Lawmakers Basing Decisions on Narrative, Not Data
Written by Kevin Catapano on 09/11/2020
It is September. Many states and localities have been locked down for six whole months now, even in spite of data showing that the curve in certain locations has been flattened for weeks. Major cities have been burning nightly over supposed “systemic” racism for four months now, with law enforcement being assaulted, residents terrorized and property stolen or destroyed. Traditionally, the goal of lawmakers has been to serve the interests of their constituents – and this was the key to reelection. This is no longer the goal or the key. The focus for many lawmakers now is upholding the narrative.
The narrative is that the virus is equally as dangerous for all populations and that those states which permit their residents to resume daily life are careless at best and enemies of science at worst; that the police are hunting down black Americans and murdering them in cold blood; and that the country, herself, is an inherently evil nation founded upon racism and still systemically committed to its sustenance. This narrative is unscientific and factually inaccurate. It’s also politically expedient in the extreme.
In order to stay in line with the narrative, lawmakers must defer unquestioningly to the experts – whose function it is to inform lawmakers rather than make law themselves – as well as the outraged, as though outrage directly correlates with correctness. Being good little politicians, many are happy to oblige. To hell with data or the concerns of their people.
This would be the reason that Gov. Ned Lamont refuses to allow Connecticut businesses to reopen in fuller despite plummeting daily death totals and positivity rates. Lamont hasn’t bothered to proffer an actual standard for reopening. Presumably this depends upon the extent to which he feels his political standing is safe, a sense of security rooted in strict adherence to the narrative rather than service to state residents.
Despite the fact that New York City has recorded an infection rate of 1 percent or less for 24 consecutive days, Mayor Bill de Blasio – notorious murderer of both groundhogs and local business – has refused to permit indoor dining for restaurants. Ignoring for weeks that surrounding regions like Nassau County had resumed indoor dining without an accompanying spike in cases, de Blasio has suggested restaurants may be compelled to wait until June of next year – this, despite that 1,400 city restaurants have closed permanently since March. Only Wednesday did Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce that indoor dining may partially resume at month’s conclusion. The damage is done for those whose survival couldn’t outlast the narrative.
The suffering of local business owners and their employees, families and communities doesn’t seem to register with those lawmakers concerned chiefly about the narrative. The city of Los Angeles planned to cancel in-person Halloween activities, despite children being the least vulnerable members of the population and the data which suggest that they’re a low risk to spread the virus to their parents. Likewise, governors nationwide have pushed to postpone or outright cancel fall schooling on similar pretexts and with disregard for the same data points – and in spite of CDC recommendations that in-person schooling resume.
California may soon require public high schools to teach the lesson of the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning historians have openly condemned as bad history. Vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris has stated that she is “proud” of Jacob Blake, a man who allegedly digitally raped a woman in front of her child and who had warrants for domestic violence and sexual assault when he resisted arrest and reached for a knife. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called for an investigation into the incident, which he says must lead to the prosecution of the officers. But why investigate if the conclusion is predetermined?
Lawmakers continue to preoccupy themselves with running cover for rioters and looters, and cracking down on law enforcement rather than murderers, thieves and rapists. (Bill de Blasio, on Tuesday, praised Labor Day weekend in New York City for being “overwhelmingly peaceful” despite the shootings of a six-year-old boy, his mother and 26 other residents.) With violent crime rates tripling and quadrupling from this time last year in cities nationwide, lawmakers persist in entertaining the notion that police are the “real” threat to black lives – never mind that 81 percent of black Americans want as much or more policing than they currently have.
Across the nation, crime is spiking, infection rates are declining and principled leaders are increasingly scarce. Until the politically expedient is replaced with the truth, unscientific narratives will reign supreme, as will the absolutely dumbest within our political class.
(Photo: Flickr/Kevin Case/CC BY 2.0)
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