We’re living in surreal and dangerous times—when sitting on the sofa watching TV is a form of patriotism, when students are having a 2½-month “snow day” and when healthcare workers across the country are putting their lives on the line fighting an invisible enemy.
That foe is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Despite the alarming news from China late last year, President Trump was tragically slow responding to the crisis early in 2020. For example, on March 13 he said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the United States’ lack of COVID-19 testing capability. He was clearly more worried about the economy than loss of human life. Trump also hasn’t owned up to gutting the U.S. pandemic-preparedness office in 2018.
Peter Wehner of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center wrote a March 25 piece for The Atlantic titled “The President Is Trapped: Trump is utterly unsuited to deal with this crisis, either intellectually or temperamentally.”
Further, Wehner fears that Trump’s personality issues—including dishonesty, narcissism, impulsiveness, vindictiveness and lack of empathy—will become even more pronounced in the coming months as Trump feels trapped by the pandemic and incapable of controlling the narrative.
Sadly, I think the main reason Trump hasn’t issued (at this writing) a nationwide, stay-at-home order is so, in his mind, he can’t be blamed for a likely economic recession or depression, which would hurt his re-election chances. Trump evidently would rather have governors take the heat for whatever happens to the economy.
In recent weeks Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, has looked and acted far more presidential—and certainly more compassionate—than Donald Trump.
Regardless of the White House dysfunction, life goes on throughout our community and nation. Even as we keep physical distancing, let’s strengthen social solidarity. We’re in this together.
Dan Shenk • Goshen • 534-9673