Divided We Fall

ByRichard Davis

As the pandemic evolved there seemed to be hope for a unified effort to combat a common enemy. Despite the political polarization in the United States, it did seem possible that we might be able to cast aside some of the “us vs them” mentality to join forces and minimize the death and destruction that the COVID 19 pandemic is causing.

Instead, we have business as usual. The U.S. president is displaying more and more signs and symptoms of progressive mental illness. Everything is about him and, if you don’t agree with his unfounded recommendations about dealing with the virus, then he will punish you by withholding support and supplies from your state.

The pandemic demands a unified American effort coordinated by the federal government. What we have is a spin-control no-vision public relations campaign that ignores the need for short and long term plans.

The Trump administration has blood on its hands, but they will be able to dodge responsibility for bad outcomes because they can hide behind their supporters and the Fox News propaganda machine. Politicians such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican governors who are willing to risk lives in order to open business, provide cover for the worst management of the pandemic of any country in the developed world.

As of May 15 there were 1,448,810 diagnosed cases of COVID 19 in the U.S. That is 32 percent of the world total of 4,444,670. There have been 86,571 U.S. deaths or 29 percent of the 302,493 deaths in the world. It is clear that there is no American federal leadership dealing with the pandemic. If it were not for many governors stepping up to the plate and realizing early on that they could not rely on federal help then the numbers would be even worse.

The number of deaths and new cases continue to rise, yet we have a country that has found a way to create a new political front pitching the gun-toting freedom fighters against those who urge caution. As this secondary battle plays out it is clear that the pandemic will never be significantly abated in this country.

The best we can hope for is that there will be a new president and a new administration in Washington. Trump and his people will do everything they can to disrupt the election and I would not be surprised if they try to find a way to postpone or even cancel it.

If this country continues on the path it is now on we will see a surge in new virus cases in the next few months and we will be back to square one, or even worse, by the end of the summer.

Some people are putting hope in the availability of a vaccine within the next year. It is likely that any vaccine that might be able to be developed may not be as effective as we wish and some infectious disease experts are admitting that it is possible we will not have a vaccine for many years, if at all.

Until we have a unified country-wide plan for dealing with COVID 19 there will be only minimal relief. The value of human life has been trivialized by those who kiss the ring of a deranged and dangerous president.

Trying to live a meaningful life in these strange times is hard enough, but when you see little hope for a better future it is easy to be shrouded in a cloud of despair and hopelessness.

Comments | 1

  • An unbridgeable divide

    I kind of thought fear of the virus would bring us together too, so I was surprised when I started hearing people say that the people who were dying of the disease were “going to die anyway,” which included people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly. It was as though those people were expendable, and the way you could tell was that they caught coronavirus and died. This seemed impossibly cold and cruel to me.

    The divide we’re seeing today between people who want to “stay safe” and the people who don’t believe precautions are necessary seems unbridgeable to me. The ideological differences and animosity between the two camps are just too great.

    I’ve evolved my thinking at this point to something like resignation. You can’t change people’s minds. Only they can. So the best I can do is try to stay safe myself and hope other people do too. Not all of them will — I know that from how they talk about the virus. But I think their anger is misplaced — I think they’re mad at the elected officials for imposing restrictions, but what they’re really mad about is that the virus exists at all. But this is one of those things that we used to think of as “an act of God” — people don’t choose it, it just happens. But we still have to deal with it.

    I’m waiting to see what happens in the states that are opening up the fastest. Will people go back to business as usual as they are being asked to do? If so, will there be a big second wave of coronavirus, or will they get away with their risky decisions? I have no idea, which is why I’m still keeping an eye on the numbers. But what seems like a lot of cases to me (1500+ in a day in one state, for example) is being portrayed by some people as “past peak,” and hence in the process of going away. But is that number enough to guarantee that the virus will continue “going away”?

    The group I feel the most sympathy for are the people in higher risk categories who are forced back to work by their employers and state governments. I especially feel for the factory, warehouse, and meat industry workers who are at the bottom of the wage scale and seem to have few if any workplace rights. Work or you lose all access to money — no pay, no unemployment checks. That’s rough.

    As with all things, we’ll have to see how things play out. I’m thankful that I live in Vermont where we’ve kept coronavirus cases in control. I only hope it stays that way as our tourist-dependent state reopens for business in the coming months.

    As to what kind of governance we need to get our country through this with the least amount of damage, it’s really hard to say. I think we’ll know it when we see it. Although money is key. If we can do something, then money should not be an obstacle. Money is a human invention just like government is. Creative minds can fix anything. 😉

Leave a Reply