Anyone who knows anything about power and politicians knew 15 months ago (when restrictions on movement and personal freedoms were first announced) that it would be the devil trying to get states to give up that power.
The desire for control is too overwhelming for some. Take New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for instance. Not only are many restrictions and mandates still in place in New York, but there have also been so many contradictory and confusing orders that people have simply given up trying to follow them or understand them.
The current landscape of COVID regulations enforced by Cuomo’s regime simply makes no sense. Over at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, more that 10,000 fans, often maskless while eating and drinking, watch the mighty Nets course through the NBA playoffs.
Meanwhile, across town at Penn Station, recently rebuilt as an airy and open cathedral of transportation, the mask mandates persist. If you are sitting shoulder to shoulder screaming cheers for Kevin Durant, no mask. But if you sit alone on a bench quietly reading while awaiting your train, mask up.
This sort of madness has persisted throughout the pandemic as Cuomo seeks to micromanage the reopening by giving himself maximum power to do so.
Children appear to be the primary victims of Cuomo’s megalomania. Schools are only partially open and, of course, kids and everyone else must wear a mask. You get the sinking feeling that Cuomo won’t let go as long as anyone gets infected with the coronavirus.
As has been the case from Day 1 of this pandemic, the situation is even worse, more confusing, and more nonsensical for our children. The policies on masking kids at school seem to change every 10 minutes or so for no apparent reason. New York Senate GOP leader Rob Ortt, who is leading the effort to remove King Cuomo’s crown, said he has spoken to school officials “who are utterly angry, who are upset, and who are confused.”
The only justification for these continued restrictions, for not following the lead of places like Texas and Florida where our citizens are flocking, appears to be Cuomo’s own gargantuan ego. He likes parceling out little flecks of freedom to his plebes. One imagines him powder-wigged, with a gentle back-of-the-hand royal wave announcing, “I doth declare upon this day that in accordance with science, masks shall not be worn on Thursdays.”
Cuomo has been talking about reopening a “reimagined New York” as if it is he who wants to do the “reimagining” and won’t let the people go until he’s finished.
It’s better in Illinois, which just “reopened” on Friday. The word “reopened” is in quotes because kids in school and people in health care facilities will still be required to wear masks for entrance.
Politicians in Chicago and Springfield strutted around and congratulated themselves, giving speeches that should have been given months ago.
“Due to the incredible progress we’ve made in our mission to stop the spread of COVID-19, I am thrilled to announce that we are able to safely transition into Phase 5 and become the first major city in the country to fully reopen,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our ongoing vaccination efforts, which prioritize equity and inclusion, have made a remarkable difference in our COVID-19 journey and have resulted in the lowest positivity rate since the beginning of the pandemic. This progress, as well as ongoing initiatives such as Open Chicago, have allowed us to safely lift capacity limits and reconnect our residents back to the activities they love the most. With today’s announcement and even more residents continuing to do their part and get vaccinated, we are one step closer to being able to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror.”
Chicago’s positivity rate was never much higher than Texas or Florida. But those states reopened months ago. Why is Lightfoot congratulating herself for hanging on to her power for so long?
We should devoutly wish that all governors and mayors who maintained mandates well beyond the time when they should have been lifted will be soundly defeated in their re-election bids.