Election Week 2020 Street Scenes #5: Open Schools Now

Political yard signs are not limited to actual yards in front of houses or windows, and the US has a long tradition now of people putting them up in public places, especially in median strips on roads or other comparable places.

One you’d never have guessed you’d see is this one:

This particular median strip got more crowded with political signs as time went by. If you’d shown this to someone in 2019, they’d never guess what the sign was supposed to mean.

“Open Schools Now” is a defacto political slogan, overlapping with national politics but not identical, though the two positions have grown closer over time as people rearrange themselves into familiar political boxes.

Schools in Arlington remain fully closed, as the Panic crowd demanded and, in retrospect, easily got. In August, there was a sign campaign demanding no opening at all until there were “fourteen days with no new cases,” which I’, sorry but is an insane position. It’s a respiratory/flu virus, people. What are you thinking? And elected leaders caved in.

(Schools never should have closed at all, not in March and not to the present. It was never an evidence-based or data-based position. It was purely a panic-based, emotion-based decision. The negative effects of this decision far, far outweigh any potential positives. This is my position, reached through analysis of the data. But if I’ve learned nothing else from other people in my time, it’s that most people don’t think like that — which is why it’s a good think public policy people generally do, to avoid constant disruptive panics.)

The Coronavirus Panic overlapped this year with regular political currents, but at least at first it didn’t fit previous division lines, so you saw people all over the place in their positions. The media drumbeat terrified people, putting the cart miles ahead of the horse because they never bothered to wait for evidence to come in.

Meanwhile, the “Open Schools Now” people are like figures out of the Twilight Zone, the kind of episode where the protagonist is the same and everyone else one day is different (“they were all like that,” Seinfeld said). Very few, early on in this virus panic, would have wanted schools closed for a full one and a half school years, as may now be the case.

So this “Open Schools Now” campaign seems hopeless, with the people in it, mainstream just months ago, are now cornered into looking like malcontents or perennial candidates for office, like the Clement sign behind the Open Schools Now sign. Clement is a perennial candidate and critic of the local one-party state of total Democratic Party machine control. She won’t win because most Arlington voters are transients (don’t know much about the local area, nor care) who vote straight Democrat.

Arlington is the kind of place where schools were shut down and have not reopened as of election week. It’s impossible to trust the media on Corona and all topics related to it, given their responsibility for frankly creating the Panic and leading the digital lynch mobs that demanded shutdowns. I don’t know if Open Schools Now is a position from which a candidate could win, if an election were a pure national referendum on it.

In April I started to sense that the November 2020 general election might be a partial referendum on Shutdowns/Lockdowns, and that prediction has turned out quite right. In simple form:

Pro-Shutdowns/Lockdowns, Vote Biden. Anti-Shutdowns/Lockdowns, Vote Trump.

It’s not that simple, but both candidates have made moves suggesting they are comfortable carrying that banner. The all-important question is which direction that pushes Pennsylvania and the rest of the key states that swung to Trump in 2016. Demanding schools stay shut indefinitely feels to me like it’s more like a Blue Bubble position, but it’s hard to say. It’s really not political, of course, but more personality based.

I must say, in any case, that I pity students and am glad I am not one just now.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *