The left has talked a good game about “following the science” on the coronavirus pandemic.
But in reality, they’ve been guided by something else… and it’s not the science so much as the one thing that still unites Democrats across the spectrum: their shared hatred of former President Donald Trump.
Now, even many from their own side of the aisle have noticed – and they’re not happy about it.
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“Many Democrats seemed to become more suspicious of in-person schooling last summer when President Donald Trump called for it,” wrote progressive New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
Kristof made similar observations in autumn.
“Some things are true even though President Trump says them,” he wrote as he urged cities and states to reopen America’s schools despite the pandemic. “Trump has been demanding for months that schools reopen, and on that he seems to have been largely right.”
Kids, especially younger ones, are not major carriers of the infection and don’t get seriously ill when they are infected – and studies so far have shown that opening schools with precautions for teachers and staff have been largely successful.
It also can’t be ignored that the kids hardest hit by the lack of in-person schooling are those from less wealthy communities – and that many of the students who were struggling even before the pandemic are now at risk of falling hopelessly behind.
Some haven’t been able to attend class even remotely.
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As Kristof notes, up to 3 million children have had no education at all for nearly a year now despite science that shows they could could be safely learning in school if precautions are taken by students and teachers alike.
Yet many schools haven’t opened – especially in cities and states run by Democrats.
“What we’re seeing from our elected leaders is they want to follow the science only when it fits their narrative and what’s politically expedient for them,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., told Fox News earlier this month. “You’re seeing this on the education front with President Biden and you’re also seeing it, by the way, with reopening our restaurants here in New York City.”
Malliotakis isn’t the only one to notice that “trust the science” only applies to situations that are politically convenient.
“These ‘believe the science’ scolds are little more than thinly veiled efforts to attack conservatives who ask reasonable questions,” Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation wrote in The Hill last year. “They also convey a sanctimonious intellectual superiority over anyone who challenges the left.”
The real message from liberals, he said, can be summed up as: “Shut up and do as you’re told.”
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Of course, there’s a little more than anti-Trump hatred at work.
Teachers unions in many locations have opposed reopening plans, or placed close-to-impossible conditions on reopening including the vaccination of all teachers first.
Even the CDC has said that’s not necessary for a safe reopening.
“I’m a strong advocate of teachers receiving their vaccine, but we don’t believe it’s a prerequisite for schools to reopen,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN.
Dr. Anthony Fauci made similar comments.
“Even though we don’t feel that every teacher needs to be vaccinated before you can open a school, that doesn’t take away from the fact that we strongly support the vaccination of teachers,” he said at a news conference.
Yet many unions haven’t agreed – and those unions are a core Democrat constituency, as politicians on the left count on those organizations for both get-out-the-vote efforts on the ground and endorsements during their campaigns.
But following core political groups isn’t following science – and there’s a growing resentment against the Democrats as a result as schools remain closed.
Even the normally liberal USA Today is speaking out.
“We must follow the science,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial this month. “And the best science available indicates schools can open safely.”
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert.