American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten was so taken by an Oct. 31 article about the COVID episode published by The Atlantic she couldn’t resist tweeting it out to her legions of propaganda-starved followers on Twitter.
To be fair, the article, headlined “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty,” does make a valid point that many decisions we later came to regret were made in the early days of the COVID scare, when we as a society were unclear about the virus and it seemed prudent to err on the side of caution.
The only information was coming from China, after all, which had serious credibility problems — particularly since the data being passed along by the country’s leadership didn’t seem to jive with our own observations.
This is where the article’s author diverges from the truth and dives headlong into damage control, particularly on behalf of teachers’ union officials like Weingarten.
While it’s true the nation’s leaders were put into an impossible position with immense pressure to make choices based on little to no reliable information, it’s worth remembering their actions were still choices.
The first instinct by too many in positions of authority was to seize power and wield it to shut down peoples’ livelihoods, shutter schools and even stop parents from playing catch in the park with their kids.
Meanwhile, others erred on the side of liberty and did what they could to protect the most vulnerable segments of the population while still allowing people to make their own choices about what precautions needed to be taken to make them feel as safe as possible.
By midsummer of 2020 — at least three months prior to the looming presidential election, by the way — U.S. health researchers had seen enough COVID cases that a far less grim picture of its potential impact had become clear.
And yet in blue states, adjustments were never made.
Those advocating for protocols restricting the fabric of daily life were doubling down on panic and feeding their constituents only the information that would buttress their own overwrought preconceptions.
In red states, schools already had a plan to reopen in the fall of 2020, though many still offered an online alternative for families that didn’t feel comfortable.
America became a land where people were leading drastically different lives depending on where they resided. Blue states lived under authoritarian rule where even going to the store or visiting grandkids was disallowed.
In red states, while residents were forced to contend with inconveniences like wearing a mask in some public settings, most otherwise tended to carry on with life more or less normally.
However, the restrictions lingered on for too long and early optimism gave way to frustration and then anger. It quickly became obvious the over-the-top precautions embraced by states with liberal leadership were much more about exerting power and influence than saving lives.
Cue Randi Weingarten.
No one is more guilty of pushing America into its current state of disrepair than big government union bosses like her. After all, it was the AFT that lobbied the Centers for Disease Control to keep schools closed long after it had become abundantly clear COVID posed little threat to the majority of the population, especially children.
Unions then seized the opportunity to reinvent the curriculum and impose crackpot ideas like Critical Race Theory on any school system that could be bullied or bluffed into compliance.
When parents objected to this madness, Weingarten threw her support behind a letter urging the Department of Justice to have them classified as domestic terrorists.
Only now that organizations like the AFT are staring down the consequences of these actions do they plead for amnesty. Weingarten’s actions over the past two years have come back to bite her, as evidenced by the reality that AFT, like other government unions, is hemorrhaging members and the revenue their dues provide.
The Atlantic article concludes by asserting, “The standard saying is that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. But dwelling on the mistakes of history can lead to a repetitive doom loop, as well. Let’s acknowledge that we made complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty and then try to work together to build back and move forward.”
In other words, leftist governors, politicized health officials, compromised lawmakers, media talking heads and the president himself made a multi-billion-dollar mistake, but they deserve a mulligan on this one.
If someone kicks you in the shin every time you walk by, eventually you’ll stop walking within kicking distance. Because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, calling out leaders whose first and last instinct is to rob Americans of their cherished freedoms in a time of crisis doesn’t seem entirely unfair.
Giving a pass to those who exploited COVID for political advantage does nothing but hasten the next arrival of their next manufactured crisis.