GOP governor: America 'getting soft' if it protects kids from brutal cold


The country is facing historically low temperatures, but Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin thinks it's wrong to close schools to keep children safe.

Today, the Midwest is in the cold grip of a historically brutal polar vortex, with wind chills approaching 60 below zero. It's the coldest it has been in an entire generation. In Minnesota, Illinois, and elsewhere, schools have closed so that schoolchildren don't have to be outside in weather so awful that frostbite can set in within two to five minutes.

But Kentucky's hard-right Gov. Matt Bevin thinks that closing schools to protect people means we are "getting soft."

Bevin is angry because schools are closed today in Kentucky, where the wind chill could hit 15 below zero. True, Kentucky's temperature today is much warmer than the cold gripping states to its north in the Midwest, but it is still a temperature where frostbite can occur within 30 minutes. Closing schools keeps students — and staff — safe.

But Bevin thinks keeping people safe is indicative of some problematic trend in America, one where we coddle children by, perhaps, not letting them freeze to death.

"[I]t does concern me a little bit that in America — on this and any number of other fronts — we're sending messages to our young people that if life is hard, you can curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and just wait until it stops being hard," Bevin said.

It seems Bevin has some peculiar hostility involving schools. When they were closed in Kentucky for a day in April 2018 so teachers could lobby the government for more money for schools, Bevin said: "I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them," and that children also may have been introduced to drugs that day.

When pushed to apologize for those remarks, he issued a classic non-apology, saying that people were confused and misunderstood what he had to say.

Of course, this isn't the only thing Bevin is heartless about. Like most in the GOP, he hates Medicaid, but he took it one step further — much further. Early last year, he argued that Medicaid in Kentucky didn't work because there were still people getting sick.

He also showed a disgusting disdain for people that oppose him politically. When people pushed back on his plan for pension reform, he said they were like drowning victims explained that they were "pulling [people] under" and you have to "knock them out and drag them to shore. It's for their own good."

His casual cruelty is pervasive and breathtaking, and he has no shame about hurting the vulnerable—like school children—in his quest to burnish his tough-guy hard right bona fides. Bevin is one of the most unpopular governors in the nation, and rightly so with an attitude like this.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.