The pandemic issue has become radically politicized. Motivated from the White House, the movement against science—and against vaccines and knowledge in general—with the excuse of protecting individual freedoms and opposing the government’s “dictatorship,” is pressuring to “open the economy,” leaving behind weeks of stay-in-place orders that have been helpful in controlling the spread of Covid-19.
We are going back to barbaric times in which ignorance is king. What health experts and specialists say has no value, and some political leaders put economic benefits before social health.
By putting aside protective health measures, those who will suffer the most are those who can’t stay in place and have to go to work for the benefit of the corporations. Overall, these workers lack health insurance and the majority of them make only minimum wage—which is $7.25/hour at the federal level. In short, those who make the least will risk the most.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom implemented a step-by-step return to “normal” while trying to avoid a further outbreak of the virus. In Fresno, local leadership showed responsibility early in the pandemic and from mid-March implemented a stay-in-place order as a way to flatten the curb of the spread of the virus and to protect residents’ health. Now, the city is following the state’s guidelines to reopen the economy.
This early decision of the City was criticized irresponsibly by some Fresno County supervisors, who refused to follow the City’s lead. The majority of the Tulare County supervisors reacted similarly, even though the county has a high number of deaths from the virus—something that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The anti-science, anti-knowledge people are within the spectrum of the Republican Party and are part of Trump’s reelection campaign.
Traditionally, Republicans controlled the political and social life of the Central Valley regardless of demographic and sociocultural changes.
We need political change along with changes to implement new economic opportunities and cultural involvement. Old conservative, exclusive formulas will not work in the past-pandemic era we are entering. We need new agriculture—smaller, organic local farms—as well as a new kind of bank, a new way to raise animals and strong investment in public health and, of course, a new public housing blueprint.
To vote is important—let’s not forget that Republicans are implementing voting suppression measures around the country—but it is even more important to politically educate new generations of residents.
Ignorance and Republicans are obstacles to progress and social well-being.