Virus wrong issue to politicize
April 1, 2020
COVID-19 has us all living through a great story.
We’re in the middle of the excitement now and all waiting to see how it comes out.
COVID-19 has a lot of heroes and villains, too.
The disease itself is a great villain. It can be nasty and deadly. It sneaks around in healthy people with no symptoms and then insinuates itself into the vulnerable.
The disease is also unpredictable. It can leave one body after only a few sniffles, and devastate or even kill even young people who carefully watch their health.
The human heroes and villains are far more interesting, though, and who they are depends on your political leanings.
We all agree, however, that the real heroes in this crisis are the folks who provide medical care, from the first responders to the discharge nurse.
They can’t maintain 6-foot distances. They have been forced to improvise due to short supplies, like the nurses who have been using trash bags as protective equipment.
On top of that, some have contracted the disease because their best efforts sometimes force them to work without adequate protection.
The rest of the heroes and villains we hear about seem to be elected officials. It is our misfortune that COVID-19 struck in the middle of political campaign season, and it has muddied the political waters on both sides.
The Democrats blame Trump.
Trump blames the Democrats and lately, for political expediency, China.
The Republicans blame Democrats or China, or pretend COVID-19 isn’t really a problem worthy of serious concern.
Trump might have been late for the party, but he did get the message. He’s a hero for recognizing the urgency of the situation and taking appropriate action.
But he makes himself vulnerable to ridicule by daily bypassing great opportunities to shut up and let his excellent team of experts talk about what they’re doing.
Would Obama have done better? We have to remember Obama was often cautious to a fault.
The Democrats are trying to be heroes by pointing out Trump’s delays and daily doses of misinformation.
This makes them a little villainous for getting in the way of conscientious efforts to defeat COVID-19 without wrecking the economy, as if Trump hasn’t already done a great job of getting in his own way.
Quietly, however, members of Congress have done heroes’ work. And Trump signed their compromise bill into law on Friday, dedicating trillions of dollars to fight COVID-19 and its effects on the economy.
Both mainstream and right-wing media have been heroes and villains. Both have heroically tracked the path of the coronavirus under constant deadline pressure.
Mainstream media, however, have been too eager to place blame and ridicule Trump’s daily doses of misinformation at the expense of useful information.
Right-wing media continue to often belittle the threat and promote dumb conspiracy theories, like blaming COVID-19 on Democrats bent on defeating Trump.
Even with elections pending, our elected officials and media could all be heroes by recognizing that COVID-19 is the wrong issue to politicize.
Steve Hansen writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: