116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Gov. Kim Reynolds doesn’t even respect us enough to come up with a coherent fake rationale for her reckless response to the delta variant of COVID-19.
She hems and haws about “data” on “both sides,” the need for “balance” and how she trusts Iowans to “do the right thing” as she ignores what infectious disease experts clearly say is the right thing. The governor repeats her mantra of how she kept schools open, leaving out the critical difference between last year, when schools could require masking and create hybrid learning plans, and this year, when the Republican-backed ban on mask mandates leaves schools vulnerable.
Reynolds says vaccines are the best tool to fight the virus, leaving out the fact no one in Iowa under age 12 can get vaccinated. There’s also the small matter of how the governor and legislative Republicans have coddled and catered to the interests of anti-vaccine and anti-mask activists.
With no strong, sane leadership, the pandemic rolls on.
The governor is even throwing her support behind a “momma bear” anti-masker running for the school board in Ankeny. Could an endorsement of horse de-wormer be next?
Kids are getting sick. The governor insists most won’t become seriously ill. It’s so heartening to know our governor is willing to take that risk so she can keep her Red State Trailblazer club membership in good standing.
The other day, reporters tried to ask Iowa Department of Public Health Director Kelly Garcia if she would recommend wearing masks at school. Reynolds stepped in to answer.
“It doesn’t really matter because it’s law at this point,” Reynolds said. “It is a law … it is a law that elected officials that are elected by Iowans and constituents across this state, listened to the people that they represent, passed a bill, sent it to my desk and it was signed into law.”
Garcia later told reporters she sends her kids to school in masks.
The law does not prevent a public health official from making a public health recommendation. The governor simply can’t bear the thought of anyone questioning her anti-mask crusade, fueled by a molehill of evidence, gallons of misinformation and a big red gulp of culture war Kool-Aid.
This is all about freedom, we’re told. Like the freedom to have a kid showing some symptoms and wonder whether you should send them to school or keep them home. Then try to get a test. If you keep them home, with no online option, they fall behind kids whose parents have chosen to ignore public health advice. They have freedom, everyone else gets frustration.
Masking isn’t effective unless everyone does it. So our choice to mask our kid is erased by your decision to pretend the pandemic is over. And Reynolds doesn’t give a damn.
And what about kids who have underlying health conditions that make going to an unmasked school dangerous? Where is their freedom? Fortunately, parents are suing over this obvious denial of their kids’ right to access an education. Federal officials are also investigating Iowa’s mask law.
Meanwhile, the governor is reviving her greatest hits from earlier in the pandemic. Once again, we’re going to have to find a way to “live with it.” Finally, a bit of candor. Thanks to the careless indifference of the governor and the GOP we will have to live with the virus for a long time.
The governor soon will be announcing for reelection. Her slogan? “Reynolds 2022: It Doesn’t Really Matter.” I wish we could trust Iowans to do the right thing.
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