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Opinion | Pandemic reveals the truth: Alabama’s conservative government is a failure

“By every measure, the conservative approach in this state has failed during the pandemic.”

Letter F grade on a report card rating a terrible, bad, poor preformance in school, a class, job or other scored activity

There are no ICU beds available in Montgomery, Mobile, Dothan and Baldwin County. None. They’re all filled up. Mostly with COVID patients. 

In Alabama, the least vaccinated state in the country, we have less than 5 percent of our ICU beds available and still at least three weeks before the state hits its peak infection rate for the latest surge. 

In Maine, the most vaccinated state in the country, just 6 percent — SIX PERCENT! — of its ICU beds are occupied by COVID patients currently. Hospitals are not filling. On Wednesday, the state logged its highest hospitalization rate in two months: 28. 

For comparison, Alabama had 39 CHILDREN hospitalized due to COVID on Wednesday. 

I’m providing you all of these numbers because I want to make a clear and obvious point: The conservative approach to dealing with the pandemic has failed. Miserably. 

And the reason it has failed is because, once again, the conservative approach to addressing a major problem doesn’t actually contain solutions. Instead, as always, it is merely arguments against other people’s solutions, wrapped around telling scared, entitled Alabamians what they want to hear. 

If you doubt this, answer me one question: What was the conservative lawmaker’s plan for addressing this pandemic that so far has killed nearly 12,000 Alabamians — roughly Gulf Shores’ entire population? What was their plan? 

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Did they come up with a vaccination plan? 

Nope. They undermined the vaccination efforts of the White House by passing a vaccine ban and encouraging citizens to exercise their freedom of choice on the vaccine. 

Did they have a super-comprehensive plan for addressing COVID at schools? 

Nope. They voiced opposition to mask mandates and virtual schooling, and they failed to establish even a semi-competent testing or tracing program for any school. 

Did they recognize the strain that a pandemic puts on state hospitals, and particularly on the already struggling rural hospitals and spend last legislative session working with the Biden administration to expand Medicaid? 

Nope. Several times during the legislative session they discussed the perilous state of Alabama’s hospitals, but ultimately they were too busy naming the sweet potato the state vegetable to get around to actually doing something about it. For the 10th straight year. 

So, if you’re scoring at home, Alabama’s lawmakers have done exactly zilch to combat this virus, help people affected by this virus or provide aid to the people who help those affected by the virus. 

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And the one Republican who did do something — Gov. Kay Ivey, who implemented a mask mandate and closed businesses for a few weeks — has been so beat up by her ultra-conservative colleagues that she’s now too afraid to do anything. 

Because she believes she was wrong the first time, or because she thinks vaccine incentives won’t work or that expanding Medicaid (which she could do without the legislature) is the wrong thing to do? 

Absolutely not. She’s afraid the super-conservative ALGOP base — which has been whipped into a frenzy by decades of Fox News and brain-melting conservative memes on social media — won’t re-elect her. And she’s probably right. 

Look, this is not really a Republican v. Democrat thing. Because I’ll readily tell you that some Republican governors have handled this pandemic very, very well. And their states are currently thriving. 

And you know why those governors performed better? Because they govern states where the majority of voters demand competency and leadership above make-me-feel-good political grandstanding. 

Not us. Not here. 

And as a result, well, if you cut yourself in this state, you better hope your significant other knows how to sew. 

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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