Panic, Pandemics, and Politics

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help” – Ronald Reagan

It is a demonstrated fact of history that times of crisis bring out the best and worst in people. Individuals, communities, and societies are tested by the occasional auspices of true calamities. With the Corona Virus spreading globally we are seeing some characteristics of our own economic and political structures being pushed to the limit. And the results are expectedly a mixture of both positive and negative. As usual, politicians show us there is never a crisis they do not see as an opportunity to take advantage.

The first alarming trend is the lack of consistent or accurate information about the virus. In this we clearly see the media being completely untrustworthy. The same virus that is little more than nasty flu one day is the second coming of Ebola the next. Breitbart News stated it is one thousand times as contagious as normal flu or cold, then Fox News reported contagion figures are highly exaggerated and we just need to wash our hands. It only seriously threatens older people or it is a rampaging monster that knows no discrimination in its victims.

Fatality and hospitalization figures coming from initial outbreak zones such as China and Iran are highly disputable. The numbers and the ferocity of the pandemic change regularly. Is it a manufactured pandemic or is it really from bats and snakes? Will it pass in a few weeks to a month, or will it take a year or more? Who knows what to believe?

The second trend, also to be expected, is the blame Trump narrative. He was a racist and xenophobe for closing the borders.  Then he did not act soon enough at our borders. He is also an insensitive racist for calling the virus the Chinese or Wu Han virus after the same press condemning him gave it that moniker. He is not acting strongly enough or he is close to being a complete dictator. The noise is so contradictory and cacophonous it is a small wonder most people just want to tune it out.

A third trend is the near-complete socialist shut down of the private sector. As Harry Caines pointed out, it is contraindicative to sacrifice the very freedoms our society is founded on for the sake of security. Yet that is exactly what is going on. Professional bureaucrats are mandating the shuttering of the American economy and the curtailing of civil rights for an unknown outcome. This is unacceptable at every level. And once civil rights are dampened, do not expect them to be restored quickly or without resistance. How coincidental that the largest impositions are occurring in the bluest cities and states.

The worst trend is the impedance by Democrats to any practical solutions. Trying to pack needed stimulus with leftist high priority agenda items is a poor way to show they care. Relief for American companies and workers is critical, especially since the same folks proposing expensive stimulus packages are the cause of the problem to some extent. Trying to cram tax credits for solar and wind operations, big labor concessions, new emission standards for airlines, dictates for companies willing to accept bailout monies that include government wonks on boards, surrendering equity to the government or race and gender mandates for board members, plus green new deal provisions are simply unacceptable. It is putting petty politics above people.

What the Democrats perceive, and have even had some representatives openly hope for, is that a delayed resolution to this inflamed crisis will devastate the economy. We might emerge from this with a twenty-plus percent unemployment rate and a full-blown depression if it is not handled expeditiously. And with a cooperative media, the Democrats will hang that millstone around Trump’s neck daily. The more people suffer, the more Trump can be blamed. It is a despicable position, but it is a position the Schumers of the world seem to relish. It is clear that the extinct bipartisanship in Washington is ill-equipped to tackle anything pressing these days.

The bright side of this is the typical resilience of the average American. Locally, the outpouring of concern and outreach among colleagues and neighbors has been unprecedented. Perhaps at a macro level, we are badly broken, but on the local micro level, we have never been more compassionate. People are actively praying for and serving one another. And that is a contrast the career deceivers in Washington might want to take note of. In the words of a great classic rock band “We won’t get fooled again”.

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