One Man’s Opinion – Franklin Roundtable Board Member Richard Arena comments on the “reopening” of Georgia

One Man’s Opinion

By Richard Arena

Ever since Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp began a process of gradually easing restrictions on the categories of businesses allowed to be open, there has been much angst flying about social media about it. Given the current hyper political divide in America, no doubt some critics would oppose any decision by this governor. On the other hand, I have friends whom I know to be critical thinkers that object to his decision not out of political animus, but on genuine concern that easing restrictions will spike the rate of infections and death.

I agree with the governor’s decision despite the fact that I expect my critical thinking friends are right. The infection and death rates will increase. Some may think that is cold and heartless, but from my perspective there is no easy way out of this crisis. Kemp is like a battlefield commander who knows their decisions will cost the lives of a certain number of soldiers. Battlefield commanders’ decisions are not based on whether some of their soldiers will die or not, but on how to win the battle with a minimum of casualties. This is the circumstance Kemp and other political leaders face today!

The ultimate “defeat” of Covid-19 will not occur unless and until an effective vaccine is distributed to about 80% of the population. Estimates by those “in the know” project that it will be a year to 18 months before a vaccine is available. The problem Kemp and other governors, mayors and the president face is, if the present level of quarantine is maintained until then, the economy will collapse – no if, and or buts about it. The government cannot sustain supporting an unemployed majority. If the American economy were to collapse, such as it did during the Great Depression, millions would die – many of starvation. For the survivors, life would be chaotic, cold, hard and bitter. Millions would be homeless. If you don’t think that would happen or refuse to even consider it, you’re in state of denial.

To those who sincerely object to Gov. Kemp’s decision I ask: Given the options, what would you do were the burden to be on your shoulders? Would you let the state’s economy completely collapse? Would you be willing to be responsible for breadlines and millions of unemployed becoming homeless vagrants wandering in search of work as happened during the Great Depression? Or would you choose, as Kemp has, to begin a process of gradually restarting businesses so most people will soon be back at work thus preserving the abundant lifestyle for the great majority who survive the pandemic?

As I said, no easy choices.

Richard Arena is a member of the Franklin Roundtable Board of Directors and lives in Roswell, Georgia.