Mad about the pandemic? Don’t blame Gov. Wolf

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

Don’t blame Gov. Tom Wolf.

With COVID-19 cases rising again in Pennsylvania, Wolf surgically put the brakes on — closing some bars and limiting restaurant capacity in the state this week.

Yes, for those businesses, it stinks. But such locales proved to be the nexus of infection growth since the state partially reopened.

Don’t blame Wolf. For the most part, he’s gotten things right, balancing the needs of public health with the needs of the economy and managed to keep the death toll much lower than it might have been.

Unlike Florida, Texas and Arizona — among others — Pennsylvania resisted the mewling cries of GOP hack politicians and ethics-challenged business groups to reopen too broadly and too quickly. Most of us should be damn thankful, based on what we’re seeing in the states where COVID–19 is now out of control, that Wolf held firm.

How many of us would have gotten sick or even died had Wolf caved to these selfish knuckleheads? Wolf’s courage and tenacity save a lot of lives.

You want to blame someone? Blame arrogantly ignorant Republican state legislators who refuse to wear masks and constantly harass Wolf in the courts and keep passing legislation to end the state of emergency‚ which is like punching a hole in the bottom of the lifeboat keeping people alive.

My personal choice: State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. This raging ideologue (this is literally the kindest accurate thing I can say about the man) issued a statement Thursday demanding Wolf’s resignation:

“With each passing day the General Assembly Assembly and those we represent are gaining further momentum in pursuing your impeachment through House Resolution 915. Following the shame and struggles you have placed upon the state, we ask that you save us further strife by resigning on your own accord. Your further authoritarian dictates, as of yesterday, have only strengthened our resolve.”

Let’s be clear: Metcalfe and the lunatic fringe in the state legislature who back this play, including some from Chester County, are basically rooting for the COVID-19 to run rampant in Pennsylvania (see Texas — where I just got a bunch of warnings from my property in Nueces County of government shutdowns of public facilities, including beaches — and Florida, Arizona and Georgia, among others). Frankly, this isn’t far from having state legislators who would have demanded that Franklin D. Roosevelt resign for fighting the Nazis too effectively — or maybe more apropos with today’s Republican Party, demanding Lincoln quit for being so mean to the Confederates.

It’s pretty clear from here who should resign: those legislators.

You want to blame someone? Blame the willfully uninformed selfish idiots who won’t wear masks and spew false information about the dangers of infections.

You want to blame someone? Blame President Donald Trump. He failed to mobilize the federal government to be ready for the pandemic — we never had (or to this day, have) enough personal protective equipment (PPE), enough testing capacity, or the ability to contract trace. We never had a cohesive national policy. We had a president guilty of “magical thinking” saying first, it was contained, then that COVID-19 would just “disappear.” Trump claimed months ago that anyone who wanted a test could get one. They can’t in most places.

But don’t take it from me. Don’t even take it from Democratic elected officials. Take it from a Republican governor — one just across the border from parts of Chester County: Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland.

Hogan, in an Op/Ed in The Washington Post Wednesday, said states were left to their own devices as Trump dithered, completely unable or unwilling to meet the moment. Hogan had to use creative methods to get PPE — his wife is a Korean immigrant and used her connections to find PPE.

“This should not have been necessary. I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals. Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response. I did the best I could for Maryland,” Hogan wrote in The Washington Post.

Other Republican governors — and virtually all of the GOP members of our state legislature as noted above — were more interested in pandering to Trump and his followers than doing what was right to save lives and small businesses.

That is despicable.

And now the Centers for Disease Control has been cut out of the loop on statistics — so we literally can’t tell how bad things are getting (well, the dozens of pages of obituaries in Texas newspapers might be enough to clue us in).

The numbers tell the truth: the US has pretty much had the worst response to the pandemic in the world. Your US passport will now get you into just 24 countries because we have done so poorly in containing this virus.

So, no, don’t blame Tom Wolf.

He ain’t resigning. But I can think of a lot of elected officials who are going to be out of work come November because the people are paying attention.


I am glad to see that the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is finally taking a close look at the Indians mascot issue. I believe it is high time for a public discussion on the matter — and hopefully, use it as a teachable moment for the community, which largely seems to have sugar coated the history of what happened between the early Unionville settlers and the Lenape-Lenni tribe that lived along the Brandywine.

I have been working on an outside project focused on Hannah Freeman (popularly known as “Indian Hannah”) — and I can tell you from my research that the story of how the lands on either side of the Brandywine were transferred from the local native American tribe to the local settlers is not one to be proud about, frankly. Essentially, the lands (including where my house stands) were basically seized under a false narrative because the white settlers wanted them, natives — and the intentions of William Penn — be damned.

It’s a story that played out hundreds — maybe thousands of times – across North America. It’s not a legacy we should proud to embrace.

Additionally, the whole term “Indians” is problematic as Christopher Columbus misidentified where he was, wrongly thinking he had reached the subcontinent. As UCF has a population of Indian-American students, this makes the nickname even more problematic.

That having been said, I would welcome a robust, public discussion — even a community commission as suggested by Scott Cousins (Scott and I completely disagree on the change, but he is a smart person of high integrity who has made clear he would abide by any decision reached by such a commission).

One would hope that Octorara, Coatesville and West Chester are having similar discussions about their school nicknames.

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