March 13: the fourth anniversary of Pennsylvania’s “two weeks to flatten the curve.”

Governor Tom Wolf issued his first executive order, closing all schools. He would ultimately issue countless executive orders in 2020 and 2021 — including telling us all to stay home and inside without legislative or voter approval. 

You may recall that the last of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties was not allowed to go “green” and “re-open” until July 3. That was the “thriving metropolis” of Lebanon County. Why? Because their commissioners had voted not to enforce lockdown punishments in their county. Wolf’s decision underscored his approach: Arrogance. Abuse of Power. Shamelessness.

Ultimately, in the primary of 2021, Pennsylvanians voted for the extraordinary step of amending Pennsylvania’s Constitution to bring his dictatorial madness to an end — and to save our liberties, lives, and livelihoods. 

Wolf closed too much, for too long, and was too slow to re-open. Wolf’s actions, rhetoric and decisions often reflected the worst decisions of the era of “experts” and politicians issuing mandates, lockdowns and threats. Worse, they prohibited, mocked, or silenced dissent. And we now know that the federal government worked with all media — traditional, print, and digital — to silence or hide questions and alternative approaches.

Recall that Wolf marched with BLM protestors through Harrisburg, after having told all of us to stay inside. If one questioned why we couldn’t go to church, but a crowd of thousands could march; those “in charge” told us we were bigots — or, didn’t understand that some activities “trumped” others. The national wrongs of the Covid-era extend far beyond Wolf and his arrogant, dictatorial actions.

Because so much of what was done by “experts” and those in charge of government and many media outlets of all forms — from the New York Times to CNN, from Facebook to Twitter — was so obviously wrong, it’s imperative that we remember.

Because so many in power used their bully pulpits and executive orders to silence, mock or hide questions, dissent or alternative approaches to treatment or living our lives, it’s imperative that we remember.

Because of our children. Because so much wrong was done to our children — not only in March and April of 2020, but into 2021 and even 2022 — to keep them out of school or masked up in schools. So much wrong was done to cancel their sports or force them to wear masks while playing softball and basketball, to keep them away from their friends, to keep them away from their grandparents. And it was done with total disregard to their mental and overall physical health. It’s imperative that we remember.

Because those in power stood in judgment and told us that some jobs were “essential,” but others weren’t, forcing millions to stay home and wait for government aid or unemployment checks — sometimes waiting a year. Because even today, there are empty storefronts where small businesses once thrived, it’s imperative that we remember.

Because those in charge decided that “slowing the curve” was literally the most important thing in the world — more important than working, going to school, socializing, getting our teeth cleaned, talking to our senior citizens, and being screened for cancer or heart disease, it’s imperative that we remember.

Because so much of what was being forced on us, our livelihoods and our families was so obviously wrong or lacked common sense and we were not allowed to object, it’s imperative that we remember.

You could sit on an airplane flying from Philadelphia to Los Angeles with 500 strangers for five hours, but, you couldn’t get a haircut. You could buy a microwave at Home Depot but not at your neighborhood appliance store. You could not go to a bar for a drink, but you could go to the bar to eat and drink. You could go to Walmart, but not a church, synagogue, mosque, or Quaker meeting house.

Why? Because “they” said so! And we were not supposed to object. And when we did on Facebook, Twitter or as a comment to newspaper stories, they deleted or hid our comments.

To this day, the PLCB — Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board — is still prosecuting caterers, bar and restaurant owners that are alleged to have ignored executive orders in 2020. Shameful.

Arrogant government officials lacking common sense and drunk with power.

Some may want to forgive “them” for decisions made in March or April of 2020. But they enforced this insanity into 2021 and continued to issue mandates into 2022 and “guidance” up through today.

Where are the apologies? The promises to never do this again?

Again, those in power in government — from school boards to Harrisburg and D.C. — not only issued mandates, they shut-down discussion. The school board members screamed at parents wanting schools to reopen or masks to come off: “Do you want your children to die!?” 

Like many others, I continued to ask in public, during radio and newspaper interviews, and on social media: If it was imperative — “life saving” — to shut down public schools for months, even years, why were the religious, charter, and private schools allowed to re-open? Either those in charge were “okay with” Jewish Day School kids risking their lives, or the local public school a block away should’ve reopened, too.

Many of us asked about herd immunity. Many of us wondered if it made sense to push seniors into nursing homes — aren’t they the most vulnerable? Many of us asked why anyone had to die alone — especially senior citizens: why couldn’t nine-year-old boys hug their aging, ailing grandpop? Elites yelled and mocked us.

Many of us asked about our mental health because Americans are social people who socialize, drink with friends, play pick-up basketball or chess, go to book clubs, jog in the park, worship. Aren’t those things part of our health, too? We were ridiculed.

Many of us asked what would happen to our children if they couldn’t go to school, see their friends, laugh, cry, do projects or play in the school yard — expressing concern about their falling behind in the academics, and that those whose parents had to work or whose parents didn’t have the time or skills to teach their children effectively might fall so far behind that they’d never catch-up. We were accused of hating children and wanting them to die.

Many of us asked why a barber shop or diner couldn’t open and allow business owners, employees and customers to decide whether to go — we suggested that healthy people be allowed to live life, that adults could weigh the pros and cons. We were accused of wanting “blood money.”

Now, the after-the-fact “studies.” Various “experts” and “esteemed” institutions spent millions of dollars and hundreds of hours to produce reports concluding what those of us with common sense and a sense of liberty and decency knew: the experts blew it. The lockdowns weren’t needed or lasted too long. Millions of people are still suffering the effects of being away from people. Millions of children are way behind academically and emotionally; some may never reach their pre-Covid potential.

Worse, the Twitter/X email dump and congressional hearings have proven that the White House, team Fauci, and their allies pressured and collaborated with media to hide “disinformation” about Covid’s spread, its impact on healthy people, especially children, about treatment alternatives, questions about vaccines and the legality, morality and necessity of lockdowns and mandates.

Because they locked us down, because they picked winners and losers, because they harmed our children, because they crushed our economy with impacts still felt today in empty storefronts and inflation, because they cost citizens their jobs, because they acted with arrogance, ignored common sense, because they abused their power and influence to silence anyone questioning them, because they ignored the Constitution, and because far too many have yet to apologize and to pledge to never abuse power again, we owe it to our children to remember.

Guy Ciarrocchi is a Senior Fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation. He writes for Broad + Liberty and RealClear Pennsylvania. Follow Guy at @PaSuburbsGuy

15 thoughts on “Guy Ciarrocchi: Lies, damn lies, and two weeks to flatten the curve”

  1. Guy: Great article. I will never forget. I try to count my blessings each day; but also, I will never, never forget or trust any form of the government ever again. We are surrounded by power hungry and unhinged people who have replaced Judeo-Christian values with a bizarre mix of diabolical (evil and satanic) Socialism (though they will never admit it.) While aspects of socialism may align with Judeo-Christian ethics, there are also tensions and conflicts, particularly regarding issues of individual freedom, the role of the state, and the relationship between nuclear families, faith, and governance.
    I’ll try to write this as respectfully as possible: Dr. Levine was given, and still has, too much power. As a society we are doomed if we are prevented from pointing out the foolishness in being forced to pretend that someone is something they are not. Dr. Levine seems unhinged from reality, and I will never understand why our leaders listened to Dr. Levine’s other novel and tyrannical ideas. Except as I said, it seems to be a new type of religion sweeping through our culture.

  2. Superb article. I am convinced the bulk of the tricks tried during the pandemic was not at all about health and welfare as it was about control and the exercise of raw, unrestrained power. I believe that it was a trial run of sorts for the establishment of American society run by the “deep state” without interference by the unwashed masses known as citizens. If you ever read Daniel DeFoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year” you would see a similar response from the English government, more than 300 years later, not much changed.

  3. George, look into New York Post’s “Distressing moment deputy kills 15-year-old autistic boy charging him with gardening tool” by Snejana Farberov, 3/11/24. Then look into how MSNBC told the same story. There are a few more recent examples – they are trying to sow racial unrest, again. Straight Arrow News does a decent job sifting thru the propaganda.
    The biggest difference between 300 years ago and today is the technology people consume literally shapes thoughts in ways the elites did not have the ability to exercise in days past.
    When Gov. Wolf marched with BLM I realized almost the entire Covid narrative was rubbish. Shame on the feeble religious leaders that allowed the US Gov to say they were not essential. Bravo to every person that pushed back. STOP BEING NICE. STAND YOUR GROUND. EVERY INCH MATTERS NOW. Vote Trump (yes, he stinks), but vote for the 3,000+ people crafting policy that are men and women and do not blend genders or want to steal your liberty. Let the people threatening violence, those scum, act. When and if they act with violence treat them to overwhelming kinetic energy. Enough is enough. Violence is never the answer, vote Trump.

  4. Thanks Guy – keep up reminding all of us what the mis-management of the pandemic has cost society. We are still too close to the event to get a fully honest accounting, but one day we will and I hope we learn that part of what is true science is to never stop questioning.

  5. They where targeting small business because the larger box stores are backed by Blackrock & Vanguard. Therefore small business wasn’t essential. Again they are targeting small business in the other article in B&L. I will never forget what they did. I would also go after the kids that are now young voting adults who had there baseball games, proms, & graduations cancelled because of this nonsense! Especially in Pennsylvania.

  6. Isn’t it important to do more than “remember”? The fact is, there were (and still are) opportunities to hold people accountable. Not just for the “mistakes” for which they haven’t apologized, but for the outright, documented violations of law. As much as we can blame the Wolf Administration and every official who went along with the unlawful policies, what have elected Republicans done to address the lawlessness? What have they done to ensure that people who violated the law are held accountable? What legislation have they advanced to make sure nothing like this happens again? What hearings have they held to expose the misconduct in places like Bucks County and Chester County? The fact is, they haven’t done a thing. Maybe it’s time for Broad + Liberty to start asking why, and to demand more from the elected officials who rely on our votes, but can’t be counted on to step up when it really matters.

  7. Hate to repeat myself but the same kind of propaganda deserve the same response:

    The radical right and its media machine seems to “forget” that states were dealing with criminally incompetent republican “leadership” from our president at the time which made it much harder to keep schools open. (See sources below) They “forget” (likely because of the hysterical Biden Derangement Syndrome rhetoric they try to shove down our throats) that Biden came in and immediately implemented policies to reopen schools open. And of course the media never mentions the inconvenient fact that abundant statewide school closures were ordered in red states as well. This kind of article, like the others b&l has published on the topic, isn’t really about helping kids at all. It’s about partisan politics.
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I blame Fauci and the CDC and everyone in a position of governance (federal or state) who punted to them without challenge or asking the tough questions.
    The teacher’s union held schools hostage also. We all know which party they hold power over.

    1. Why didn’t trump fire fauci if he was really so bad? Why did Republican governors mandate statewide school closings?

  9. Great article! What our governing class did to us is not only treasonous and criminal, it’s pure evil. The sad part is no one, not one of these evil-doers will be punished. The lack of accountability, is a typical, everyday occurrence for the monsters who are currently in charge. Until we, the ‘despicables’ stand against this degradation of our beloved Country, this bs will continue, and it will only continue to get worse.

    1. Weird. Thought I was still on the page with Guy’s fluff piece for Trump. Anyway, I agree that both the ruling class MAGA elites who at the time were running the white house, senate, had a scotus majority and a majority of state legislatures and governorships AND ruling class Democrats did not handle covid well.

  10. The wonderful thing is you don’t have to care about “Trump haters” when you can just listen to Trump and his underlings describe themselves in no uncertain terms. They’re now completely open about how he wants to be a “dictator” on day one, use the DOJ to get personal “revenge”, “terminate” unspecified parts of the constitution, pardon violent convicted felons who, among other things, bashed in police officers’ skulls with flag poles and fire extinguishers after he ordered them to “stand back and stand by”. Tucker carlson describes HIMSELF now as being “radicalized”. Oh yeah, and then there’s this wonderful quote given with NO hint of irony or sarcasm and met by MUCH applause at CPAC by Trump underling Jack Posobiac:
    “Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on Jan. 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it.”
    And boy, it really is getting tiresome to hear those with Biden Derangement Syndrome
    continue parotting the same media fed talking points about how Biden, who is 3 years older than Trump, is too old. In 2020 Republican media told us that Biden, at 78, was too old yet now they’ve nominated *checks notes* a 78 year old! And a 78 year old who regularly struggles to complete sentences, communicates in bizarre typo laden tirades on social media, repeatedly mixes up countries, and can’t even remember who was his own ambassador to the UN and the who was the house majority leader!

  11. Guy,

    This is the best, most concise, and clear article regarding the COVID lockdowns I have ever read. Your level of controlled anger is perfect.

    My question to you is, how can we make the politicians, elites and Healthcare “professionals” accountable? I lean towards an outdoor “memorial of shame.” What do you think?

  12. This article is “really well researched” and has a lot of “really good stats and proof”. This “writer” sure knows what he’s doing with such a “well articulated” argument. I sure hope “the others” can get on board with this “absolutely level headed” response to some “minor inconveniences” during a pandemic. You all really give me “hope”

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