Opinion: Daily Journal

Cooper knows best, so who are we to question him?

Gov. Roy Cooper at a COVID-19 news briefing May 20, 2020. (Pool photo)
Gov. Roy Cooper at a COVID-19 news briefing May 20, 2020. (Pool photo)

Maybe I’m just too dumb to get it. 

All that science and data.

Stupid me, thinking I could think for myself.

At one point in my life, not that long ago, really, I thought I was pretty smart. Well, smarter than average, anyway. 

What a fool, I was … am. 

Just plain stupid. That’s me. 

Thank you, Gov. Roy Cooper, for revealing my ignorance. For offering evidence of why you, and so many others like you, are so much smarter than me. You talk and they listen. You give orders and they follow.

Instead, I questioned your reasoning. Your motives. What was I thinki– … darn it, there I go again. Won’t happen again, I promise. 

For some reason, I believed our dear leaders — at all levels — including you, sir, bungled this COVID-19 thing all to heck.

We failed, as a nation, to lock down early, and to recognize the dangerous potential of this virus. Then, as the White House shifted to the states responsibility for responding to the virus, things got immediately political.

I think most of us supported the state’s early response, including the strict lockdowns. I believed an emphasis on testing, education, and good old-fashioned common sense would allow us to soon resume some semblance of our former lives. That, with the right leadership, people would be careful, would try to keep one another safe. Other than a few exceptions — goofily portrayed by reporters on TV news — people have. 

I believed the governor would proceed with his plan, to reopen in phases, and to not rely solely on a heap of charts and graphs that only he and Dr. Mandy Cohen could accurately interpret. 

I believed, for whatever reason, more than a few reporters would question the data and challenge Cooper and Cohen, not only on the veracity of the numbers but also the context in which they’re presented. I thought the goals and expectations regarding outcomes for testing, hospitalizations, etc., were rigid and immovable, as opposed to swinging targets. We’ve hit that magical 5%, as it relates to positive tests. 

Oops, missed again. Too smart for me, you two rascals.

Too smart, too, for my John Locke Foundation colleagues, I suppose, even with their degrees, their brilliant reasoning, and editorial profundity. One such colleague, Director of Regulatory Studies Jon Sanders, writes that, in North Carolina, 98.22% of people have never had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

People who aren’t infectious.

Think about that: 98.22% of folks you’d sit next to at a bar, watch a movie with, or stand next to in line to vote have never even had the virus,” Sanders writes.

Bars and movie theaters have been closed since March, despite heart-rending pleas to the governor from owners and staff to reopen. 

Bars in “restaurants” are open, as are breweries, and they have been for months. I know this. I’ve seen this, at least I thought I did. Falling apart, I am.

Still, I figured Cooper would stop blatantly cherry-picking winners and losers. He’ll throw those drowning people a rope, I believed. He will, soon, especially with cooler weather coming, when it’s not so comfortable for people to sit outside.

Wrong again.

Cooper, before opening elementary schools Thursday, gave individual districts the option to reopen schools and, largely because of pressure from teachers, they remained closed to in-person learning, even though state Republicans incessantly tried to change that. 

Oh, those tricky Republicans. Middle and high schools remain closed to in-person learning.

Why send kids, who probably won’t get seriously ill, to school anyway. All that social interaction — and the incumbent benefits — the one-on-one help, the relief for working parents … pfft. 

The isolation is good for them, don’t you know? Nothing warms my heart more than watching my twin boys lounging in their beds, phones in hand watching videos from TikTok or Bleacher Report. At 9:30 a.m., because class finished early, when they could be meeting with teachers or talking with, I don’t know, friends and classmates. About homework, or college.

Keep them home where they’re safe, says the governor, our favorite scaredy cat. All along I thought that was up to us, the parents, to keep them safe.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Me and millions like me.

A news reader from a Raleigh TV station said this week the station reached out to the governor about his plans for schools, but it’s been a couple of days and he hasn’t gotten back to them. Couldn’t help but laugh.

Not too smart, either, are you?

The governor knows best. Just shut up and listen, comply.

Just keep telling me it’s raining.