By Ron Huff •
Once the initial wave of the Covid 19 Pandemic has passed, what will the world look like? I hope that things will normalize when the initial peak has passed, but will there be a new normal? This event has certainly pointed up some weaknesses and failures of the current system. Will our government representatives learn any lessons from this? Perhaps a better question is whether anything learned will be translated into improving our country and world and our readiness for future pandemics.
Why were we not better prepared for this outbreak? There is no way to be prepared for a specific new virus, but there are certainly ways to prepare for a pandemic in general. It appears from reports from sources that I consider reliable, that this failing has been across party lines and administrations. It doesn’t take a genius to envision that there will be a huge need for protective equipment, ventilators, testing and temporary hospital facilities when, and not if, an outbreak occurs. This is a no brainer, and no brains is what we see over and over from our government. How can we spend trillions policing the world and ignore the obvious?
How have we let “fake news” become so insidious that people no longer seek the truth? How can partiers be so insensitive that they ignore the pleas of government to implement common sense measures in the face of a tragedy which they are surely making worse? Why are the bars packed the night before they are closed when the dangers have been apparent for days? Do people not believe that this is really happening? How can that be? Who could believe that this was a hoax perpetrated by anyone for any reason?
I have just finished watching on HBO a documentary about fake news, which is worth watching. Unfortunately, some will scorn the program itself as fake news and propaganda, rather than seek to understand why this is hurting all of us. On this program, some of the propagators of misinformation, which is used to fool people into making misinformed choices, simply dismiss any notion that this is bad and harmful. This “all is fair” attitude is at the root of many of our problems. Our politicians themselves adopt this attitude every day as they sacrifice truth and morality at the altar of winning, regardless of the degradation of the principles that should be sacred.
Will the fact that many people will die unnecessarily because our leaders have not prepared us prudently, or taken unpopular steps as quickly as needed, result in any change of behavior? What will happen the next time a bill is introduced to protect the public in a reasonable manner that competes with a more politically compelling bill? Unless we hold our politicians accountable, nothing will change.
Will proof that a large portion of our citizens teeter on the brink of financial crisis every day in any way change the fundamental way in which we support corporations over citizens? How much stimulus will be misused because there has been no planning for the events that we are seeing? The current chaos was predictable and, to some degree, preventable by a government willing to make a few hard choices. While we, as Americans, will not allow ourselves to be subjected to totalitarian measures, such as those adopted in China, we certainly should have been as prepared as South Korea to react swiftly and decisively to control the outbreak. Who is minding the store on this? Our government does not operate in a vacuum. Health officials communicate around the world through many channels, including the World Health Organization. Our government chose to turn a blind eye to smart preparedness.
Things will normalize although it will take a while. Will we stockpile needed equipment, and make well thought out plans for the next pandemic or will we continue our course of “after the fact,” hurried, not fully informed, reactionary adjustments to the next crisis?
Will we come together in this crisis, learn from the failures and successes, and agree that when the excrement hits the fan, we need to be able to find the real truth, have some real leadership, accept the guidance of real experts and sacrifice some minor inconvenience for the greater good. If we can change our society a little in that direction, we will be better off in the short and long run.
Let’s vote out everyone in Congress.