As I predicted, the constant bullying associated with all things COVID-19 and race relations caught up with the Democrats on Tuesday. Especially in Virginia, where ostensible “white supremacy” elected an African-American woman as lieutenant governor, and a Hispanic attorney general. Defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe campaigned hard on all sorts of mandates for children in public schools, while propagating the old ruse of sending his own children to private school.
And he lost — big time. The notion that parents shouldn’t care about whether their kids are forced to get vaccinated with the child’s version of a vaccine under an emergency use authorization that even the CDC said should not be mandated — yet — for a disease that basically does not affect kids, didn’t sit well. And while the election was tight — McAuliffe got some 49 percent of the vote, while GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin received 51 percent — the reality is what happens at the tape. The linking of every issue to race and COVID led to a sweep at the top of the Virginia state government for the GOP.
I’ve warned about the deep dangers of this fanaticism multiple times in my column. And instead of heeding my advice, at least at the Daily News level, all that happened was that a group I’ll call the Googling Grandpas (GGs) just screamed louder. The GGs are actually a good sample of the retrograde gerontocracy that the Democratic Party has decided is its future.
More’s the pity. COVID-19 or no, these guys and their views are in the checkout line. And running a society around their interests won’t work, regardless of the harshness of their bullying rhetoric. I’ve coined a couple of terms around their position — most of it is what I call Elite Risk Minimization, which really means that the GGs are willing to double down on torturing young, special needs kids with masks in schools if it increases their potential safety factor one micro-click. One thing for sure — that’s not the way to run a society, let alone win elections.
And unless the Democratic Party can wake up and get our societies back to normal, no ifs, ands or senseless COVID-19 restrictions that don’t work, they should expect a bloodbath in 2022. All you screamers out there impressed with your rhetoric, well, OK. I’ve dealt with bullies my whole life. But what that kind of saturating speech does is drive all those voices you actually need to hear — people with legitimate concerns over their children’s well-being, underground. Until they get to the voting booth.
How can we start the process of recovery? By immediately dropping all vaccine mandates for employment, and all masking requirements on the general society — starting immediately with children. Neither of these things work. And when things don’t work, what happens is people’s experience goes counter to the propaganda. My fancy term for that is “validity grounding.” Ask anyone who got a breakthrough COVID-9 infection. That leads to an erosion of faith in governance — especially when governments double down on the same failing policies.
And we need a strong Democratic Party. Fixing global warming is up next, and global warming is both real and observable. But if the people’s view of science as a benefit to them, is instead replaced as a tool of the government for destroying their jobs and lives, they won’t listen to that.
Moving back toward the center from the polarization centrifuge of modern politics will be challenging. Here’s the litmus test. If a policy increases agency and brings us back together, then that’s a good thing. But if a campaign is predicated on relational disruption, and deprivation of people’s livelihoods — that stuff has to go. Enough.
And all my other D friends — do you really want to court, through this bizarre overreach, the nihilistic wing of the Republican party and another Trump presidency? Stop while there’s still time.
Pezeshki is a professor in mechanical and materials engineering at Washington State University.