Recently there has been a desperate swarm of misinformation that unnecessarily and sadly politicized the safety of the school during the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes from deeply partisan leaders and their right-wing media makers who would rather engage in petty politics than keep the Kentuckians safe and alive. Unfortunately, some of their nonsense and dishonesty even ends up on the editorial pages of the Courier Journal.
It’s deadly dangerous as well as daunting. So here are the facts.
There is only one elected officer in Kentucky who works with the White House doctors, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, stands in complete agreement. There is only one person who has worked with Republicans and Democrats in the past few months to keep Kentuckians safe. There is one person who puts politics aside day in and day out to put Kentuckians first.
That person is Governor Andy Beshear.
These dishonest actors, acting in bad faith, lie to Kentuckians with half-quotation marks and misinformation to get political points. That’s why Dr. Fauci went straight to WDRB – a Kentucky television station – in August when cases weren’t as high as they are now.
When it comes to getting kids into schools, Dr. Fauci: “There is one thing that should dominate, and that is the safety, health and well-being of the children and teachers and the secondary spin-offs of these people’s families.”
When Dr. Fauci made those comments in August when we weren’t setting records for the number of positive cases and deaths on an almost daily basis, then they certainly still matter today.
As the governor noted at some of his recent press conferences, several people working in our schools have died of COVID-19 in the past week, including a man who contracted the virus in school. These are tough choices, unsuitable for political gambling, and require a leader who has to think of everyone – our neighbors, our families, our support workers, our teachers – when it comes to COVID-19.
When asked for Beshear’s answer, Dr. Fauci, governors should require masks to be worn, encourage social distancing, and reduce the crowd. “When you’ve done these things, you’ve done the right things.”
Fauci and Beshear are on the same page and always have been. Beshear is doing the right things – the right things – to protect us all.
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From day one, Beshear acted calmly, decisively, and compassionately to protect the Kentuckians. He quickly declared a state of emergency and implemented other policies, such as requiring face covers to suppress any surge in the coronavirus. Beshear approved $ 40 million to help Kentucky restaurants that were so hard hit last year.
Beshear continues to put politics aside and put us all, whether you voted for him or not, first. He has worked with Republican governors in Indiana and Ohio to fight pandemics. He worked with a Republican Secretary of State to secure two elections in our Commonwealth.
Governor Beshear has had tough decisions to make, but he saves lives and by calling on Kentuckians to come together, following guidance, including social distancing and wearing a mask, has ensured that the end of these dark times is in sight.
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Let us be clear, those who are trying to divide us are doing so because the record of their inactivity stems directly from a partisan strategy that has allowed the death, closure of family and small businesses, and the education of our children amidst it in a political battle.
Over a year ago, the people of our Commonwealth entrusted Governor Andy Beshear to lead us, unaware that there was a deadly global pandemic around the corner. Fortunately, our collective wisdom gave us a leader who is interested in governing by doing the right things.
Imagine a Kentucky where instead of fighting this governor to get more likes on Facebook, we had leaders who were also interested in doing the right, the right, the moral.
Even if these leaders and their far-right echo chamber fail this leadership test, we, the people, will not give up. Our determination as Kentuckians, bound by the treaty written in our state motto, is why we will get through this together.
Colmon Elridge is the chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.