It’s more than eight months after the March 20, 2020 lockdown orders Gov. Gavin Newson placed on California. Most of the state is in a lockdown again, and we are now subject to a curfew, although no one can explain how that is going to “slow the spread.”
Every freedom that I enjoy feels impeded upon, and simple outings can lead to a storm of frustration as I feel like everyone around has been brainwashed to bend to Newsom’s COVID narrative.
I say Newsom’s COVID narrative because I’ve been back home to the Southeast five times this year, and the feeling and narrative are completely different there. I’ve been to wedding celebrations. I’ve dined indoors. Life goes on almost as normal with some masked people and some not. But not here. Here I get in verbal confrontations for walking my dog without a mask.
This summer, the choice was to stay home and do nothing, or brave the sweltering heat. Last summer, I would’ve gone to comb the aisles of Target to get a break from the heat. This summer my break involved sitting outside a coffee shop, dripping sweat, and breathing in large ash particles from the nearby wildfires.
The quality of life here has dwindled, and mental health has taken a hit. 2020 was the year I had to start seeing a therapist because every other coping outlet has been eliminated. I didn’t have the usual escape like a good workout class, a relaxing manicure, or church. Meanwhile, my Georgia family and friends congregated on beaches, enjoyed workout classes and luxuries like massages and pedicures, and life went on.
Newsom’s gross mishandling of COVID 19 and misuse of power is part of the cohort of western states who decided to form an alliance to maintain similar policies during COVID. Newsom is facing multiple lawsuits, from stylists and salon owners, parents who want their kids back in school, and judicial watch groups. He was recently sued for abuse of power and lost. Not that it did anything.
Early in the pandemic, he made the unilateral decision to spend $1 billion of taxpayer money on masks. His big spend on masks has led to nonstop posts from his social media accounts touting the importance of mask-wearing, enlisting celebrities to his cause.
His onslaught of propaganda ignores conflicting science on mask-wearing (some studies suggest it may even increase infection) and vilifying those who ever leave their house with a wish to breath unimpeded oxygen as they walk down the sidewalk alone. His obsession with masks has created an almost hostile environment in our neighborhoods and streets.
School closures are especially devastating in California, where the median home price is $552,000, and most households cannot afford not to have two working parents. Almost 20 percent of Californians were living below the poverty line pre-COVID, further highlighting that not working in order to provide schooling is just not an option because a roof over head is priority one for most families.
Parents are resorting to co-ops and other creative ways to keep working while their kids are kept home. His policies’ harms to our families and working-class people is beyond damaging.
While preaching that science and protecting vulnerable lives dictate his policies, Newsom incentivized nursing homes to accept COVID patients to free space in hospitals. Obviously, given the risk to advanced-aged people, this idea was reckless at best. He is also failing to acknowledge that the vast majority of COVID cases are traced back to in-home gatherings, which closing down restaurants and gyms does not affect.
Newsom’s most recent tyrannical overreach imposes a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, coming hot on the heels of him being caught at a dinner party of 12 different households, at a restaurant where one can expect to pay $500 per person, at least.
Newsom has made clear that life will not return to normal without a vaccine, even as the data becomes clearer to show that the risk of coronavirus for people under the age of 65 is quite low. Whatever the motivation for his policies is, it is definitely not the well-being of the people in California, whose average age is 36.7 years, an age range with a .02 percent chance of dying from COVID if they get it, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Newsom’s policies have cost the lives and livelihoods of thousands of workers while our counterparts in other states have not had to suffer the blows of the pandemic to the same extent as Californians in service industries. In California on a good year, it is hard to stay afloat because of the exorbitant cost of living. Take away thousands of jobs for good, and I can’t imagine the depth of the disaster that is brewing for this state that is already plagued with homelessness.
We suffer under Newsom’s authoritarian rule, yet we are so divided that we as a people are powerless to his every inclination. If we can’t unite, “plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize,” in the words of Killer Mike, then we have no hope of standing against this elected official whose government overreach and stray from science-based, logical recommendations knows no bounds.
I feel like we are on an island. When I see the governor’s decisions wreck lives while the people of this state just stand by and watch, it feels like we’ve been abandoned to suffer under his whims. He is just one man, but he has been given power over the lives of 39.5 million people.
We have no one stepping in on our behalf and saying enough is enough. We are our only hope, and in my community, I have seen very little pushback against his mandates that are killing businesses daily.
I have always loved California. But COVID California feels like a prison. Thankfully we have the occasional reprieve to the southeast where our family lives so we can have a small glimmer of normalcy. I’m not confident normalcy will ever return to California again.