If May 18 was Christmas, the presents were sensible

May 20, 2020 | G. Michael Dobbs

So, if May 18 was like Christmas morning – full of anticipation about what we would get – then it was a very functional Christmas.

What the governor said about the structured re-opening of the Commonwealth was like one of those holiday packages from your well-meaning grandmother who lived through the Great Depression: white tee-shirts and black socks.

I know that most people who are grandmothers today did not endure the Great Depression, but mine did.

Those grandmotherly gifts were functional, practical and sensible, just as what Gov. Charlie Baker gave us.  The re-opening of the state is being done in a measured way.

As Payton North described in her front-page story, there are tiers and advancing to the next level is based on making sure cases of the virus don’t escalate with the opening of the state.

On paper, it’s a pretty austere board game. Milton Bradley wouldn’t have made much money with it.

And just like kids at Christmas some of us are comparing gifts. The news and social media are full of stories of people in other states going to bars, restaurants and the beaches as if none of this happened. The concept of state-rule and the differences between how states are run is in sharp contrast today.

Some of us may feel that we may have received the sensible gifts, but our classmates received ponies. Social media posts indicate a sense from some Bay Staters that it isn’t fair.

Many conservatives over the past 150 years have spoken about state’s rights. They have underscored the importance for the citizens of a state to determine the legislation that is correct for their culture. There is plenty of validity to this concept and is one that has made our nation what it is today.

Of course any student of history will tell you there are some things, such as civil rights for example, that transcend the “culture” of some states.

I realize there is criticism of Baker’s approach, especially when you realize that some states were very slow to close businesses, issue stay-at-home orders or ask people to social distance and wear masks. Some of those states are now dealing with spikes in the disease.

I understand the pressure. Many people are living paycheck to paycheck and have lost their jobs during the pandemic. They want to return to work and the unemployment insurance system has shown to be less than helpful.

Note to the governor: you really, really have to fix the system. It is broken.

I know there are people who believe Baker has been too cautious.  That’s not my opinion.

Some of my friends on Facebook have expressed Baker is too “left-wing” about the pandemic. Of course some of them believe the virus is just the common cold; a product of the Obama Administration; a tool being used by the Democrats to hurt the president’s reelection chances; and an experiment to control people by Bill Gates.

Everyone is entitled to one’s own opinion. The First Amendment is still in force. I just wish some were more based in fact rather than conjecture.

The sun is shining, temperatures are rising and folks want to feel normal. I do as well. We have to remind ourselves though the threat is still there and the precautions set in place are designed to protect us.

Don’t worry, a different Christmas with plenty of non-sensible presents is coming eventually.

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