No one except Trump and his closest supporters doubt that we, as a country, failed to act fast enough as Covid Crisis was taking hold. We waited, dilly-dallied and acted only when things became grim. Our President called it a hoax, a plot by Democrats, and a minor problem before grudgingly accepting the gravity of the situation.
Now, as the country reopens, we are making a mess of it once again. The cases are again on the rise and we are breaking records. Some states have partially opened while some are actually shutting down again. When I talk to friends in Europe it makes me realize how badly we are flubbing the task of reopening.
There are likely to be many reasons for why we are looking more like a “shi*-hole country” — — to paraphrase you know who — -instead of being an advanced one. In my opinion, the two most important ones are : (1) The belief among many people that their rights are being infringed if the authorities require them to do even a simple thing like wearing a mask, and (2) The actions by the deplorable human being we have given the responsibility of being our country’s leader.
When I see protests against wearing a mask I cringe. This tells me that the protester has assumed that he knows more about the spread of the virus than the epidemiologists and those in the authority. He believes that his rights are being infringed even though it is just a simple request. While I would have issues with this stance if the person in danger is just the refusenik, I have a serious problem because in doing so, he is endangering my life. Further, if he contracts the disease in the future by his refusal, others will be endangered and we as the society will be asked to foot his medical bills. All that because he believes that his constitutional rights are being trampled on if he is forced to wear a frigging mask.
I am told that a better option than making masks mandatory is to suggest that they wear them, and leave the final decision up to them depending on what their opinion is of risk vs. “inconvenience”. I wonder what would have happened if the society had done the same for the regulations requiring people to wear seatbelts. “You can wear them only if you feel they will help you. Yes, the engineers and medical doctors have proven beyond doubt that seatbelts save lives, but what do they know? You have the right to refuse such intrusion by the government.” Even that is not an adequate comparison…a person not wearing a seatbelt is going to harm just himself, not the others. A better comparison would be driving under influence. “Officer, my rights to drive under any condition are being trampled…”
This uniquely American attitude of believing that their rights are infringed even by the slightest request by the authority is a big contributor in us flubbing the reopening phase, but it pales in comparison to what the commander in chief is doing.
He has, for example, shown an utter disdain for science. Initially, the whole thing was a hoax, then it was a minor problem, then his assertions that it can be cured by some unproven and bizarre remedies, and then creating a make-believe narrative that the pandemic is over and life can return to normal.
Some of his lines are classics that would go down in history when the story of the pandemic is written. “A bleach that is injected should provide cure”, “If we slow down testing the rise in the cases will slow down too”, “We can’t let the ship carrying infected passengers dock because that will increase the number of cases in the US.”
His refusal to wear a mask is another classic disregard to what a leader should be doing. What type of example is he setting? I was told that people have to make their own decision and not follow the leader. Isn’t there something wrong with the definition of a “leader” in that argument?
Now, of course, he has started his campaign rallies that involve packing people inside indoor places, precisely the situations that the scientific community is asking us to avoid. The participants are offered masks, but most don’t wear them. Why should they be expected to do so if their cult leader is not doing so? The rallies consist of nothing but self-congratulations on mission accomplished and name-calling the sacrificial lambs, the Chinese in this instance. All that while the disease is raging outside. For example, Arizona, where he held the rally in late June recorded its highest number of cases, almost to the day.
I suppose we will eventually muddle out of the predicament we are in. Our reputation in the world is already damaged, so this can’t make it worse. Maybe it will. The day of reckoning for the commander in chief will come in November when we hope he will be booted out ingloriously and go down the history as the worst US President ever.