Some Thoughts on America
I am probably only one of millions of citizens who are baffled by and concerned by the events now in this country. This is not a “Blue” or “Red” comment or is not meant to be. It is my heart-felt worry about what I consider to be extreme positions. Here are a few that come to mind.
- In the state of Michigan, the Governor has been threatened by several persons. She now is provided with security after at least one serious plot by a nationalist extremist group to kidnap her and hold her for some sort of political ransom.
- In Michigan and now in many other states, there are heavily armed men (and some women) in some sort of “citizen’s militias.” These people wear military style camo “uniforms” and carry automatic or semi-automatic weapons. Positioned at the polling places, they claim to be “ensuring a fair election.” Do you think this is right? Is this what we have come to in the US: voting under “guard” of a silent citizens militia in near full combat gear with their finger prominently visible straight ahead over the trigger guard?
- The President has campaigned nearly non-stop with personal appearances for at least a week following his discharge from Corona Virus hospitalization at Walter Reed Hospital. He required oxygen and other remedial treatments and of course has the best medical treatment in the world. He campaigns with the usual extraordinary security details accorded Presidents and high officials. Air Force One is prominent in the background, with patriotic music and large crowds dressed mostly in red and wearing MAGA or similar hats. At some rallies, nearly no one wears a mask while in others it appears half are. Of course, the President flies in and out, with airspace completely free of any other traffic. Those in attendance must drive in or otherwise arrive, and often are involved for hours in lengthy traffic jams of cars and busses.
- Mr. Biden as well is accorded a full security detail but must travel without the unique air-space control. He holds rallies with significant spacing, often at drive-in theaters or other places where automobiles are parked and separated from one other. Compared with President Trump, these are smaller. The rhetoric is critical of the President yet more constructive and hopeful regarding national unity.
- One candidate sees a future of being brought together if victorious, while the other warns of catastrophic results of division and calamity if he loses and "Law and Order" if he wins.
- The President exudes glamor and strength. He is photogenic as he beams with a square-jawed confidence, flaxen hair and the finest suits. He has mastered the art of in-public appearances, gains strength from adoring crowds, and has the demeanor of a winner and strongman as he warns of threats. “They are coming into your suburbs.” “There will be a massive economic collapse if the Democrats win.” “The Socialists will take over.” “Your freedom of religion will be curtailed.” “The Immigrants are coming for your jobs.” “I am the only one who can protect you and bring back the jobs.” "The Corona Virus is going away.” “We are rounding the bend.” “The news you get is a hoax from every newspaper and network,” even Fox when they criticize the President or point out his errors and untrue statements.
- Biden has more of a “let’s get back together” message and takes a unifying approach. "I will be the President of us all, is his theme. He is older, nearly eighty, and seems reserved by comparison. He is not a powerful public orator, but exudes compassion. "I care about you" is his message.
- Violence by protesters on both sides has occurred with burned businesses and parts of cities. This has occurred during Black Lives Matter protests and serves to underscore the message on the right that more “Law and Order” is necessary. This is one of the President’s main themes along with “the economy is coming back” and “the virus is going away.” On the other extreme we see American Nazi groups with Swastikas marching in the streets in support of the President.
- Does our President really have to ignore the Pandemic, changing from “It will go away” and “it is a hoax” to nearly every conceivable iteration in between various claims? In fact, according to CDC data, this virus is very contagious. It has a nearly 2% overall mortality rate, as best we can tell since often is occurs with other medical issues. For people sixty-five and older, the mortality rate is 8%. Often survivors have life-long limitations with their lungs, hearts, and other organs. Aren’t we better off with reasoned policies which allow carefully considered non-political decisions to be made on keeping businesses and services open where possible? It is “full speed ahead” or “shut ‘em all down.”
- Work on a vaccine is proceeding in several countries at major labs. These have the highest priority for both humanitarian and market-size reasons. The President completely overpromises the availability however in practice it will be another year at least before the vaccine(s) are approved and available in billions of doses worldwide. No quick fix is at hand.
I suppose I could go on. Is this the country we are destined to have? Do we have to choose between armed militias in the streets, BLM riots, and burning buildings with devastated business owners and marching Nazi-style groups? What sort of country are we?
I think that President Trump could have had a very clear and decisive re-election win had he simply stated the obvious: we have a dangerous virus and need to work together to work our way through it together. We all will wear masks and use social distancing, as that does work. We will put our industrial might to work and produce PPE and ventilators and make every effort as a team to get a vaccine out as soon as soon as possible. We will open our economy as quickly but judiciously as possible. We will work with the international health community since this virus knows no borders. That way everyone would be one the same team.
We could debate other policies but not the national response to Corona Virus. But alas, for reasons I do not understand, the President denied the virus existed, then denied it would last, has continued to say things like “we are rounding the bend” while the outbreak is at a maximum. He has demeaned mask wearing and has tolerated, if not encouraged his supporters to congregate without social distancing and without masks. I totally do not understand his failure to disabuse the militias and Nazi groups who pop up like vermin from the sewers. But Mr. Trump is unique. Totally different. Is he the way forward for the country, with roughly half the people supporting his approach? If so, our cohesion as a society and indeed, as a country is in question.
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