Six months ago, Republican Jim Jordan was asked about Covid-19 vaccinations. The Ohio congressman responded as if the pandemic was old news unworthy of ongoing discussion.
“Look, I think we’re way past this,” the far-right lawmaker said. “I think the country is ready to move on and we’re done with this, but you guys just keep wanting to talk about it.”
In context, “you guys” seemed to refer to journalists, who continued to cover the ongoing public-health crisis, to Jordan’s apparent frustration.
Yesterday, as HuffPost noted, he pushed a similarly misguided line.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) declared Thursday that “real America” is done with COVID-19 ― a day after the first case of the new omicron variant was found in the U.S. and as coronavirus infections rise around the country, including in his own state. “Real America is done with #COVID19,” Jordan tweeted, ignoring data, experts and reality. “The only people who don’t understand that are Fauci and Biden.”
Let’s note for context that Jordan is currently a member of the select congressional panel investigating the coronavirus crisis and the federal response to the pandemic. He is, in other words, in a unique position to understand the seriousness of the current situation, with exceptional access to data, officials, research, and evidence.
And yet, here we are, watching Jordan peddle unfortunate nonsense.
Part of the problem here is with the Republican congressman’s blithe indifference to ongoing events. Tens of thousands of Americans are currently hospitalized as a result of Covid-19 infections. The pandemic claimed the lives of a thousand Americans yesterday, and we’re likely to see similar numbers today, tomorrow, and the day after.
Whether Jordan understands this or not, these Americans are “real,” and while I’m sure they and their loved ones would love to be “done with” Covid-19, they’re confronting a tragic reality anyway.
Also note the degree to which the GOP lawmaker seems to think a nation can simply grow bored with a deadly contagion. We’re “way past” the pandemic. We’re prepared to simply “move on” as if the crisis has passed. Those who are “real” are “done” with Covid-19.
It’s as if Jordan sees the public-health emergency as a fad that Americans can collectively grow tired of.
That’s not how any of this works. Pandemics don’t end as a matter of will. Wishing a crisis to be over doesn’t make it so.
There’s also a curious political contradiction for which there is no obvious solution: If “Real America is done” with Covid-19, why is it that so many of the congressman’s GOP colleagues are eagerly trying to blame Democrats for the pandemic that Jordan has grown tired of talking about?
Finally, I’m curious about Jordan’s vision for the near future. If the Republican is right, and “Real America is done” with Covid-19, what does that mean in practical terms? Does he envision a national landscape in which “real” people simply pretend the crisis is over?
Because if so, a lot of “real” hospitals are going to overflow, a lot of “real” morgues are going to fill, and a lot of “real” families are going to suffer horrible losses.