After the crisis passes, things will change in America

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

Obviously, the single most important thing with the current COVID-19 crisis is keeping you and your family safe.

We’re reached the point where the virus is impacting everyone, whether it means your business, your kids in school (my son attends Temple, which will close its dorms next Saturday — and we’re awaiting updates on my daughter at Nevada-Reno, which has gone to online classes, but not closed dorms — and now I’m increasingly worried we won’t be able to get her home any time soon), not to mention the hit to your retirement fund and investments.

As you may, Gov. Tom Wolf has asked all non-essential businesses to close for the time being. The schools are closed. Life is entering a new and a bit scary phase for all of us.

And yes, as compared to the real concern for the lives and safety of our friends and loved ones, these are small issues. But no one will go through this without impact.

For now, it is those impacts and keeping the people we love safe, that will be the focus.

People are scared, with reason. COVID-19 has the potential to seriously sicken or kill people we love.

But eventually — and hopefully sooner rather than later — the virus will burn out, the health crisis will begin to fade and people will begin to ask why this happened.

And yes, a deadly virus is beyond anyone’s control.

But it is the response, and the resulting mitigation, that one must judge. And that is where the fear will turn to anger.

While South Korea, Taiwan and other countries managed to contain this Coronavirus, it is evident that the United States failed miserably.

In short, we were not prepared. We did not take the threat seriously, did not make the needed preparations. The government cut CDC pandemic response positions on the National Security Council and then slow-played the need for action, with some officials claiming it to be a “hoax.”

It was not a hoax.

There still are not nearly enough tests — at this writing, in weeks, the US has tested less people than South Korea typically tests in a single day or two. The Trump Administration refused to use tests from the World Health Organization, insisting on waiting for domestically produced tests. Some news reports suggest Trump wanted a delay in testing to keep positive results low to aid his reelection effort.

Whatever happened, within weeks the entire story will come out and I suspect it reflect very poorly on Trump and his fellow Republicans.

We may find ourselves in the kind of reckoning we haven’t seen since 1932 — the last time a world-wide crisis showed we had a President incapable of meeting the moment and fundamentally broken socioeconomic structure.

There are some differences, of course. While Herbert Hoover was an intelligent man, he lacked the vision or will to lead in a time of crisis — that moment required a Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Donald Trump lacks even the intellect or fundamental honesty of a Hoover. He is unqualified to lead in the best of times, in the worst, as the events of this past week have proven, he is a clear and present danger to the people of the United States.

In 1933, as fear built, many in Congress offered Roosevelt “dictatorial” power to attempt to fight the financial disaster. Roosevelt declined, but did get massive, bipartisan support for bold strokes (some of which didn’t work out) to attempt to meet the moment.

Roosevelt and Democrats held complete control of government through 1948 — and beyond the Dwight Eisenhower Presidency and brief GOP Congressional control – and primary control through 1968. That era led to massive, lasting change from Social Security to Medicare, the voting Rights Act, the War on Poverty and desegregation. Yes, there were questionable wars in Korea and VietNam, but in general it was a time of rapid social policy change — change largely for the good.

Could the current situation launch an entirely new generation of political domination by Democrats and new, liberal ideas? Honestly, I think so. The generations under age 40 are very liberal as compared with their elders and it is that generation that will effect change.

That will come with time.

We must get through the current crisis first.

Right now, we must listen to local, county and state authorities. They are acting to safeguard our communities. Take any information coming out of the Trump Administration with a grain of salt — and evaluate it based on what the facts on the ground suggest, not what Trump says.

It is a sad state of affairs that we have to suggest ignoring the President, but he has constantly misinformed and lied about the status of the disease — even Friday, he largely invented a Google effort to triage and guide potential COVID-19 victims. We cannot trust him.

Your governor, the County Commissioners (and County Health) and your local municipal and school district officials are telling the truth, even when it hurts. They all have your best interest at heart. Listen to them, stay home as much as possible, don’t hoard, and pay attention.

Things will get better. It will take time, patience and the ability to hang together.



On a lighter note: I keep getting text messages from the Bernie Sanders campaign addressed to “Wesley.” Sadly for the Bern folks, they’re sending messages to the Dread Pirate Roberts instead (a reference to The Princess Bride — if you’ve never seen it, use your extra free time to watch it, it’s a classic). I’ve asked once already to be removed — I’m supporting Biden and have already called for Bernie to leave the race — but to no avail.

I get that campaigns need to go digital right now, but this is downright silly. Of course, I suspect no one will be contacted by the Sanders Campaign after Tuesday night.

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