Saturday, September 12, 2020

Reality Denied

2020…..It’s been quite a year, one we won’t soon forget. Among other things, no year in the last one hundred has brought us a pandemic as dangerous as the one we are facing at this moment. Among other things this will go down in history as the year of Covid-19.

By mid-March we knew it was bad, and getting worse. Truth to tell the devil was in what we did not know.

Having lived with that reality for six months, seeing the ways it has impacted our lives, we are just now learning that in the midst of all that death and dying our President has realized from the start how serious that invisible enemy would be.

So what did he do with that terrible understanding? Well, in the beginning he assured us that any talk of real danger was a “hoax,” since this new “bug” was no more lethal than the seasonal flu. 

The way he tells it, to alert our unsuspecting population to the truth of the matter would have probably upset them, creating anxiety, perhaps even panic. Rather than trigger that awful possibility he concluded it would be better of “downplay” the threat…… label it “fake news”……and soften the blow. AND WITH THAT PEOPLE BEGAN TO DIE.

But what about the need to protect our health-care providers with the tools and equipment they would need for the coming battle? Masks, protective gear, and ventilators would be necessary tools in their arsenal. But cranking up production of those items would probably fuel the dreaded possibility of anxiety and panic? Best not to do that. So pandemic preparation was set aside for the sake of calming the population. AND EVEN MORE PEOPLE DIED.

In a matter of weeks, as the scope of the pandemic became more obvious to the general public, a new round of concerns was being voiced. Perhaps it was time to restrict social and business activities to help control the spread of what now had a name……Covid-19. 

A few state and local leaders began moving in that direction……requiring masks in public places, calling for “social distancing,” even closing “non-essential” businesses. The government’s own scientists and experts supported those efforts…….at least until they were instructed to “back off.” AND STILL PEOPLE WERE DYING.

Yet, even as isolated examples of “Lockdown” effectiveness began to surface, the President and his loyal Republican state governors resisted the economic price to be paid by closing bars and businesses ……the always disturbing loss of jobs and profits. By then our Leader was suggesting that like FDR and Churchill he was leading His People through a great test…….shielding them from a hurtful reality, by denying its reality. AND PEOPLE CONTINUED TO DIE.

And now we have learned another 2020 lesson, about our ‘Designated Protector’s’ opinion of those who have died or suffered in the defense of our country. You’ve heard the stories of how he has called them “losers” and “suckers.” 

Of course he denies ever saying that. That is his way……he always denies everything…….falling back on his familiar justifications……”It’s a hoax.” “That’s false.” “Not true at all.” 

You may believe his denials. You may be one of those who accept his word when he says “Up is down, and down is up,” or “White is Black.” (Sorry, bad example…….He would never suggest that anything White is Black. In his eyes that difference is too important to mistake.)

As for me, having seen the President’s response to John McCain’s passing, and his thoughts on what McCain stood for, I am inclined to believe those who have confirmed his unsavory quotes about our fallen heroes. Having seen how he has “downplayed” the patriotic loss of life in war, it is easier to understand his apparent lack of concern over the tens of thousands of lives lost in our present pandemic. 

Yet, even though his disinterest is understandable, it is not acceptable …….. NOT WITH HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE DYING EVERY DAY.

What would a better response look like? Who ought to lead that effort? In a matter of weeks the American people will have the opportunity to answer those important questions for themselves.