On Tuesday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank laid into Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) and his decision to reopen large segments of the economy before the coronavirus pandemic has subsided, which — he wrote — could soon turn the state into "America's No. 1 Death Destination."
"Whether you’re going to heaven or hell, the old joke goes, you’ll have to change planes in Atlanta," wrote Milbank. "But Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing to offer a new nonstop service to the Great Beyond: He has a bold plan to turn his state into the place to die."
"Kemp, a Republican and an ally of President Trump, just called for the reopening within days of his state’s gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body-art studios, barbers, nail salons, cosmetologists, aestheticians, beauty schools, massage therapists, theaters, private social clubs and dine-in restaurants," continued Milbank. "Public health experts fear coronavirus will burn through Georgia like nothing has since William Tecumseh Sherman. But Kemp is making a big gamble that his constituents wouldn’t want to swap places with anyone ... as the Peachtree State remakes itself as the Petri State."
"It has been 88 years since Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis developed the idea of states serving as 'laboratories of democracy,'" wrote Milbank. "But even that great thinker probably couldn’t have imagined states serving as actual laboratories, experimenting with the spread of infectious diseases in their populations. Now several Republican governors, with Trump’s encouragement, are racing to reopen during the pandemic, using their constituents as lab rats to see what happens when you relax virus containment."
"Talk about poor modeling," wrote Milbank. "South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has opened many retail stores and lifted restrictions on beaches. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida will take reopening recommendations from a task force that includes Disney and Universal Studios. Texas, Tennessee and others are joining the race to become death destinations. But nobody is as far out there as Kemp."
"Kemp is not without guile. As Georgia’s secretary of state, he purged half a million names from voting rolls — then beat his opponent for governor by only 55,000 votes," added Milbank. "Now he seems to have embarked on a new purge: inducing his constituents to shuffle off this mortal coil."
The only thing Kemp could do to take things further, suggested Milbank, is throw a parade.
"As a promotion, Georgia could offer ventilators to the first 100 hotel guests to register (room service would offer supplementary oxygen at no cost to all others)," wrote Milbank. "Atlanta’s own Coca-Cola would sponsor festivities, using the new slogan 'Share a Coke with Covid-19.' The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra would perform a new variation on Berlioz, 'The Damnation of Fauci.' Trump and Kemp would lead a packed house at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena in burning their face masks the way feminists (apocryphally) burned bras and Vietnam War protesters actually burned draft cards."
"There would be no containing the excitement! It would be an unmitigated success!" concluded Milbank. "And Kemp’s experiment would go viral in truly historic ways."
You can read more here.