Let’s talk about the decisions leaders of governments are making, and how they can improve their response, shall we? I know, it’s weird to refer to governments collectively as jerks but here we are.
I’m disheartened when I hear people who don’t like Trump talking about how he’s done the right things here. He really, really hasn’t, and everyone needs to be calling on the White House to step up their coordination, not disband their task force.
Here’s the deal: Trump has fucked the federal response up even beyond what I thought was possible. He’s a nightmare on everything, but in this case, starting with dissolving the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit, he’s just been making bad decisions left and right. No coordination on PPE purchasing and distribution, lying about possible medications that might help, lying about testing availability. Each a specific action that cost lives.
This is not just Trump being a jerk: Trump is actively responsible for deaths taking place right now. Not all of them, but many, many thousands. With testing and proper PPE, and earlier shelter-in-place measures, lives could have been saved. He has failed utterly and completely, and there should be not a single word of thanks said in his direction. He is a killer, plain and simple.
At the same time, the Trump administration has done inexcusable things in the international community. Germany has accused the US — rightly, I would argue — of ‘modern-day piracy’ for its actions intercepting PPE. Yes, the Federal government has a responsibility to its own residents, but they can’t fulfill that by bullying and sacrificing the people of other nations. Disgusting. Total jerk move.
What Work Is Essential?
In the state of Florida, the Governor, on the same day that a PAC accepted a huge donation from an owner of the WWE (professional wrestling), designated professional wrestlers as essential workers.
Look, professional wrestling is not my favorite sport. But I can set that aside with a thought experiment — what if the governor had designated soccer players as essential workers? I love soccer. I MISS soccer. But I’d still be pissed about it. Using the disaster to get political donations — while also putting other people at risk for illness and death — is something a jerk does.
He claimed that since there was no audience, it didn’t matter. I’m sorry, but have you seen any sport, ever? Pretty much all of them involve some contact with other people; wrestling possibly more than any other. The idea that professional wrestling would continue when basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer, and even GOLF are all postponed? Its laughable. And putting these entertainers in the same class as healthcare workers, grocery works, cleaners, transportation providers, and care workers is absurd.
This is also a warning sign of how decisions are going to be made – are being made – by some government leaders. Their concern is for the profits of the heads of large corporations, not the employees. There are a lot of things governments can do to support workers in the short term while testing remains limited. Not on that list? Forcing people back to work (under threat of losing their unemployment benefits) when their health and safety are still at risk because a donor has a sad about not making another billion.
Your Bigotry Is Showing
Some countries like France have banned face coverings, even though practitioners of some religions would prefer to wear them. Or they harass people (of color) who have their faces covered when out at a protest. Yet those same places are now asking people to wear masks for their health and the health of others.
Look, I get it. Things are different now. But clearly if one can wear a mask for physical health reasons, one should be allowed to wear them for spiritual health reasons, no? It’s great to encourage face coverings where the science supports it; stop being a jerk about it the rest of the time.
Some U.S states have never implemented a lock down/shelter in place order, following the Sweden model (Sweden, with a higher deaths per million residents rate than even the U.S.), while others have started lifting them despite scientific evidence suggesting its a super bad idea. Georgia, I’m looking at you. And Florida. And Texas.
The racist, entitled jerks protesting public health orders are acting like overtired children who wanted McDonald’s for dinner and got broccoli instead. Except they are grown-ass adults who should have learned by now to not be so self-centered. And like overtired children they need to be put in a time-out, both for their own good and for the good of everyone they might harm with their selfishness.
A lot of us are struggling right now. People are torn about what they should be doing, and looking for ways to relieve stress. Relationships and friendships are being tested. I definitely believe people need to be approached with kindness and the benefit of the doubt, though I don’t consider a friendship to be real if we aren’t able to point out when we think a friend is acting in a harmful way.
Leaders of governments are also people, but they are people who asked to be put in positions of power. They asked for the public to trust them to make the right decisions in difficult times. Some are doing that. But some are not, and they need to be held accountable.