SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There’s an adage that goes: Lead, follow or get the heck out of the way. Unfortunately for Georgians these past several weeks, Governor Brian Kemp has done none of those things.
He certainly hasn't led us through this pandemic crisis the way other governors have, most notably Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. DeWine, who like Kemp is a republican, was very quick to pull the trigger on shutting down events, creating stay at home orders and he was open to any other reasonable plan aimed at mitigating this disease in his state. And it’s working.
Ohio, which has two million more people than Georgia and several more metropolitan areas, has both half the cases and half the deaths that Georgia does, and that stat is only likely going to get worse for us.
Governor Kemp also decided not to follow the lead of the mayors and leaders of municipalities who he urged to put measures in place to protect their own communities. The governor had said for weeks that it was impossible for him to create a blanket order for the state, since the needs were really community by community. Did Albany need the same order as Statesboro? So frustrated mayors and town councils did what the Governor wouldn’t and began taking action that was best for the health wellbeing of their communities.
So, what does Kemp do? Instead of staying the heck of the way, late last week he did just the opposite. Signing an executive order that undid any progress that had been made. Businesses and beaches that had been closed are now able to reopen, under the threat that if any leader tried to stop it, they could get arrested and or fined.
Consider this: our health and wellbeing should not be a political football. Governor Kemp has fumbled the ball every time he had a chance to go on the offense during this pandemic. And now that some leaders like Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and Tybee Mayor Shirley Sessions are having success, he now wants to change the rules.
Where this political fight will end remains to be seen, but the good news is we are all able to still chart our destiny. So, when it comes down to deciding what you want to do out in the public, do what Governor Kemp has time and time again failed to do; employ common sense.