Hey, Virginia Democrats, read the room.
Rather, read the country.
As Democrats in the Old Dominion lawyer up and throw hissy fits in a mad attempt to keep forced masking in schools, their counterparts in four blue states spent Monday merrily rolling back the mandates.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that mandatory masking would end in the Garden State on March 7. Connecticut’s Gov. Ned Lamont said he’d scrap school mask mandates on Feb. 28, although he’ll leave decisions up to school divisions. In Delaware, Gov. John Carney declared that mask mandates will be reversed on February 11, with school mandates ending March 31. And in Oregon — Oregon! — health officials announced that school mask mandates would be lifted statewide on March 31.
Coincidence? Not a chance.
These Democrats can read a room. The polling on mask mandates must be atrocious. They know that the November mid-term elections are going to be a bloodbath for their party if forced masking of kids — the most visible sign of gubernatorial overreach — stays in place through the 2022 school year.
Why would any Democrat want to campaign as part of the party that closed schools at the behest of teachers’ unions and then kept kids in masks months longer than most other states?
Heck, Murphy nearly lost his election in New Jersey last year in large part over school issues.
So, why are Virginia’s Democrats fighting GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order that repealed the former governor’s public and private school forced-masking mandate?
Three words: Youngkin Derangement Syndrome.
Dems are livid that they lost the top three jobs to Republicans last November, while also losing control of the House of Delegates. A big reason for the Democratic wipe-out was suburban anger over far-left school boards covering up sexual assaults, allowing porn in school libraries and teaching critical race theory. All of those issues came down to parental involvement in their kids’ educations.
Mask mandates were also part of that equation. Everywhere Youngkin went he promised to roll back Northam’s order mandating masks and let parents decide if their kids should mask-up to go to school.
When the new governor kept his promise, leftist school boards and disgruntled parents lost their minds.
Frankly, the left’s loathing for the new soft-spoken governor with firm conservative principles borders on fanaticism.
After two years of hibernation, the ACLU even emerged, filing suit on behalf of kids with disabilities, arguing that if the masks come off the healthy kids those children will have to stay home.
Ridiculous. Did they have to stay home during cold and flu season in the past, when no one in school was masked?
Where was the ACLU when kids with speech and hearing disabilities struggled because they and their speech therapists were forced to wear masks? Where was the ACLU when kids with learning disabilities lost an entire year of learning due to virtual classes?
This suit ought to be tossed out as unceremoniously as the one that was given the boot by the Virginia Supreme Court yesterday.
Do Virginia Democrats really want to campaign this fall as the party that resisted the national return to normalcy by fighting to keep masks on kids’ faces?
Actually, one Democrat is on the side of sanity: State Senator Chap Petersen, a Fairfax County Public School parent. He boldly challenged Ralph Northam’s executive orders in court during the last administration and he put Fairfax schools on notice yesterday. His three-page letter is at the bottom of this post, but here’s the money quote:
For the past two years, we have seen the lives of our children disrupted and destroyed by a pandemic that posed little, or no, threat to them physically. Too many decisions involving children have been dictated by political expediency. As a parent, I’ve had enough.
In 2021, the General Assembly solved the issue of school closures by ordering schools to reopen for in-person learning five days a week via the passage of SB 1303. We stepped in because school districts were failing to do the right thing for children. This is not just my opinion — it is reflected in the fact that the Virginia public schools, such as FCPS, had a record loss of enrollment in 2021, which has continued into the current year. Something is not right.
In the coming days, I will ask the Governor to either send down special legislation or amend existing legislation so as to end the Forced Masking of Children
We will pass that with a bipartisan majority and this sad episode will finally end.
Virginia Democrats who want to be on the right side of history would be smart to join Petersen and side with children. For a change.
This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.