In the midst of a deadly pandemic, Gov. JB Pritzker saved countless lives by enacting a state stay-at-home order in March. The order may cost him the next election.
Citizens across the state are publicly voicing their animosity toward Pritzker’s safety measures this year.
Across McLean County and several other Illinois counties, residents display yard signs that read “Pritzker Sucks” in big bold letters. Some signs add an additional line: “Pritzker Sucks the Life out of Illinois Small Businesses.”
The slew of anti-Pritzker yard signs seems most prevalent in rural Illinois, where people rely on small family-owned businesses for most of their goods and services.
While the concern for the upkeep of small businesses in Illinois is a legitimate one, the people of Illinois should recognize the swift action Pritzker took in March and continues to take right now.
Several other states suffered from large outbreaks in the spring because their governors refused to shut down businesses and schools. Illinois did not go through the same turmoil that states like South Carolina, Florida and Georgia did.
Now that COVID-19 cases are rising quickly in Illinois, it seems likely that Pritzker will enact another state shutdown to slow the spread of the virus between residents.
This will not be fantastic for the economy, but Pritzker knows that. His family possesses billions of dollars in assets that must be managed interpretatively. If Pritzker specializes in anything, it is money.
Illinois residents need to look at a possible statewide stay-at-home order from a new perspective. Shutdowns may suck the life out of small businesses, but COVID-19 sucks the life out of real people.
As a capitalist country, the United States has a long history of valuing profitable economic decisions over decisions that benefit the people. For example, the government does not regulate pharmaceutical companies that raise prices on cheaply manufactured medications like insulin that many people need to survive.
Citizens of this country have grown up with and internalized the same priorities that the government has. The economy is often prioritized over governmental social programs.
While a booming economy is important to our success as a nation, the lives of citizens should be more important. Without healthy and happy citizens, the country will suffer.
A statewide shutdown may lead to financial hardships for some small business owners, but government-issued stimulus checks can lessen that burden.
For a governor in his first term, Pritzker is doing the best he can with the resources the state has. He may not have spent so much money on campaign ads in 2018 if he had known a pandemic like this was coming.
Pritzker continues to make important decisions that value people over profit, which is unexpected considering his upper-class background. He should be positively recognized for it.
Residents of Bloomington-Normal and the rest of the state should consider what is more important to them: the lives of the people they love or the success of the ideological economy?
Perhaps a new sign could be proposed that reads “Pritzker Sucks the Deadliness out of COVID-19.”
It’s not as punchy, but it describes the situation better.