A self-described ardent supporter of the Democratic Party claimed in a piece for The Atlantic that the party’s continued push for school closures amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic drove her away.
The piece, called, “Why I Soured on the Democrats,” published on Friday, was written by Angie Schmitt, who admitted to being a Democrat “partisan” but explained that the closing of schools during the pandemic, which is occurring again as the less-than-potent omicron strain spreads, is pushing her away from the party.
“Until recently, I was a loyal, left-leaning Democrat, and I had been my entire adult life,” she wrote “I was the kind of partisan who registered voters before midterm elections and went to protests.
“I hated Donald Trump so much that I struggled to be civil to relatives on the other side of the aisle,” she continued. “But because of what my family has gone through during the pandemic, I can’t muster the same enthusiasm. I feel adrift from my tribe and, to a certain degree, disgusted with both parties.”
Continuing, she said that she was not able to continue working full-time when the school system in Cleveland went to remote-only education, which forced her two young children to remain at home for remote learning. She not only lost money during the pandemic, she said that her kids suffered mental issues during the many months they were home.
And throughout the pandemic, she said her party continued to disappoint over the handling of in-person classroom learning:
I kept hoping that someone in our all-Democratic political leadership would take a stand on behalf of Cleveland’s 37,000 public-school children or seem to care about what was happening. Weren’t Democrats supposed to stick up for low-income kids?
Instead, our veteran Democratic mayor avoided remarking on the crisis facing the city’s public-school families. Our all-Democratic city council was similarly disengaged. The same thing was happening in other blue cities and blue states across the country, as the needs of children were simply swept aside.
Cleveland went so far as to close playgrounds for an entire year. That felt almost mean-spirited, given the research suggesting the negligible risk of outdoor transmission—an additional slap in the face.
Then, after the public schools refused to reopen fully for months, Schmidt said that she enrolled her kids in a charter school that was open for full-time, in-person instruction while saying that her trust had been “broken” with the union-controlled public schools.
“Compounding my fury was a complete lack of sympathy or outright hostility from my own ‘team,'” Schmidt wrote of Democrats.
She also said that when she spoke out against school closures on social media she was “shouted down and abused, accused of being a Trumper who didn’t care if teachers died.”
She then accused her party of “exaggerating the risks of COVID-19 to children,” while refusing to acknowledge the negatives of children being forced to constantly wear facemasks.
Schmidt then said that she lost her “trust that the party is truly motivated to act in the interests of those they claim to serve.”
All said, however, and despite her party grievances, she declared, “None of this has shaken my support for the Democratic agenda, which I still endorse wholesale.”
She did say that more and more, however, she feels “politically homeless.”
“I can’t imagine that I would have arrived here—not a Republican, but questioning my place in the Democratic Party—had my son not been enrolled in public kindergarten in 2020,” she noted.