There's one thing about COVID that's undeniable. It puts stupidity in the spotlight. Eugene Robinson writes:
This is the GOP’s pandemic now. Cynical and irresponsible Republican politicians have created an environment that is killing Americans who shouldn’t have to die, swamping hospital systems with desperately ill patients, and generally ensuring that the pain and disruption of covid-19 are with us longer than they need be or should be. And they’ve done so in their own self-interest.
Stupidity seems to be the one thing that unites Republicans. And Florida governor Ron DeSantis is Exhibit A:
Public enemy number one is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is transparently trying to position himself as a contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. DeSantis has signed legislation barring local governments from imposing covid-19 restrictions and prohibiting businesses from requiring that patrons be vaccinated. He has fought to prohibit cruise ships sailing from Florida ports from mandating vaccinations. And though he supposedly supports local control over public schools, DeSantis has threatened to withhold state funding from districts that require students to wear masks.
This week, Joe Biden asked him to "get out of the way." DeSantis has no intention of doing so. Texas governor Greg Abbott is also with Stupid:
Abbott vows that “in Texas there will not be any government-imposed shutdowns or mask mandates. Everyone already knows what to do. Everyone can voluntarily implement the mandates that are safest for them, their families and their businesses.”
Both men talk about "personal responsibility." It's a good line:
Their basic message: Your body, your choice, nobody else’s business.
But that’s not true. Those who make the “personal choice” not to be vaccinated or not to mask up in appropriate settings are also making a choice to put others at risk. They can spread the coronavirus not just to other unvaccinated individuals, but also to those who can’t get vaccinated; those for whom the vaccines are less effective; and vaccinated people who might themselves not get seriously ill but could potentially pass the virus to more vulnerable members of their households.
Call it what it is: Stupidity. That's what's in the spotlight.