Analysis: This Republican governor just compared kids going back to school to killing Osama bin Laden  08/13/2020 20:55:12 

"Martin County Superintendent Laurie Gaylord told me she viewed re-opening her schools as a mission akin to a Navy SEAL operation. Just as the SEALs surmounted obstacles to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, so too would the Martin County School system find a way to provide parents with a meaningful choice of in-person instruction or continued distance learning.

"All in, all the time."

Uh, no.

Look, there's no question that the decisions being made by administrators, parents and politicians as to whether kids should return to school amid the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic is a very, very tough question -- with good people on all sides of it. There's a public health argument. An economic argument. An educational argument. And on and on and on.

But none of this is in any way comparable to a group of Navy SEALs killing bin Laden. Like, at all.

I guess what DeSantis was going for was the idea that even after one of the helicopters crash-landed during the raid on bin Laden's compound, the SEAL team still kept going to finish their mission. And so, even as there are all sorts of challenges to sending kids back to school, Florida is going to overcome those obstacles to make sure parents have the choice between in-person and virtual learning? I think?

It's just a terrible comparison, though. Like if I was late to work because of an accident on the Beltway and said: "Just as the SEALs surmounted obstacles to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, so too did I find a way to get to work today."

Or if my flight got canceled but I took another one and I said: "Just as the SEALs surmounted obstacles to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, so too did I find a way to get to Atlanta."

Right? Right!

DeSantis' comparison comes amid go/no-go decision made by school districts across the state of Florida. At an event earlier this week in Hillsborough County, which last week voted for only virtual school for the first month of school, the governor dismissed health concerns by offering this: "Nothing's risk-free in life."

Which, again, true! But there's a big difference between adult men who have signed up to be SEALs taking on a mission they know to be hugely dangerous, and kids (and teachers and parents) going back to school without the science on this virus being totally worked out just yet.

In his handling of Covid-19 in his state (and in most other things too), DeSantis appears to be taking his leadership cues directly from President Donald Trump.

"I want to get the schools open," Trump told Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning. "They should be open. The children, if you look, statistically it's incredible how strong they are. Their immune systems, they're incredible. We have to get our schools open."

Which, well, OK. But even Trump didn't go as far as to compare the effort to offer in-person learning to the operation to kill bin Laden.

Even Donald Trump, Governor DeSantis.

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