Editorial: One issue doomed Dan Forest

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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Remember all of those pundits who said the coronavirus would be gone after the election.

It isn’t.

And it doesn’t matter who wins or won what election.

This virus ain’t going nowhere without our help.

But those pundits were right for a few days – sort of. The virus wasn’t the top billing on national television news. Who would expect it to be with a presidential election as close as this one? Even a pandemic takes a back seat for a short while.

But it didn’t stay in the back seat for long, did it?

The number of folks in Davie County with the virus is climbing way too fast. The number of Davie County folks who have died with the virus is way too high. If you don’t know anyone who has died or become severely ill with the virus, consider yourself lucky.

Yes, it’s up to us to stop it.

You can hate Roy Cooper and still follow the guidelines he recommends. It’s a virus, for goodness sake. It’s not that hard to figure out how to slow the spread. It will take some sacrificing, but to beat it, we’ll all have to sacrifice some. And some of us will have to sacrifice more than others.

Are the shutdowns putting people out of work? Yes. Are the shutdowns causing thriving businesses to shut their doors for good. Yes. Did Cooper’s handling of the coronavirus help get him reelected? Possibly.

More than likely his reelection was based more on what his opponent did. Dan Forrest campaigned on reopening the economy. A grand idea, but what else did he regularly offer in pleas to the general public? Not much.

And this was happening as people were learning about friends and neighbors who were dying, isolated with no loved ones in sight. It was happening as voters saw friends and neighbors in the hospital, fighting for every breath. They knew of other friends and neighbors isolated in their homes because they had been in contact with someone with COVID. The thought of opening up the economy regardless just didn’t make sense to enough voters.

Not that it’s a bad idea. Things could be open, almost every business could be open, if we took personal responsibility for our own behavior. But we don’t. And to be honest with you, our business world can’t be trusted to do just that. Small businesses could, because they easily see the relationship between customers – especially repeat customers – and the business. Both sides must be healthy for the business to thrive and the customer to be happy. But the larger businesses? Those are looking at profits and not much else.

So, do your part to help slow the spread of the virus. It doesn’t make you less of a man to wear a mask in public. It doesn’t make you less of a Republican to avoid gathering in crowds – especially with people you don’t know. It doesn’t make you less of a Christian to worship at home.

Mask wearing and business shutdowns – whether you agree with them or not, and there are good arguments on both sides – should not be considered political. That’s where Dan Forrest made a big mistake. Remember, 33 percent of the 7 million or so registered voters in North Carolina do not align themselves with the Democratic or Republican parties. That’s right – 33 percent. They could care less of the perception that Democrats were going to shut the economy down or the Republicans were going to open it up.

The result – another four years of Roy Cooper.

But Donald Trump won North Carolina, right? Yes he did, which means that a good number of those unaffiliated voted for Mr. Trump. They were smart enough to see beyond Mr. Trump’s narcissistic behavior and compare it to the opposition.

Voters across the country – especially in the major metropolitan areas – thought differently. I don’t think they were voting for Biden and Harris as much as they were voting against President Trump.

But it’s a new day. And the virus ain’t going nowhere unless we all do our part. Forget politics, and use what God gave you. Common sense.

– Mike Barnhardt