Youngkin Kicks Off VA Governorship By Pretending Racism And COVID Don't Exist
This should go well.
Newly minted Virginia Governor Glen Youngkin celebrated his first day in office on Saturday by signing a total of 11 executive orders, some of which are fine, several of which are quite ridiculous, one of which is ... suspicious.
Among those that are fine: starting an investigation into why a Loudoun County teen who sexually assaulted another teen was simply transferred to another school where he then sexually assaulted another teen; establishing a commission on anti-semitism in Virginia; firing the entire state parole board for not properly notifying victims when violent offenders were released; establishing the office of Commonwealth Chief Transformation Officer, whose job it will be to make the DMV and the Virginia Employment Commission less terrible.
But Youngkin couldn't just fire off a series of non-offensive, whatever, generally bipartisan executive orders. He had to get creative with it. Which is why the very first executive order he signed "banned critical race theory in schools" despite the fact that there is no evidence it is taught in Virginia schools nor any evidence at all that Glen Youngkin can define it.
Inherently divisive concepts, like Critical Race Theory and its progeny, instruct students to only view life through the lens of race and presumes that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are victims. This denies our students the opportunity to gain important facts, core knowledge, formulate their own opinions, and to think for themselves. Our children deserve far better from their education than to be told what to think.
Systemic racism exists whether or not white children are told about it or not. It's not divisive to be told about things that are real. It's divisive for only certain students to experience those things while others get to put on their horse blinders and go about their day, never understanding why they get dirty looks when they ask to touch their classmate's hair. That's divisive.
Naturally, the rest of the executive order suggests that this is truly the only way we can ever achieve Martin Luther King's dream that our children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Good thing that was the only thing the man ever said about racism, or else this would be a pretty awkward executive order.
In addition to the ban on critical race theory, there were several bans related to COVID and doing literally anything to stop the spread of COVID.
The second order makes mask-wearing optional in schools - empowering parents to decide whether children should wear masks. This also orders the superintendent of Virginia's public schools to issue new COVID-19 guidance consistent with the order. Several Northern Virginia districts, including Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William County, said they will continue on with mask requirements.[...]
Executive Order Six declares Virginia "Open For Business" and seeks to evaluate COVID-19 safety measures that Youngkin calls impediments to conducting business. Youngkin directed the Safety and Health Codes Board to convene an emergency meeting of their membership to discuss whether there is a continued need for certain measures and report findings in 30 days.
Perhaps he will soon sign another one declaring Virginia's new motto to be "Virginia Is For Lovers Of Communicable Viruses?"
Youngkin also signed an executive order to "re-evaluate" how the state can fuck the environment more efficiently.
Order Nine seeks to re-evaluate Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and "immediately begin regulatory processes to end it. Youngkin has described RGGI as "a carbon tax that is fully passed on to ratepayers." Earlier in January, however, former Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion that stated Youngkin cannot unilaterally suspend laws , citing the Constitution of Virginia and its separation of powers doctrine.
And he signed another one about "preventing human trafficking" — which is the kind of thing that sounds nice to nice people but traditionally ends up hurting those it claims to protect.
Order Seven aims to combat and prevent human trafficking and provide support to survivors by establishing the Human Trafficking Prevention and Survivor Support Commission.
Because the term human trafficking is such a massive umbrella term and encompasses everything from actual slavery to people and children being forced into sex work to adults engaging in sex work of their own volition, you have to give the side eye to any general "Human Trafficking Prevention" legislation. Because most of the time, the people who get hurt are in the latter category and no one is actually doing jack shit about the first two.
This does not seem like it's going to end well for Virginia, but they voted for it so what can we do?
Stephen and I will be back today at 12pm Pacific, 3pm EST to discuss the week's events and stuff, so we will see you then!
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