Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order on Aug. 19 that allowed businesses to choose whether to follow local Covid-19 guidelines. He made the move despite rising coronavirus cases in the state.
Though this action comes across as shocking, it is typical of his behavior as governor. Kemp has continually wreaked havoc on the state of Georgia through his moves on Covid-19 such as the rollback of the remaining restrictions in April 2020 during a time when knowledge about the virus was still limited.
The policies and actions of Kemp symbolize a larger philosophy. Throughout the pandemic, Republication politicians have repeatedly refused to address the crisis through denial of scientifically proven facts.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been notorious for disregarding the dire condition of his state and exacerbating the effects of the pandemic. In April 2021, DeSantis issued an executive order prohibiting businesses from requiring customers to present vaccine documentation. He also issued an executive order in July 2021 which barred schools from mandating masks for their students, although this decision has since been overturned by a Florida court.
These decisions by DeSantis have led to detrimental results. The state surpassed three million Covid-19 cases on Aug. 20. As Covid-19 continues to increase the number of hospitalizations,
Florida hospitals are experiencing significant staff shortages.
Despite the hospitalization crisis and the rise in cases, DeSantis has not enforced mask mandates. Instead, he has chosen to remain adamant in his approach to the pandemic, which has come at a substantial cost. DeSantis’s stubborn approach has led to Florida’s deadliest time for Covid-19 throughout the entire pandemic happening in August.
Georgia is dealing with a Covid-19 crisis similar to Florida’s. As of Aug. 26, Georgia has a 7-day average of 8,562 cases, and the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations has overwhelmed hospitals.
Similar to DeSantis, Kemp has remained adamant in his strategy to combat the health crisis by ignoring it. This represents a severe lack of judgment and a blatant denial of facts from those we elect to run our states.
A vast premise of the Republican Party of the United States is denial, and DeSantis and Kemp are prime examples of this concept. They have repeatedly denied Covid-19, with DeSantis choosing to enforce executive orders that have worsened the crisis.
Kemp’s ignorance is evidenced through his incomprehension of basic science and facts related to Covid-19. In April 2020, he said he had just found out individuals could transmit the virus before showing symptoms, although the asymptomatic transmission of the virus was known for weeks. His recent executive order is no different from his previous behavior, as it prioritizes the short-term economy and puts individuals in Georgia at risk.
The trend of ignorance among Kemp and other prominent Republicans like DeSantis proves dangerous for the future of the United States. It symbolizes a move away from science towards anti-rationality for the party. The future of our country relies on facts, and unless Republicans can learn to trust science, we will collectively be trapped in an inescapable crisis.