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Iowa Democrat torches her Republican governor for re-opening businesses before it is safe to do so

Iowa Democrat torches her Republican governor for re-opening businesses before it is safe to do so

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It’s often hard to believe that membership in a political party can determine how a person is reacting to the coronavirus outbreak in this country, but the varying responses to how and when to lift social distancing restrictions and reopen businesses is proving to be a pretty reliable indicator of party affiliation.

A study by the Pew Research Center shows that Democrats take the health threats posed by the pandemic more seriously than Republicans do, with 78% of Democrats saying that the outbreak is a major threat to the health of the U.S. population as a whole, while only 56% of GOP respondents reaching that conclusion.

Republicans, on the whole, seem to to be more focused on the economic consequences of the extended business shutdown than Democrats as most of the states that are beginning to relax restrictions on businesses reopening have a GOP governor, mirroring the Pew Research studies of the opinions of people of opposing parties about the different measures instituted to stop the spread of the disease.

So it was not surprising to see the tweeted reaction of Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) to the move by Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to allow the opening of businesses and religious establishments— including many in which it will be quite difficult to maintain social distancing guidelines that medical experts still recommend.

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The responses to Representative Finkenauer tweet demonstrate that the partisan divide in attitudes towards the COVID-19 virus and the relative value of human life versus a healthy economy is still quite polarized.

Those Iowans who value science and human life over money face fierce pushback from the people for whom “give me liberty or give me death” will now prove to be more than just an abstract patriotic slogan from the history books.

If only their choice of individual freedom didn’t infringe upon their responsibility to prevent their behavior from causing harm to others with their thoughtless insistence on returning to pre-pandemic lifestyles prematurely and potentially spreading the virus — which is easily transmitted by people who show no outward symptoms of infection.

All the talk of food shortages, life savings wiped-out, small businesses shuttered forever, etc. won’t matter much if you’re one of the unlucky ones hooked up to a ventilator, in a coma, and struggling to breathe.

It’ll matter even less if you become one of the faceless statistics in the mounting daily death toll.

One opinion poll that would be even more interesting to see results from than the political party-based attitudes covered by the Pew research study is how people’s reactions vary if they know someone who has been infected with the virus, if they know someone who died from the pandemic, or if their only exposure is through watching the televised stories about the devastation it has caused in the areas hardest hit.

One can only hope that once the pandemic becomes personal for those misguided “freedom fighters” they will begin to understand that their responsibilities to others far outweigh their desire to go to the beach or the barber.

With state and federal tax revenues plummeting, perhaps a one time tax on the billionaire class is the payback that they should be eagerly willing to pay to thank the nation for the years of prosperity the rigged economic system in this country has granted them.

Just an idea, before “Eat the rich” becomes more than an abstract slogan and instead morphs into a survival strategy.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter

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