As I write, I am reading stories of people unable to get needed medical care. A 73 year old woman has been sitting in a chair for over 29 hours with a high fever, coughing and experiencing breathing issues in a New York City hospital emergency room. Hospitals are overrun with patients like her and do not have the beds and staff to help her.
At 67, I can’t promise wisdom but I can offer perspective and a little history. I remember times before computers, cell phones, the Internet, 24 hour news, cable TV and e-books. Back in 1960s, our biggest fear was an atomic war with Russia. School children endured air raid drills which was basically huddling under your desk and closing your eyes. I wax nostalgic as I now huddle at home and my worry is not radiation from an atomic bomb from Russia but catching a virus from China. Unfortunately this is not a drill and casualties are rising every day.
In 1960, I remember a young President who suffered some early growing pains like The Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba but grew steadily competent in the job. Even though I was only 10 at the time of the Cuban Missile crisis, I understood how his leadership and good judgment pulled us out of a major nuclear confrontation. He was assisted by a number of very smart people like his brother, Bobby Kennedy. Donald Trump is now being assisted by his inept son-in law Jarrod Kushner, who inspires as much confidence as Barney Fife in a fire fight. From JFK to Trump, how did this country deteriorate this fast in sixty years!
How did we slide downwards from a President who pushed this country to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade (and succeeded) to one whose major campaign promise (other than a tax cut for the rich) was to build an ineffective wall? Kennedy’s program landed astronauts on a target 238,900 miles away. Trump can’t deliver masks, breath equipment and other needed medical supplies to a battered New York City 225 miles to his north.
In our current crisis, we have a President more concerned about his television ratings than the number of people suffering and dying from coronavirus. His press conferences are replete with self praise, false information and dangerous life and death advice that his medical experts are forced to quickly disavow. He uses press conferences as replacements for his public campaign appearances in front of fawning audiences. At a recent news conference, he had a pillows huckster lecture the press instead of using the time to have a doctor or scientist provide guidance to a fearful public. Trump describes himself as a “war time President.” Trump is, like Mussolini.
Though Trump has garnered and deserved most of my ire, there are also too many in the public disregarding social isolation guidelines. Maybe if they can imagine themselves, their parent or other loved ones in a desperate plight like the 73 year old woman above, maybe they will act responsibility and Americans can start to move out of their self imposed bunkers and into the Spring sunshine.