They are ALL our children

This week, some of the more extreme conservative politicians in Northeast Kansas banded together to push their profits-over-public-safety agenda using children as human shields. Have you seen the hashtag #letthemplay being bandied about? Here's the story.

Since the start of the pandemic, extremist conservatives have decried public safety measures that required closing businesses, limiting gatherings, and wearing masks. Even from the beginning, they applied their efforts to undermine public health officers, and even the President encouraged people to not wear masks. Extremists in the Legislature took the Governor's pandemic-related oversight away, handing decision making to counties instead, and only a handful of counties have required masks in public.

As a result, the coronavirus has remained unchecked, and all that freedom we saw in Statehouse meetings, Memorial Day lake trips, graduation parties, and 4th of July gatherings have resulted in increased infection rates.

Last week, Johnson County health officers determined that infections are above a safe level for returning to school in person. Dismayed by this result, and undeterred by facts, science, or common sense, the extremist politicians have begun to prey upon concerned parents, feeding them flawed science, incomplete facts, and happy platitudes. "Let the children play sports," they have told parents, and those parents have understandably taken up the cry. Why? Because this pandemic is a mess.

We all know children need to be in school. We know children learn better in a classroom. We know children need to exercise. We know children need to socialize with their friends.

But we also know children have died from COVID-19. We know children, even high schoolers, are terrible mask wearers. We know masks curb infection rates. We know teachers can catch it, even if children supposedly resist it. We know families catch it, even if kids show no symptoms.

We know there is no cure, no vaccine, no miraculous treatment with pool cleaner or sunlight.

The world is different now, no matter how much we wish it weren't. No matter what a politician tells you to make you feel better.

Let them play? How about we help them—not just our own kids, but all of them, their families and communities, too—make it out of this together? The President said we were in a "war against this virus." Don't Americans pull together in times of war?

The essence of extremist conservatism in this country, and in Kansas, and in Johnson County, is a selfish disregard for others. This is bandied about as "freedom" and "liberty." The Mainstream Coalition, in our founding principles, declares we will "protect the rights, beliefs, and freedoms of all individuals." But not when your supposed freedom harms others.

Government exists to serve everyone, not just those who voted for the current seat warmer. Extremists don't subscribe to that. Conservatives coined "trickle-down" as a term to comfort those they never planned to help, assuring them that helping businesses, donors, and the privileged would eventually help everyone else. It was a lie in the Reagan era, and it remains so today.

Keeping school doors closed is not an attack on our freedoms, it is protecting all of us. It's not a "power grab" as these bravo politicians would have you believe, but a prudent exercise of authority already given. Keeping schools remote protects all of our children.

Don't like it? We encourage you—all of you—to vote on November 3rd.

Then, do more than vote. Get involved with Voter to Voter, our nonpartisan, effective, and easy peer-to-peer get out the vote program, run by The Voter Network.

Thank you,

Danny Novo
Communications Director

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