In a column posted earlier today Kerry Dougherty wondered if the GOP can successfully channel COVID frustration into electoral victory later this year. I proffer no predictions on election outcomes, but there are abundant signs that people are fed up. Nationally, that frustration helped boot Donald Trump from the White House. But Democrats are the party in power in Virginia, and public ire at lockdowns, the bungled vaccine rollout, and school closings likely will be directed at them.
Consider the brief rant of Brandon Michon, shown in the YouTube video above, against the Loudoun County School Board. “You’re a bunch of cowards hiding behind our children as an excuse for keeping schools closed. … The garbage workers pick up my freaking trash and risk their lives every day — more than anyone in this school system! Figure it out! … You know what? … There is a line of people out there who will gladly take your seat and figure it out. It’s not a high bar. Raising the freaking bar!”
Michon’s rant went viral (with a boost from Fox News). Frustration and fear appear to be turning into anger. Virginians have been coping with the virus for almost a year now. They understand that their leaders are dealing with complex issues involving hard trade-offs in the midst of significant uncertainty. But many have reached the point where, to paraphrase the immortal words of fictional TV anchor Howard Beale, they’re made as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.
Parents see their children getting a sub-standard education. They see their children are socially isolated and depressed. They know the “science” says schools are safe, assuming basic precautions are taken. They know that private school students are in their classrooms, and students and teachers alike are doing just fine. Public school parents are tired of excuses. Now they’re demanding of their school boards: Figure it out!