“Think of what you’re saying
You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s alright.” — Paul McCartney
The concept of federalism has always been fascinating. It’s loosely tied to democracy, but even that is a stretch. When it works it works beautifully. Local leaders make local decisions that state and national leaders really don’t care about and shouldn’t care about. State and national leaders make decisions that local leaders probably don’t have the wherewithal to make. It really is a sight to behold.
On the flip side, there are lots of moments when this system just seems to bog down. I remember watching former governor Rick Perry fumble around during hurricane relief when he was tasked as being a go between with the federal government and local government. Bill White (the mayor at the time) got so exasperated that he told him to just stand in the corner while he worked directly with the federal relief people.
When it comes to a response to COVID, we are rapidly getting to that level of gross incompetence. The fact that the state actors are the ones again in the crosshairs shouldn’t be lost on anyone. The state level is dominated by Republicans while the local level has been dominated by Democrats. That alone is a good explanation for why things have gone awry.
However, that is a bit harsh. At least locally, Democrats and Republicans have worked together on disaster relief and never missed a hitch. So, it really isn’t a Democrat and Republican thing necessarily. It’s more likely that it is a state and local thing. Whatever the case, we can’t seem to get on the same page on the virus and people are getting confused. When they get confused they get frustrated and then enters chaos.
In a time when it would be great to have one unified voice of how to proceed we have voices on four different levels. We have the national government making rules and recommendations. State governments have virtually punted any response or responsibility. This is especially true for those that have possible 2024 aspirations. So, that leaves local authorities and or private businesses to pick up the slack.
My daughter had a volleyball tournament this past weekend. Except, they weren’t allowed to go. One member of the team had been exposed to COVID. So, the whole team was barred from coming. I think the tournament organizers really don’t understand what they were doing here. See, there wasn’t one player on the team that was exposed. There were multiple players exposed.
Kids on these sorts of teams go to multiple schools. Those multiple schools have multiple rules in terms of COVID and exposure. Some tell you if you have been exposed and some don’t. Some advise you to get tested when exposed and some don’t. Obviously, a lot of people know these rules and will be less than honest about their exposure. That’s especially true when you consider the consequences of reporting that exposure.
I’d have to imagine that if every team were following the rules to the letter there would be no tournament. So, in a roundabout way they were actually guaranteeing more exposure and not less. Obviously, the situation caused a lot of frustration for the girls and for their parents. Frustration leads to less cooperation and less following of the rules. I imagine that is not what we are after.
That’s just one isolated situation. Multiply that numerous times and you’ll get what we currently have. You get a situation where national, state, and local entities say three different things. Public and private entities say two different things. Multiply that by the number of private entities we deal with on a daily basis and the number of public entities we may deal with and you get a recipe for frustration and confusion. That’s for the people who are inclined to follow rules and recommendations in good faith. As we know, many people are not that way.
In that world it shouldn’t be surprising that some people won’t follow the rules and instead may resort to drinking their urine to fight back the virus. This is federalism problem, but it really is a problem where some people are not invested in finding solutions. Some people are more invested in making sure others fail. They want frustration. Frustration is a path to their electoral success. At least we are all on the same page as far as that is concerned.