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THE NEW DEALER: Our Governor is not the enemy, COVID-19 is

By TJ Hensley
The New Dealer

We are now in the tenth month of the coronavirus pandemic, which has changed nearly every aspect of life as we know it, both here in Harlan County, and around the world. This terrible disease has afflicted hundreds of thousands in our Commonwealth, and has killed more than two thousand, including twenty Harlan Countians.

I know that we have all, in our own way, felt the toll that this virus has taken. We have had to limit our interactions with one another; our coworkers, our church congregations, and even our own families, all with the expressed purpose of living out the command of scripture of “valuing others above ourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Out of a concern for the well-being of our neighbors, we have committed to wearing masks, social distancing, and participating in many events through online interactions or distanced gatherings. In the midst of our own efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus here in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear has been at the forefront of our statewide response.

From the onset, Gov. Beshear has been subjected to a great deal of undeserved criticism, even as he strives to best serve Kentucky during one of the darkest moments of our history. Since day one of this pandemic, he has proven the old truth that, in politics and in life, leaders lead from the front, and the Governor has demonstrated leadership of the highest order.

With the limited information he had on the coronavirus, he made the difficult decisions of pushing for necessary limitations on businesses, schools, and other areas of everyday life. Furthermore, he has done nearly everything in his power to help bring relief to business owners and workers who have endured economic hardship because of this pandemic.

It would be ridiculous for one to claim that the Governor has enjoyed having to call for these restrictions.

He is a son with elderly parents, and I am certain that he misses being able to be with them in person. He is a father, whose children attend school, and I know that he must wish that his children could attend school with their friends, in person, once again.

The Governor is also a man of sincere religious faith who, I am sure, desires to once again attend in-person services at the church where he and his wife serve as deacons.

Nevertheless, Gov. Beshear has not, for one moment over the course of his administration, thought of himself, his own well-being, or his own desires, as he made these decisions.

Every action he has taken, calling for virtual instruction in our schools and universities, the restrictions on bars and restaurants, and the mask mandates, have all been done out of his real concern for the health and well-being of his fellow Kentuckians.

However, certain individuals elected to state office would try to scare us, and divide us against one another, by circulating the absurd idea that Gov. Beshear is actively trying to take away our rights through the restrictions he has put into place. These same individuals have used every tool at their disposal to try and stop the Governor from protecting the health of our fellow Kentuckians; apparently, these individuals are more interested in furthering their own political ambitions than they are in working with the Governor to help protect our fellow Kentuckians during this pandemic.

My friends, the rapid spread and obvious severity of COVID-19 in our own county should remind us that this virus is not, nor has it ever been, a political tool. It did not disappear after the presidential election, as some claimed it would, and it is not going away any time soon. We should all rejoice and give thanks to God that several, promising coronavirus vaccines will soon be made widely available, but we must not lose sight of the fight in which we are currently engaged.

In that fight, a fight in which we have lost friends, family, and members of our community, COVID-19 is our great enemy, not Gov. Beshear. We cannot, and we must not, allow ourselves to be divided against one another. In doing so, we would only be aiding those state politicians who would try to make us believe that Gov. Beshear is our enemy, and for the sake of our Commonwealth, we cannot allow that to happen.

If we truly desire to make it through this pandemic, we should all join in prayer for Gov. Beshear. We should join in prayer for all of our leaders, at every level, that they would make every decision and take every action so as to protect the health and well-being of our fellow citizens. Most importantly, we must remember that Gov. Beshear is not our enemy, the coronavirus is.