Commentary: No second-guessing in making decisions with lives at risk

By Frank B. Calio

I met with Gov. Sherman Tribbitt in his office shortly after he was elected governor. Since he served the state as lieutenant governor prior to being elected governor, I asked him the question, “How does it feel sitting on the other side of the desk as governor and not as lieutenant governor?”

He quickly replied, “No second-guessing. You make a decision and go for it.” The governor certainly had his share of decisions to make that affected the lives of thousands of Delawareans, including the closure of Farmers Bank, the destruction of the railroad bridge over the Delaware River and an inherited bankrupt state.

I’ve thought often of him during the turmoil our current governor, John Carney, is going through with the COVID-19 on a daily basis. He has to make decisions daily affecting all Delawareans. No second-guessing. Lives are at risk.

Frank Calio

As reported by The Washington Post, 73% of Delawareans in a May SurveyMonkey poll said they approved of how Gov. Carney has handled the state’s response to the outbreak. That figure was tied for 15th overall and seventh out of the 24 Democratic governors.

Still, the criticism for his actions continues, the latest from state Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover, who, although he did not mention the governor by name, said, “Officials should have been more willing to keep businesses and other establishments open, only shutting them down in the face of a clear and present danger.”

His fellow Republicans in the House and Senate share his feelings, posting letters to the media trying to be advocates for small businesses, when their voting records show a progressive anti-tax relief for the wealthy.

I was glad to see Dr. John Stapleford, policy director of the conservative Caesar Rodney Institute, plead for the reopening for the working class people who are certainly no doubt the victims of businesses closing.

It was only months ago that he and his institute were fighting Gov. Carney over raising the minimum wage, saying it would close businesses. He didn’t care about the working class then. Politics, as usual.

I think protesters wanting businesses to open have seen the negative effect this is having with the beaches, bars and restaurants being packed, causing the pandemic to increase in just a week.

I am an 82-year-old senior with health problems. Every day, I fear when sticking my head out the door that someone who is enforcing his constitutional rights by not wearing a mask may breathe on me and send me to the high heavens. Not a good feeling.

I thank my governor for his conservative handling of this virus. The governor has put a hold on Phase 3 because of an increase of cases during the past week. Good for him.

I hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July, people without masks and not distancing, because I have a feeling you’re going back to the house to stay for a while.

Frank B. Calio of Laurel is a former Delaware election commissioner.