By Craig Hastings
It’s early morning May 2 and I’m processing much of the information I’ve heard on various television and radio programs along with what I’ve read on the internet pertaining to COVID-19. Remember, May 1 was to be the big day for the state’s governors. Today each governor was going to put his/her own plan in place as to how their own state was going to reopen…or not. If you’re following this, it appears most governors have filled a bucket full of mud and thrown it at a wall to see how much might stick. It seems to me from the reporting around the country, few of these governors don’t know what they should do. Not one of them is sure they can legally impose any restrictions in their own states as it pertains to COVID-19. Many of them are being sued by not only state lawmakers but citizens groups within their own states. The elephant in the (room) Capital? Who and how are any of the governor’s proclamations, orders, declarations, directives, whatever they call them, going to be enforced. If enforced, will these be crimes, civil penalties, or sanctions imposed on businesses and or citizens?
On the topic of enforcement; many Sheriffs around the country, including our own here in Douglas County, have publicly stated they will only enforce the language that makes sense to them. I agree, as do most citizens. Behavior adjustments that fit in the metropolis areas may not fit in the corn and bean field landscapes of rural communities. Our Governors that are elected from the northern part of Illinois simply have not understood that Illinois has two entirely different populations of people that must be governed accordingly.
I’m not embarrassed if I’m looked at as a country bumpkin, dirt farmer, hillbilly, etc. by the elitist population of Cook County, Illinois. I don’t live in the fast lane of corporate business nor world trade ventures as part of my daily routine. I don’t ride up and down elevators in skyrise buildings on my way to board meetings and business lunches. I don’t have a driver pick me up and take me to work and then back home again. Back home again if I’m not needed to catch a plane at the infamous O’hare Airport enroute to another state or country to close a negotiated big business deal. No sir; Craig is a simpleton by every stretch of the meaning and comfortable with who I am. However that doesn’t mean I don’t believe my way and yours aren’t just as important as the men and women wearing $1000 suits and dresses to work every day.
Governor Pritzker, please slow down and read the populations of your state. If you do you will find and maybe understand the people and business communities in counties such as Douglas County are in a different chapter than those of Cook County, Sangamon County, and the East St. Louis area. Our needs are different. How our population moves about the countryside and conduct business are very much different than those from which you may have grown up.
I’m not cold hearted and uncaring about the death and misery that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. It happened and something similar will happen again. Each and every time this country will probably have to come to standstill until the people much smarter than me figure it out. Right now we all know what we have to do to avoid becoming infected. Just do what has been asked of you as it pertains to personal hygiene. It’s not complicated…stay clean and stay home if you’re sick! This virus doesn’t have arms and legs. It won’t chase you down the sidewalk. It can’t jump up on your car window, wait until you roll down the window, then jump in and up your nose! It won’t mix itself up in a batch of nuts and bolts, fruits and vegetables, or hide in a loaf of bread just waiting to climb in the corner of your eye or slip up a nostril. I swear some of the people I listen to think this virus is an enemy plotting and scheming how it will wipe out the human race!
My only panic right now is not seeing all of the employees of The Candy Kitchen, Joe’s Pizza, Cast Iron Pub, Ta Carbon, Monical’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Sol Del Mar, Mi Veracruz, and Denny’s back at work and earning the wages they deserve and need to be making right now. I believe the restaurant businesses and therefore their employees have been hurt the worst financially. Most other businesses here may have had to scale back the hours of some employees but not sent them home to wait for this to end. And this isn’t good either! I’m not minimizing lost hours! Guys and gals working in the restaurant business who are sitting home waiting this out…this community hurts for you. I certainly do. You deserved more than the $1200.
Here’s where my thinking is today and maybe for the next 180 days. Our governor should allow those Mayors willing to take this bull by the horns; draft their own business models for their own communities. Those mayors that would rather not, they can follow the Governor’s standards during this reopening phase. Those businesses that are out of the reach of the zoning regulations of the cities in the individual counties could be overseen by each county’s Health Department with the help of the Sheriff. If it would become necessary, I believe each city could draft enforcement ordinances as could each county to keep not only businesses compliant but also the citizens moving about in the county and city. I say all of this because I trust and believe that our Mayor, his administration, and the council members of Tuscola are experienced and talented enough to get our businesses back above water and prospering again and at the same time doing so safely!
Should the Governor discover a spread of the disease in our city and county or any others, then he could take back control from the Mayors, County Health Departments, and Sheriffs. This wouldn’t be much different than President Trump passing the buck to the Governors after realizing there was no way he could fairly oversee the entire reopening events of all the states and territories. If I was the Governor of a state, absolutely I’d be passing some of this responsibility off to other forms of government in my state if I could! That’s governing 101 right?! Pass the buck! Going forward let’s shop at home and shop in America!
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)