them, and your buddy fell and was killed, you’d be guilty of a more serious crime. You didn’t mean for your buddy to get hurt or die, but you knew you were at the top of some stairs and you acted recklessly.
If you’re the Governor of Mississippi and you and all 3,000,000 of your constituents are standing at the top of the stairs debating Die Hard and you poke them in the chest to make a point and 473,000 of them fell down the stairs and 9,000 of them died…well.
No, that’s not incompetence. You know you’re at the top of those stairs, and you know folks could get seriously hurt and maybe die if they fell, and you fucking poked them in the chest to make a point anyway.