The Jan. 6 insurrection continues, and as The Former Guy and Republicans incite rage across the nation, GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin leads the effort in Virginia. He encourages the Big Lie, pledges to turn Virginia’s schools into pits of disease and ignorance, and spreads falsehoods leading to violence toward school boards and public officials.
My statement is no exaggeration. A personal hero of mine, Sondra Myers, a senior fellow at the University of Scranton, wrote in a letter to the Scranton Times-Tribune:
“We have reason to be frightened as he [Donald Trump] builds his team for another insurrection and another presidential run. His weapons are what has come to be called ‘the big lie’ and violence. Our weapons are the law and the vote.”
Republicans have embraced lies, death, and violence. The lies range from rejecting valid election results, undermining American democracy, to using critical race theory to stoke racism and hate. Republican violence is accelerating from Jan. 6. It has reached local school board meetings, and Republicans attack police officers and government officials, causing many to fear for their lives. Then, there are deliberate attempts to refuse vaccinations, masks, and other proven public health measures. Why? Because Republicans would rather spread death and disease than admit they or TFG are wrong.
A recent Washington Post editorial declared that Youngkin is unfit for office. With the nation in peril, instead of standing for the truth, he “chose to dignify a fundamental fiction [The Big Lie] that is subverting our system.” Integrity matters to good government. Leaders make mistakes but those with integrity and character can admit and correct their errors. The absence of integrity, as seen under the Trump regime and in states like Texas and Florida, results only in chaos, dishonesty, and failure.
Thanks to successful leadership, Virginia has weathered the pandemic well. The state was the first to pass permanent workplace coronavirus rules. When Gov. Ralph Northam observed his voluntary stay-at-home orders and restrictions were being ignored, he acted quickly, issuing mandatory orders. He closed schools and took other measures to help reduce the death and suffering of citizens. Virginia’s actions saved lives. As of Oct. 22, Virginia ranked 39th in per capita death rates, far lower than most southern states. But Youngkin opposes every step taken by Virginia. Instead, he advocates the voluntary policies proven so deadly in other states.
With Youngkin as governor, your children will not be safe in school. No one will be safe in hospitals or at work. Against all factual evidence, Youngkin doesn’t feel that COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone should be mandatory. Terrified of losing Trump support, Youngkin would rather allow more Virginians to sicken and die. “As governor, Youngkin will work hard to partner with local authorities and private organizations to inform every Virginian about the benefits of the COVID vaccine so that they are empowered to make the health care decisions that are best for them and their families,” said Matt Wolking, a campaign spokesman.
This isn’t leadership; it is cowardice.
Besides pledging to turn Virginia’s excellent school system into pits of disease, Youngkin follows the GOP’s lead as they incite rage and violence across the nation. According to the Associated Press: “In a speech in Northern Virginia’s suburbs last week, the Republican candidate for governor highlighted the murky case of a student who allegedly committed sex crimes in two area schools. He said the incidents, which have sparked community outrage, are the result of failed Democratic leadership. ‘What other tragedy awaits Virginia’s children?’ an atypically grim-faced Youngkin asked from the podium, flanked by a collection of parents and schoolchildren.”
Youngkin’s remarks concerning a school-age criminal attacking two students are designed to make Virginia teachers and students feel unsafe in our schools. Youngkin and like-minded right-wing extremists feel entitled to threaten public officials. Rather than condemn violence, Youngkin actively spreads demands and disinformation that contribute to attacks on school boards and law enforcement.
Glenn Youngkin is a classic extremist Republican, only one with an appealing face and nice suits. His agenda is the same as Trump’s: to sow chaos and reap benefits for himself and his friends. Meanwhile, our children and public officials will not be safe from disease or violence.
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