[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
When it comes to the Three Stooges, everyone has a favorite. There’s Moe, the leader; Larry, the zany one; and Curly, the most beloved.
Then there’s Shemp, the fill-in brother who just never achieved a level of respect or adulation from audiences.
Local-government leaders are, in a way, the Shemps of the political world. Most of their constituents couldn’t pick them out of a lineup, and they normally only have as much power as they are delegated by those higher up the political food chain.
But in the current COVID-19 environment, the region’s Shemps – local-government leaders in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, etc. – certainly are milking their “emergency” powers for all they are worth. They now fancy themselves saviors of humanity, or at least their slices of it, holding the gates firm against the hordes, as they see it, who actually have the temerity to merely want to get back to their lives after having played along for two months.
Sanctimoniousness and power grabs are to be expected from all politicians. What bothers us, however, is that our regional leaders keep moving the goalposts on this pandemic, and every time they do, their efforts seem designed to keep the region from a reasonable, responsible, predictable economic recovery.
In their hearts, apparently, they want lockdowns to continue indefinitely, and given that most of them have never operated a business or met a payroll in real-world conditions, we are not surprised by their lack of understanding of the pain of local businesses and those who rely on them.
There is a whole lot more to “public health” than the increasingly contradictory statistics on this virus. If the economy collapses – really collapses – public-health infrastructure will collapse right along with it, and may not rebound for a generation. Are we willing to risk that?
We’ll see what happens next week, when Gov. Northam has said he wants to open Northern Virginia back up. If the goalposts move again to maintain a lockdown, you’ll know whom is to blame. The Shemps of the political world.