I was in my car listening to the Iowa men’s basketball game on the radio the other day. We don’t get out much these days due to the pandemic. What little outings we do take usually involve diving to a fast food drive through, getting a meal to eat in the car and then go home. This is a far cry from the old days a whole year back.
Anyway, I was listening to the basketball game. I was thinking that for these young men, playing basketball during the pandemic could be a bad decision especially in Iowa where the directions from the governor have been erratic at best with seemingly little thought of what effects the governor’s directions will have other than ‘will it hurt business. We don’t want to hurt business in any way.
There was a time out and the first commercial was a public service announcement from some “Governors Council.” I believe it was “The Governor’s Council On Traffic Fatalities” or something like that. It was a strong message on just how important wearing seat belts was. Strong message. Few people ever buck the seat belt mandate anymore. Most people refuse to start their cars until all passenger belts are secured.
When the seat belt laws were first passed back in the early 70s (I am guessing) I remember some folks whining about having to wear a belt. But statistics were kept and it quickly became obvious that wearing a seat belt gave a person a much better chance to get out of an accident alive. Not wearing a seat belt could be a death sentence even in a small accident.
I had no idea how many folks died in car accidents in Iowa last year, but based on the strength of the message I figured it must be high and headed up. As soon as I got home I googled ‘traffic fatalities in Iowa 2020.” Thousands maybe? Nope – 337. About one a day. Much better than I guessed. Still that meant 337 people were missing from the dinner table, but frankly not a bad number.
This contrasts in a huge way with the number of coronavirus deaths in Iowa. In less than a year Iowa has lost 4,500! Four thousand five hundred! I figure about 300 days for us to lose 4,500 Iowans and that is an average of 15 per day. Nearly 15 times what we lose to traffic accidents! Gee it would sure be nice if there is something simple we could do to lessen such a huge loss like wearing seat belts.
Turns out there is. Wearing masks to block viruses being exchanged actually works! Predictions from late October that still seem to be on track showed that as many as 25% of projected deaths through this February could have been avoided. 25%! In this case as many as 130,000 of the expected 500,000 deaths could have been avoided!
Surely our political leader here in Iowa would immediately mandate masks know what a huge effect they had on stopping deaths! Nope, not at all. The prospect of possibly saving 150 Iowans from dying from coronavirus in the next couple of months is enough to move our delusional governor. Somebody’s “freedom” from wearing a mask should stop at my freedom to be able to breath somebody else’s diseased air.
Another fine example of twisted Republican logic is the push to take public education money and give it to “private” schools. This is an idea that has been kicked around for a long time. Back in my youth in my private (Catholic) school education, private schools did not want money from the state.
We all knew that the money from the state would eventually be followed by rules on how that money could be used. Thus the whole reason for being “private” was to be able to determine your course. In the end there were tests to pass. How you got there was up to the schools.
That has flopped 180 degrees. Today’s private schools are more likely to be evangelical. Many decades back they threw their lot in with the Republican Party. Like other donors and adherents to the Republican Party, they expect payback. In this case instead of giant tax cuts o the rich, to will be money for their schools.
Money that will flow to the private schools will flow FROM public schools. I for one (along with millions of others) have a problem with my tax dollars paying for private schools. For one thing, that little clause in the first amendment – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” means that public money should not favor any religion but should stay out of religion. I do not want my tax dollars for public highways building private homes or roads for the rich. The same goes for my tax dollars for education.
Let me add a little warning for those who are involved with the private schools and who think they will be scoring some big bucks for their personal version of “the truth” and some approval of their version of “the truth.” Those taking public money and giving it to you will not be in office forever. When they change the next version may want to tell you how to run your schools and you will lose your autonomy. Or they may decide the whole deal was unconstitutional and want their money back.
But I can almost guarantee that what looks like some easy money today will bite you in the ass down the road.
Louisiana did nearly the same thing a couple of years ago. The first schools in line with their hands out were private Muslim schools, not Christians. Surprise!