Discussion and debate over COVID-19 policy is a healthy thing – it enables us to get our heads wrapped around the issues. But whether you support or attack getting the country back to work, you should do so honestly, using facts, logic and reason, and refraining from deliberate attempts to deceive. This is something Heather Cox Richardson – a frequent critic of, well, damn near everything – is unable to do.
I’ve read a number of her posts. They bore me, and make me tired – her rants are monotonous, repetitive and annoyingly whiny. But her latest post takes the cake for being so deliberately dishonest. That post is worth reading, not for its content, but for the opportunity to see mendacity and subterfuge in action.
I’ll skip the boring part where she blathers on about Russia and cut right to the chase, where she claims that that old news is overshadowed by “… a razor sharp observation made yesterday by George Chidi.” [That article, as well, is worth reading, just so you know where he stands — here it is.]
And what exactly is it that Ms. Richardson and Mr. Chidi are so upset about? They both believe that Georgia Governor Kemp’s re-opening businesses in the state is “… about making sure people can’t file unemployment.”
You read that right. The evil Governor is allowing (not forcing) businesses to open again so that people can have their jobs back, get their paychecks once more and help get the economy going again. Oh, the horror.
Now let’s examine the argument. Richardson points out that Kemp’s decision would reopen “… gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, barbers, nail salons, restaurants, theaters, and massage therapists, among other businesses, next week.” Chidi claims that (1) these are the businesses that are largely staffed by black, brown and poor people, (2) if they go back to work they can’t file for unemployment, and (3) that’s discrimination.
But the Governor’s alleged crime is worse than that, of course. According to Chidi, the motive behind this is to kill blacks, Asians and poor people. Really. Here are his exact words:
“It is no coincidence that the businesses on this list are staffed by relatively poor people. Because that’s who he wants off the unemployment rolls. And if they die … well, they’re mostly black people, or Asian, and poor, and an acceptable political loss for a Republican governor.”
“The purpose of this isn’t to open up these businesses. It’s to get the workers there off the dole.“
OK, we’ll begin with the claim about what businesses are reopening. Notice that little phrase about “… among other businesses” above. What exactly does that mean? It’s the kind of thing that sometimes — not always, but sometimes — an author will insert to distract you from the truth without actually having to commit to a lie, and that’s exactly what’s happening here.
To understand what’s being hidden here, you have to go to the actual Executive Order itself (something Chidi and Robinson neglected to link to; could it be they didn’t really want you to read it?) Here it is in PDF, so you can download it and read it yourself.
I’ll save you the trouble though, and tell you what those “other businesses” are. They are “…all medical practices, dental practices, orthodontics practices, optometry practices, physical therapists, ambulatory surgical centers, physicians performing elective surgeries, healthcare institutions, medical facilities, and any and all other healthcare-related practices and services…”
Now that you know the truth Richardson was trying to hide by ‘cherry-picking’, do you really think that this is all about trying to kill blacks, Asians and poor people? Does she believe that the businesses I listed above are primarily staffed by blacks, Asians and poor people? Gosh, Ms. Richardson, are there any businesses at all that are NOT primarily staffed by blacks, Asians and poor people?
Chidi also laments the fact that banks and software firms were not reopened. To the best of my knowledge, they were never closed! But Chidi and Richardson don’t want you to know that.
Ms. Richardson and Mr. Chidi apparently think that being “on the dole” is a much better state of affairs than having a job. And that mean old Governor is actually allowing people to work instead of being involuntarily unemployed. Why, it’s almost like slavery!
It may well turn out that Kemp’s decision was not for the best. We don’t know yet. But whether or not you want businesses to open sooner or later is a matter for careful, rational discussion. Ms. Richardson and Mr. Chidi have a right to their opinions, and are encouraged to bring facts, reason and logic to the discussion.
What they have done instead, however, is simply dishonest. Both Ms. Richardson and Mr. Chidi have an axe to grind, and they are willing to practice deliberate deception to do it. Shame on them. Don’t fall for it.