Just Say Anything has long been the operating principle of the current regime, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has not exactly been an agent of change since joining up. In fact, J.S.A. is basically her job description. She's been brought in to perfomatively fight with the White House press corps, because the trolling aesthetic that dominates the digital world we're now locked into on a semi-permanent basis has also taken over the functions of government. It's never about the issue at hand, it's about the conflict: throw on your team's jersey and go to battle.
Anyway, Thursday's issue was reopening the nation's schools this fall, a scenario pretty much every living American is desperate to see for a number of reasons: kids are falling behind, including in ways that exacerbate existing inequalities; the social aspect of school is also important for children's development; for some kids, it's a vital place to get a meal; parents can't homeschool their kids and work from home effectively; teachers would rather be in a classroom than figuring out how to do their jobs in a whole new way all the time.
Nonetheless, we have completely mismanaged the pandemic in this country in a way no other major country has, except for perhaps our authoritarian fellow travelers in Russia and Brazil. It's hard to teach arithmetic when the schoolhouse is on fire. Some schools should be able to re-open, but for many in states like Texas and Florida and Arizona, it could be an extremely dangerous situation beyond anyone's control. But none of that phases Kayleigh McEnany.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on school reopenings:— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 16, 2020
"The science should not stand in the way of this.” pic.twitter.com/w6H9DM0uTV
Maybe this, rather than Just Say Anything, is the tagline for this administration: "The science should not stand in the way of this." That's certainly been their approach to things in general—the climate crisis, environmental protections, economics, the pandemic. McEnany went on to cite a study indicating children aren't at great risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, which is true, but they can get Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome. And she had the gall to pretend she cares about this as a mental-health issue.
Also, what about the teachers in this scenario? Do we throw these folks under the bus again—the people we occasionally laud for fostering the next generation—by forcing them to go back to work in these conditions? We already refuse to pay them a fair wage, or fund many of their schools properly. Now it's a job dangerous to their health? Will they get hazard pay?
But the real peach was when McEnany had the gall to quote some guy saying, "Everyone else in the western world, our peer nations, are doing it. We are the outlier here." Yeah, because we are the outlier in terms of completely fucking up our response to the pandemic. That's the whole point. Your boss is doing a terrible job, and it's derailing the lives of millions of people he putatively serves. Other nations—many without the vast resources of the United States—have brought the pandemic under control. Why haven't we? Why is our house on fire, but Germany's isn't? And now you're asking other people to run into the burning building.
Video: The last time a president was impeached
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