Seen from abroad today, as the deadly statistics surge–2.5 million cases and 125,000 deaths to date–it looks as if the Americans are orchestrating their own genocide.
They’ve Got Schisms in their Isms
“But a solution that covers all Americans indistinctly is socialism!” you say. That’s correct. But, call it what you will, some form of socialism is the only possible solution to the Americans’ current crisis. A virus on the rampage doesn’t distinguish between the struggling poor folks and the “better class of people.” It rips through all their houses and schools, their churches and country clubs. That said, the consequences for racial and ethnic minorities are vastly more serious, due to their already tenuous living conditions. (Source: cdc.gov) If the American government were capable of organizing and implementing a country-wide set of measures–testing, contact tracing, social distancing, masks and universal medical care–they certainly wouldn’t call it socialism. But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
Such an optimistic eventuality as effective government intervention is far from assured in today’s Washington, because the Trump administration is the least enlightend since Atilla the Hun. Then too, Americans have been inculcated for generations with the notion that collective solutions are un-American and it probably wouldn’t occur to them to demand any. (We might make an exception of Massachusetts which, not for no reason, is called not a “state,” but a “Commonwealth.” Even Mitt Romney was infused with that spirit when he was governor there and instituted the most advanced public health system in the US.)
Tricky Left Turn Ahead
Every country has its ruling isms but the US got theirs dangerously inverted and we are now seeing–and they are living–the results. Instead of embracing some form of egalitarianism, collectivism or, yes, socialism at least to some degree, the government tries to get by with less comprehensive, less expensive solutions. That’s because they were weaned on rugged individualism, which is just another way of saying crass selfishness. That individualism is accompanied by no-holds-barred capitalism; and perpetual militarism. None of these offers effective solutions in a virus pandemic.
Any deviation, however slight, to the left of these sacred American isms is perceived as bolshevism, and we know how dreadful that is. So where does that leave the American people–all of them–faced with their gravest crisis ever? They’re caught between a rock and the Republican Party. We are seeing the results in the news every day. And they brought it on themselves with their bovine devotion to their noxious isms.
The Frosting on the Gruesome Cake–The Leadership Crisis
Anyone who observes President Donald Trump has noticed that his “leadership” is limited to shameless self promotion wrapped in so-called “libertarian,” just-let-nature-take-its-course ideology. If it was deficient all along, now, in the face of a deadly contagion, it’s catastrophic. The Guardian observed yesterday (Jun. 29,2020),
“Unbelievable” accurately describes America today. The country is on the brink of a huge surge of Covid-19, as the virus tears through the heartlands while the president praises himself for having done “a great job” and blithely predicts the scourge will “fade away”.
It’s the same old song of ignorance and arrogance, but the stakes are so much higher.
Dr. Tom Frieden, who heads the global health initiative Resolve to Save Lives comments:
“The contrast with other countries is striking. South Korea had 30 cases a day and they flipped out. The US now has 30,000 cases a day and there are people shrugging and saying ‘It’s no big deal’.”
In Trump’s rally in Tulsa last Saturday–The Guardian called it a “viral incubation party”– he told his fans that in his view testing for coronavirus was a “double-edged sword… When you do testing you are going to find more cases. So I told my people, slow the testing down.”
Doesn’t the United States have a law against criminal ignorance?
All across the country, acts of personal rebellion are surfacing. Brad Harper of the Montgomery Advertiser observes, “Residents of Palm Beach, Florida, erupted in anger against a mandatory mask order, calling it the “devil’s law” and an affront to “God’s breathing system.” Crowds of unmasked people have been gathering in Las Vegas’s reopened casinos, and Covid-19 cases have soared. In Arizona, the Republican sheriff of Pinal county vowed not to enforce the lockdown on grounds of individual liberty, and promptly contracted the disease himself.
Then there’s this week’s announcement that the Trump administration will soon end federal funding for 13 testing sites – seven in ravaged Texas. President Trump, himself, has become the leader of a small minority of zealots who withold that the coronavirus is being exaggerated for turbid reasons. With this kind of leadership coming from the top of the governing pyramid, it’s hard to be optimistic about convincing Americans to take reasonable measures against the virus. The president’s unreasonable chickens are coming home to hatch.
The View from Here
Seen from abroad, as the deadly statistics surge–2.5 million cases and 125,000 deaths to date–and some sources would multiply those numbers by 10–it looks as if the Americans are orchestrating their own genocide. The quasi social Darwinism that has ruled their country for decades has executed a mortiferous backflip that has taken them by surprise. And they lack the intellectual and moral resources to confront the greatest crisis their country has ever faced, a crisis that all the rest of the industrialized world is coping with in greater or lesser degree. Blind and leaderless, many Americans think/hope they can overcome the virus by faith and defiance. Unaccustomed to any form of collectivity or solidarity and alien to reasoned thought, they are incapable of uniting behind a concerted effort to combat their common crisis. That’s “common” as in community, commonwealth, common good, and common sense. And common grave.
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