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Opinion | We have the smarter governor

The economy is a wreck. That’s true. Some believe this will be the worst recession since the Great Depression. We had that one already, in 2008 and 2009. Guess what? A Democratic Party president, and a black man at that, cleaned up that mess and set off the longest economic boom in recent memory.

That boom ended abruptly two months ago when the current Republican president failed to act on warnings that a pandemic was coming. Donald Trump stuck his head in the sand (or up his elsewhere), and here we are.

Most likely, it’ll once again be up to a Democrat to clean up this mess. Because this virus isn’t going to go away in April, like Trump said it would. It’s not going to go away over the hot months of the summer. It’s here, and probably here to stay, recycling every year like whatever version of the flu is in vogue at the time.

Except this isn’t the flu. It’s meaner and deadlier. And the current Republican administration is directly responsible for an untold number of deaths in this horrible first round.

Despite pressure from Trump and shortsighted Alabama Republicans in the Congress, Gov. Kay Ivey refuses to pull back on her stay-at-home orders at least through the end of this month. Ivey, unlike most Republicans, says science and not what she thinks will determine when the lockdown is unlocked. That’s really just common sense, right? Except “Thank God For Georgia’s” Republican governor (who stole that election in 2018, by the way) is opening things up as we speak. Georgia, with many thousands more cases than Alabama, with many hundreds more deaths, says let’s get back to normal because money is normal and money is more important than lives.

That is what we’re talking about. People dying. Moms and dads and brothers and sisters. Granny and Paw-paw. The neighbor. For bad decisions, like those made (or, rather, not made) by Trump and his cronies back in January and February. For those bad decisions made by the governors of Georgia and Florida and other states this week.

But not for bad decisions made by Kay Ivey. It took her long enough to act in the beginning, but she’s standing firm now. Despite no-nothings like U.S. Reps. Gary Palmer and Mo Brooks (both Republicans, of course) telling her to let people die for money.

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Not a lot of money, either. Our economy is changed, forever, and broken for a while. There is no “on” switch. It’ll be a slow comeback.

Birmingham is a foodie city, but there will be huge restaurant gaps once this era of COVID-19 ends. We’ll have to see how damaged the state’s economic engine, UAB, is when the coronadust settles.

We’re likely stuck with this disease until there are decent treatments and a reliable vaccine, and those goals are likely months and months away.

So it’ll take a serious Democrat, not a pathological narcissist Republican, to clean up this mess.

Just as it did in 2008.

Here’s the major flaw in most Republican-led governments these days. Modern Republicans don’t have the energy, intelligence, courage, or empathy to take charge and govern. They don’t play well. They are the “no!” party. They’re all about the dollar – especially their dollar – and it matters little to them if they have to swap human lives in the bargain. That’s just collateral damage, right?

These are scary times for Americans. Public officials making bad decisions because they can’t be patient and listen to the science. Besides, it won’t be their children or parents they sacrifice, right?

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November’s elections can’t come quickly enough. I’d wish the rest of this year away just to be closer to January’s inauguration.

But those months will come. There just probably won’t be as many of us here to vote; maybe that’s the GOP’s newest form of voter suppression.

Still, thank you, Gov. Ivey, for depending on science and health experts to guide the way, and not simply what you wish could happen.

During this trying time, our Republican governor is the smarter leader. And as we’ve seen over the past few days, that’s pretty rare in some places across the land.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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