President Donald J. Trump obsesses about your coverage of him. He fumes when you write about his 20,055 lies (as of July 9), and he labels you “fake news.” He repeatedly tells his shrinking base, “The Fake News Media is UNHINGED…They are deceiving the public and knowingly making up their ‘facts’ and ‘sources’ in order to protect their partners, the Democrats. They are so corrupt and have gone totally insane…They are the Enemy of the People.”
Trump, however, finds you to be a useful tool whenever the news tide flows against him. He retreats to his twitter account, posts something outrageous, and laughs when you drop coverage of his failures to follow the path down a rabbit hole. For instance, when negative GNP numbers were posted last week and highlighted on electronic media, he tweeted that the election might be postponed.
Bingo! Your attention swung from what Trump saw as a disastrous GNP crash to a full day of reporters, analysts and hosts making the case that the president cannot change the election date. Just as metal shavings move inexorably toward a magnet or moths swarm a bright light, news focus is drawn to the sensational and the president’s failures fade into the background. Please, stay focused.
Our Response to Covid-19 Should be Based on Science Rather than Politics
Read, listen to or watch news coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, and you will hear political leaders scrambling to blame the opposite party for a failure to corral the disease. Please, Senators, Congresspeople, and political pundits––– just stop it.
Yes, as President Trump regularly argues, the scientists sometimes get it wrong. His favorite example is Dr Anthony Fauci advising the public in early March not to wear a mask. Fauci’s reasoning at the time was that we had a limited supply of masks and all available equipment was needed by healthcare workers. As we learned more about how the virus spread, and nonmedical-grade masks became ubiquitous, the doctor changed his advice and has consistently urged us to mask up. Only an irresponsible dullard doesn’t change his/her behavior when new life-saving information emerges.
Doctors and medical scientists are still learning about how this disease spreads and how to treat it. When they discover that they had it wrong, they quickly tell us and give us the updated information. This is starkly different from the president. When he gets it wrong, he either doubles down (see hydroxychloroquine) or changes the subject (see ingesting bleach or hitting the body with ultraviolet light).
We are in the midst of a battle with an intractable, invisible foe. In the fight against Covid, I choose to follow the leadership of doctors, and part of their advice is that all of us are the foot soldiers in this war. We have the power to help defeat Covid by adhering to simple but occasionally inconvenient and moderately uncomfortable disciplines. Covid-19 is not about politics but is all about science.
My Tolerance has Reached its Limit
I am generally a tolerant and patient man. But, I have had all I am willing to take from people who stand under the banner of liberty and demand their “right” to endanger the health and lives of others in my community.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a single infection can rapidly increase geometrically–––one case becomes two, two becomes four, four becomes eight and it continues doubling until controlled. When the pandemic first hit we were not fully aware of its potential for out of control progression. Now, however, we do know how it spreads and we know that if all of us wear a mask, socially distance, wash our hands, and interact with others sparingly and carefully we will see a decline.
If the yahoos among us were only endangering themselves I’d say they have the freedom to behave dangerously. But their quest for mask-less fun and reveling with friends in a bar threatens everyone they come into contact with: family, friends and strangers. My family, friends and I should have the freedom to be safe from their irresponsible behavior.
Come on, man. Mask up, or you may be saying goodbye to your parents or grandparents over ZOOM while they lie in a hospital bed hooked up to a ventilator.
China Plans for 2049; Trump Plans for the Moment
President Xi Jinping has a long-term plan for China. The ultimate goal is for his nation to lead the world in 2049, the centennial of Communist revolution. Every decision Xi makes today is with that goal in mind. His day-by-day goal is to keep moving forward at a steady pace rather than having a spectacular moment in today’s sun. This makes it easier for him to compromise on issues such as trade, and to move beyond perceived slights. To paraphrase The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, Xi keeps his eye on the prize.
President Trump, on the other hand, craves today’s spotlight. Instead of a long-term strategy, his goal is immediate: Control the optics of the moment and bring fleeting glory to himself. As a result, America is fumbling at home and declining in respect abroad.
Bill Jamieson’s career has included leadership positions in business, government, and education. He was also an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and his ministry centered around advocacy for low-income families and children.