The craziness continues. No end in sight. Until Nov 3rd.
It has been only four weeks since the last posting and the world has changed so much. Who would have imagined that this pandemic would twist and turn like a slow hurricane that refuses to go away? Who could have guessed the rabid, raging, irrational, partisan response from this Administration? (Well, actually, we all could have probably guessed that.)
Instead of empathetically reaching out to the hurt, Trump has opted to ‘damn the torpedoes’ and irresponsibly focus exclusively on the short-term goals of immediate profit for some – and enhancing his chances for re-election.
Forget earlier guidelines. Forget whatever the scientists say. Forget what hurting America wants to hear. Instead, he has exclusively focused on his on ‘base and his economic cronies. Instead he has – as he always does – deflected deflected deflected, firing anyone who does not think like him, blaming Obama, trashing Biden.
For the historical record, Trump’s Mother’s Day Tweet said it all: ”HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!” That’s it. Nada mas. No ‘I feel your pain’; no ‘thinking about you’; no ‘we are in this together’. Just a cheap 99 cents card. Awful. This man has no sentiments. No feelings. No empathy.
What this pandemic has brought to light is not only the gross incompetence of Trump, his mismanagement of government, and his inept leadership capacity.
This pandemic has also brought to light a much bigger issue that goes well beyond Trump.
Running the risk of getting overly philosophical/theological, it is high times we decouple the basic human needs for shelter, health, and nutrition from the profit motive.
In my conversation with a trusted scientist that does quite a bit of work in Africa as we speak, she tells me that weeks ago the thought was that this was just another pandemic. The thought was that cholera, malaria, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, war, and natural disasters kill a lot more people than COVID-19 ever will. That line of thinking is changing. Daily. The number of deaths brought by COVID-19 in Africa will be devastating. But – and you have to be careful how you say this – the resiliency of the people in that continent runs deep. COVID-19’s impact will be very different in low resource countries vs the ‘first world’ countries.
In the U.S. the current debate is simple: Are we willing to accept 120,000 deaths a year from COVID-19? After all, we accept a similar number of deaths every year from car accidents, gun shots, and drug overdose. One line of thinking – which is crass, but valid – is that “why should we all suffer when the chances dying from COVID-19 is tiny, particularly if you are part of the vast majority of Americans who is relatively healthy and part of the economic system?” The ‘American Way’ is used to accepting a high degree of poverty among those that “don’t look like the rest of us”. And, accepting high number of deaths in prisons, nursing homes, homeless shelters, meat-packing plants, immigrant camps, and in low income communities of color in high density neighborhoods is “no big deal”. (All quotes in this paragraph come for some of my Facebook ‘friends’. Ugh.)
In our County we have the opportunity to do it differently. And we have the right leadership for this moment. Glad to be part of this team doing real work at a hyper-local level while the craziness at the national level goes amuck.