Governor Mike Parson is a fine man who I have known for nearly 20 years. There is no reason for me to believe that his actions during this crisis — a crisis that has been made worse by government action on all levels — have been anything but what he believes is correct. But the data no longer supports decisions from a week or two ago. It is not what is needed by the state or the nation now!
Our current approach is destroying jobs, small businesses, and much more. We see the government continuing to operate without facing any of the same hard decisions that companies and small businesses are being asked or even mandated to make, like laying off or furloughing employees. It’s annoying to many Missourians who are being called on to sacrifice.
We don’t see government at any level facing the equivalent of closing schools without consulting other elected leaders for the rest of the academic year, taking away the final year for high school seniors and their rite of passage. If the state was genuinely facing a plague, this would be understandable and perhaps acceptable.
But it isn’t, and it’s not.
No one I know is advocating that we ignore the coronavirus and its implications. Social distancing and other measures can work without shutting down the state’s economy.
We have unelected bureaucrats calling the shots, and those we elect to represent us let them go unchallenged. When people realize the magnitude of the mess created, those elected officials will hide behind those “experts” and not accept the responsibility they were elected to take.
It will be up to us not to let them get away with that approach!
So, what can we do?
The state and local governments should rescind their blanket stay at home orders. The consideration for applying any quarantine needed should be limited to places that contain large numbers of affected Missourians such as our nursing homes and other similar sites. Quarantines or stay at home orders should apply to those who are sick or most vulnerable — not the general populace.
Implement social distancing scenarios that will provide for a level of safety yet allow businesses of all kinds to operate. One size doesn’t fit all.
Finally, we as individuals need to accept individual responsibility for taking the appropriate actions to ensure our own, our family’s, and our community’s safety and well-being. What it means is we should select to forgo certain activities rather than have the government mandate it.
Governor Parson issued a primarily mild stay at home order on April 6, set to expire on April 24. It should expire today.
It’s time to reopen the state again! It’s time to put Missouri and America back to work! The governor should override any local stay at home requirements.
It is clear, based on the data we now have, the “need” to shut down our economy was overstated and unnecessary. We can and should correct this!
Governor Parson, it’s up to you, sir.
End this shutdown of our state’s economy now.
Let’s put Missouri back to work!
Carl Bearden is the CEO of United for Missouri.