Open Virginia. Open Casket.

In the middle of quarantine-induced boredom, I decided to check my email for the 40th time. I did a double take. How did this get in my mailbox? Surely this was Satire. Surely Trevor Noah was behind this.

No, it was too diabolical. Colbert maybe? Nope. Sadly, I was wrong.

It was a chain email from Matt Waters, executive director of the The Virginia Project (a State PAC and an arm of the Republican Party) demanding that Virginia open ASAP, arguing that there are, “No provisions under the Constitution to allow governments to shut down the business of citizens, and force them into their homes, to limit the purchase of firearms by declaring gun stores “non-essential,” or to limit the assembly of citizens […]”

So I guess “protect the general welfare” being one of the duties of the American government means nothing? Oh, well. I chalked it up to more Tea Party spittle. Until I tuned into John Fredericks the next day to hear the ONLY Republican candidate for Governor and cartoon 2nd Amendment stereotype Amanda Chase saying she would lead a Small Business Revolt to “open up” Virginia. Here we go.

Now, this is the same Amanda Chase that once “implored” her base (who she accused of not listening) to take COVID-19 seriously. She decided to not listen to herself either. Sen. Chase is spewing fear, falsely saying the Governor is going to keep businesses closed till August, for partisan reasons. A “very stable genius” she is not. Amanda Chase, who thinks supporting the 2nd Amendment means intimidating other colleagues by remaining strapped in a place of work, also wants to be MSNBC-level stereotypical and not believe in science either.

But like COVID-19, bad ideas and ignorance spread quickly – no one is safe.

This virus was passed from Matt Waters to Sen. Chase to the freakin’ Wall Street Journal, that is pushing for a call to reopen the economy. And Trump seems to have caught the itch, too, calling for a plan to reopen, possibly by May 1. It’s like they are begging for people to say Republicans care more for businesses than people.

Look, I get the underlying impulse. We all do. The economy was roaring along before the virus got to our shores from Wuhan. People have to get back to work. Families depend on it – the world depends on us. I am a teacher – the gap in learning and growth in our children from the age of Corona will be felt for years to come in our data.

I am getting married in June – or supposed to be – so of course I want this over! Depression is creeping in. We can’t see our family or friends. We are getting cabin fever. The economy, for the good of the world, needs to get up on its feet.

But we still need to listen to science and data. The economy will quickly recover, but our way of life will not. Things can’t just get back to normal. Political points before an election are not worth Virginian lives – American lives – human lives. A political party that prides itself in being “pro-life” cannot then turn around and root for people to attend church and potentially get others sick, because of some perverse interpretation of repping religious freedom.

To paraphrase Jesus, it’s okay to pray in your closet. A party that is “pro-life” can no longer call itself protectors of babies when babies can be infected and die because you want to go to a brewery. A party that is “pro-life,” that is now sadly overwhelmingly elderly, if they adopt these impulsive cries and pressure the President, will be responsible for killing their base.

Good luck winning Florida ever again.

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