By Wayne William Cipriano
Let’s talk about Central City.
Who is responsible for decision-making in times of trouble? The President? Sure. The Governor? Sure. The Mayor and the City council of Center City? Nope. Why? They tell us they have “no leadership from top” and so they are paralyzed.
But, you know, the Mayor and the City Selectmen are at the top of their political subdivision, Center City. They are voted into office by the citizens of Center City, and they are responsible only to the citizens of Center City – not to the President of the United States of America and those who voted him into office, not to the Governor and those who voted him into office (or however he got there) – only to the citizens of Center City.
And in times of trouble, what concerned them most? Was it the health and welfare of their citizens? Or was there another, more important consideration? In the face of a potentially wide-ranging epidemic, what did they do?
If Center City is locked down, closed up, sheltered in place, curfewed, home directed, or whatever phrase appeals to you, there is an economic impact. When do they close local businesses and other congested municipal areas of Center City? Do they do so before that epidemic threat shows up? Do they forcefully protect Center City citizens with a preemptive order or do they wait, keep Center City open, protect some business interests for the moment? Do they wait until no cases become one case? Or two? Or a dozen? Do they wait until some less important citizens become infected, perhaps those in nursing homes for example? After all, IT is not here yet. Not yet.
Is it better to wait until IT arrives and then take steps to slow IT down, contain IT, bet some treatment, come cure will be found for IT? Maybe the elected officials of Center City sacrifice the health of a citizen or a few – maybe those citizens won’t get IT too badly. And then a few businesses can operate for a few more days, employees get a few more days of pay.
If they close Center City, much financial damage occurs to the business owners. Much inconvenience to those who trade with those businesses. People remember. After the threat of IT is gone people remember the money they lost, the stuff they were prevented from buying as Center City locked down to withstand IT. And people vote.
What becomes of the Chief Executive and the City Burgers when that vote takes place next time? Do the voters remember how they evaded IT? Do they begin to think IT would not have shown up or wasn’t all that bad? Are they moved by the money they lost and the inconvenience they suffered? Did those elected in Center City over-react? Under-react? Who can tell what voters will do, what they remember?
But, I’ll tell you this about the LAST election in Center City. If the City Leader and the City Legislature had run on platforms promising in the times of serious danger they would actively support business interests over the possible detriment of Center City citizens’ health, the votes might have been close but I think I can guess how they would have gone. But then politicians seldom tell that much truth.
By the way, a day or two after its elected officials decided to keep Center City open and risk its record of no present infections, the Governor shut down the entire State, after having waited until more than 80% of the other states had done so. Too early? Just in time? Way too late? What do you think?
As this is being written the President of the United States of America is still considering his options country-wide.