Quarantine Day 40: Opting Out

To see other COVID posts, visit my Quarantine blog.

Dear Governor, we need to talk:

It’s been forty days since you so eagerly followed New York and California into lockdown, even though we had yet to have a COVID case. You may recall the story of Jesus’ journey into the desert where he gave the Devil forty days to convince him that a better world awaited if he’d just do as the Devil demanded. Luckily for mankind, the Devil failed to make his case. I have placidly given you forty days to convince me COVID was as bad as you proselytized, that the world would be better if I just submitted to your demands. You have failed to make your case.

I listened to your ever changing arguments with a willingness to believe but the hyperbole you used to scare me into submission was never realized, and I now believe you knew that going in. All those experts you told me to trust, you know, the ones who gave you cover to act impulsively. The ones with the fancy models and prestigious titles who turned out to be an embarrassment to themselves and the institutions they represented.

You justified the lockdown as necessary to “flatten the curve.” You were careful to say the goal was not to reduce the number of deaths, but to spread them out. But when COVID turned out less deadly than the flu you attempted to spin it as proof of your exemplary leadership. You can’t have it both ways, either you lied going into lockdown, or you’re lying now so it can be prolonged.

With all the history our state has amassed through years of flu epidemics and occasional pandemics, how could you be so bamboozled by an over sensationalized crisis? I relied on you to understand enough about how governments and media behave to ferret through the morass of misinformation and incompetency. You failed at that as well.

That leaves us with a question for now and a question for later. Future post mortems will judge your decision to impose a lockdown that destroyed our economy and imprisoned our civil liberties. But going forward we need to address holding us hostage to your over-aggressive over-reach. Were you so consumed by panic that locking everything down was the best you could come up with? Were you so worried about political correctness that you couldn’t comprehend what makes sense in one part of the state may not in other parts?

You have failed to provide a consistent set of metrics for success. What’s required to end your lockdown? To date, fewer people have died from COVID than the flu. Why are COVID deaths so much more precious than flu deaths? Where was the government lockdown last year, or the suspension of civil liberties the year before that as people died from flu? With a 99% COVID recovery rate, what danger were we really ever in, and how do you justify your unconstitutional overreach? Can you level with me honestly, or are we too far down the rabbit hole for that?

At a critical time when our state needed leadership, you chose to follow New York and California into lockdown, and I believe you’ll compliantly keep us there until you can follow these states out. Even now you follow other states by giving us incremental 15 day quarantine extensions while scrambling to find a face-saving escape. What you continually fail to comprehend is that scripts that may work in New York or California, don’t make much sense in a state like ours.

There was a moment early on when the Joe Biden VP sweepstakes was yours to lose, and that’s exactly what you did. Leaders are made in moments of crisis. Your mettle was tested but rather than step up and lead, you chose to follow and the penalty for that is the political purgatory where you and I now reside. You’re political pride and ego are too deeply invested in the path you’ve chosen to consider anything more rational or responsible. Meanwhile, I’ve grown too restless and tired of waiting for reasonableness to make an entrance into what’s become an increasingly surreal melodrama.

So I’m done, and wanted you to hear it from me first. I gave you forty days to figure things out and you haven’t moved us any closer toward resolution than when we started. Beside following a predictably unenlightened playbook, all you’ve done is provide your daily updates devoid of strategy, timelines for restart, or metrics for success.

I’ve decided to opt out of quarantine and return to my normal life. As the state’s newest quarantine refuge, I’m done with you and your efforts to scare me into weakness. I will continue to be cautious, but never really needed your lockdown to remind me of that. My strategy is to move forward without you, treating this as I would any of the dozens of previous flu epidemics and pandemics I’ve somehow managed to survive without you or your ill conceived measures.

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