Lately, my sister and I have been playing this one-upmanship game: which of us has the dumbest governor in America. Although I was born and raised in Florida, I am currently making my home in Georgia. My sister, though, is still in Florida. So almost everyday, we compare notes on the most recent dumb decision made by the governors of Florida and Georgia.
And yes, I have to use the word dumb because there is no other, more appropriate, word.
At first, DeSantis had the lead. This man welcomed visitors to Florida (a state filled with the 65 and older crowd) and told them to enjoy their spring break. Apparently, he thought Florida itself was covid-19 immune. Then the cases started, but DeSantis was resistant to implementing a stay-at-home order. To acknowledge that covid-19 is a deadly virus would be a Democratic move, I guess. (As if the coronavirus will check to see how a person votes before it infects).
Finally, it seemed as if DeSantis might have found a sense or two when he later shut down Florida. Then he passed laws to override local governments trying to keep their residents safe. And he gave a thumbs up to churches who wanted to fill their pews with congregations sprinkled with covid-19. Why is it always Florida?
And then Georgia catches the Florida bug and Governor Kemp decides that the best way to deal with rising cases of the coronavirus is to reopen Georgia businesses. Now, I was already struggling to remain second place after Kemp decided to get on television and say he had just discovered covid-19 cases could be asymptomatic (weeks after the rest of the world). I tried to pretend that moment didn't happen but then I watched Rachel Maddow and realized that his idiocy had gone national.
My sister reminded me of that moment each time I mentioned DeSantis's move to keep churches open. Then Jacksonville opens up their beaches and tweets that visitors respected social distancing practices even though the pictures clearly showed otherwise. I mean, that had to be the dumbest move ever, right? Until Kemp decides to reopen Georgia.
That move was endgame.
Nothing DeSantis does can top reopening businesses. Kemp wants people to practice social distancing while getting a massage, a mani-pedi, and a fresh hairdo. I think the person who invents a way for people to do those things without touching will be an instant billionaire. He also made the decision to reopen businesses without the input of local governments. Talk about not caring about the lives of your residents.
That these two men base their decisions for millions of their state residents on the ignorance of the president is a clear dereliction of duty. Kemp claims that he is the Governor of all Georgians but his actions show otherwise. He is the Governor of those Georgians who have deified Donald Trump. If he was the Governor of Georgia, he would put the welfare of his residents above politics. It goes without saying that DeSantis should do the same.
Right now, I think I'm winning the dumbest governor game, and I must say that this is one game I would be more than happy to lose. But that would require Kemp to possess an empathy that supersedes his political ambitions, and he proved during the gubernatorial election that his ambitions have broken his ethical and moral compass. And Georgia residents will once again pay the cost.