Please consider first reading Confessions of a Pro-Lockdown Conservative, the first part of this two-part series.
Months after all fifty states have begun their reopening process, it has become apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic is not going down without a fight. Some states have seen surges in new cases in the past several weeks, prompting some infectious disease “experts” to call for a second lockdown, even after the first wreaked irreversible damage to the nation’s economy and small businesses. The Governor of Hawaii David Ige (D), floated this possibility himself in a press conference a week ago. As someone who strongly supported the first lockdown, I am equally as opposed to there being a second. I believe the stay-at-home orders were necessary in the beginning to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve of rising cases and deaths. However, we cannot afford to repeat this cycle indefinitely into the future.
A few weeks ago, I started a job as a political consultant in New Hampshire, where I canvass door-to-door on the behalf of a few State Representative candidates endorsed by my employer. For the record, my new home state (well, temporary at least), is one of the nation’s most well-known battlegrounds – politics is its “state sport.” New Hampshire has a Republican governor and an entirely Democratic Congressional delegation. Hillary Clinton won the state by less than 3,000 votes. It is one of just three states rated as Even by the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), meaning that it has no clear leaning to the left or right. If anything, the “Live Free or Die” state is one of America’s last remaining outposts of pragmatic, moderate “centrism,” which seems to be dying practically everywhere else. So then, why is it that nearly every person I have spoken to while canvassing exhibits little to no concern about the virus?
I’m not in a conservative pocket of New Hampshire at all. Instead, I’m campaigning exclusively in deep blue Grafton County, which Clinton carried by a whopping nineteen points – easily her best result in the state. The political narrative would lead you to believe that the people in such an area would be clamoring for another lockdown, or at the very least, be afraid to venture out of their homes without a hazmat suit and a gallon of hand sanitizer. This is far from the case. Practically every person I have come in contact with has been friendly and welcoming. If anything, they have been more cheerful than usual and welcome the smile and conversation with a visitor. A visitor who is a stranger from out of state at that!
While filling out the canvass survey, I mark each household’s virus concern on a scale from one through five – one denoting upset, three signifying a normal response, and five meaning that the voters were happy to see me and thankful that I knocked on their door. At the time I am writing this article, I have been out in the field for five days and knocked on hundreds of doors. Out of all the people with whom I have spoken, I have gauged the vast majority to be at least in the “four” category, meaning that they had positive responses to my presence at their door. I have yet to find a single person with a negative response, as I have not marked any voters I have canvassed as a “one” or a “two.” My five refusals so far have all been because the voters were unwilling to discuss politics with strangers – not because of COVID-19.
My experiences in a liberal area of swingy New Hampshire have confirmed exactly what the mainstream media, Democratic politicians, and so-called COVID-19 “experts” don’t want to hear. The American public certainly does not want another lockdown. People across the political spectrum want to go back to work, albeit with restrictions when appropriate, such as the use of masks and social distancing. Like me, many of the voters I have met may have supported the first lockdown, but now want to return to some semblance of normalcy.
The stay-at-home-orders, designed to slow the spread of the virus, brought a barrage of side-effects. Not only did they stifle the economy, put tens of millions out of work, and prompted millions of small businesses to shutter for good, they also caused everyone to be alienated from friends and family. Because we are uniquely social beings, this in itself was a devastating blow to the mental health of each of us, regardless if we thought the lockdown was justified. After a period of months of self-isolation, it is only natural for human beings to crave interaction with another human so much that it really doesn’t matter who it is with. This is evident from the surprising number of voters I placed in the “five” category – the people who viewed my canvassing as a pleasant surprise. I guess they longed for someone to talk to, it didn’t matter that it was some random twenty-something from New York who they never met going door to door discussing a local political candidate about whom they had not yet heard
The initial lockdown already served its purpose. The curve has been flattened, and thousands of deaths have likely been prevented. Now it’s time to get the economy, which has been pushed to the brink of recession for the greater good, back on track. It’s time for people to actually be people again: going to work, school, beaches, and restaurants – of course with masks and hand sanitizers while remaining six feet apart to the best of our ability as humans.