The Left Hand and the Right Hand

But you don’t hear them talking about COVID, COVID, to be specific, COVID-19. That name gets further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it the Chinese virus. And despite the fact that we … I have done a phenomenal job with it, I shut down the United States to very heavily infected but all people from China in late January, which is months earlier than other people would have done it, if they would have done it at all. I saved hundreds of thousands of lives. We don’t ever get even a mention. Then I closed it down to Europe early, closed it down because I saw what was happening. And by the way, most people said, don’t do it, don’t do it. We saved hundreds of thousands of lives and all we do is get hit on like we’re terrible. And what we’ve done with the ventilators and with the medical equipment. And with testing, you know, testing is a double edged sword. We’ve tested now 25 million people. It’s probably 20 million people more than anybody else. Germany’s done a lot. South Korea has done a lot.

I hope these two remarks, the image and a speech, given in the same context of a pandemic, is a paradox made perfectly clear.

Supposedly the rally had far fewer participants than at first thought, and the president had to close down an overflow rally space because not enough people showed up. What is missing in much of the coverage of the event is why the even took place at all. Seeing this many people, gathered together shoulder to shoulder, is distressing.

The painful reality of living in many of the inland states like Texas and Oklahoma is that COVID-19 is not going away. Let’s not get around it: our behavior is going to determine a lot of what happens before school starts in the fall, and before the election in November. The very essential aspect of coronavirus and how it spreads is that it involves being close to another person. Close enough to where you can breathe whatever it is you’re shedding.

Just looking at this rally connotes a blatant deflection of the obvious. How can the president claim that so much has been done for the country, when a very apolitical disease is probably spreading among the audience in this picture? Instead of spreading them out, they chose to place them in bunched up mass behind the podium so that a camera could collect faces behind the president.

How can the president ever claim that testing is a “double-edged sword?” The madness of this phrase is beyond question. You only know what you can see, so the more knowledge we can get on who has this virus is of the utmost importance. To deny facts in order to look good is an act of tyranny.

On Tyranny by Snyder, Timothy (ebook)

People always assume that democracy, since it has been around for so long in the United States, is a given. That it is inevitable. The truth is that democracy has been in place only recently, after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Honestly the truth is far deeper than that: democracy is always in revision. Multiple drafts are always required. That is what Timothy Snyder mean when he wrote On Tyranny. It is a great little book that you can read in an afternoon. But it is profound and it bears rereading every time we have any sort of authority figure reject facts in the way we see above.

Snyder wrote the twenty lessons after the results of the presidential election in 2016. Fearful of the ramifications of a man who promoted dictatorial rulers, had private ties with Russian Oligarchs, and continuously creates an “Us vs. Them” dichotomy between him and the press, Snyder takes aim at the beginning of the Trump presidency, which turns out to be poignant for the rest of it.

But Snyder also has plenty to say which is universal, and his lessons from Stalinist Russia, The Nazi Regime and the Holocaust, as well as various other political problems like gerrymandering and corporate ties to political campaigning, and it’s clear that the book reaches further than current events. Democracy is and ought to be a perennial development, and it should be constantly read upon, enthused about, and discussed.

The president should be publicly shamed not because few people showed up to the rally. He should be shamed because he had the rally in the first place. He should be rebuked for his statements on COVID-19 when his actions speak otherwise. And he needs to keep himself safe!

For crying out loud, don’t shake hands with young people. They are particularly susceptible to asymptomatic cases!

For crying out loud, wear a mask.

The problem with a rally also is where these people came from. If they are all local, well then fine. It will be bad for Oklahoma.

But to have people collide from all around the country could pose a dangerous mixing event. As we’ve previously seen from spring breakers in Florida earlier this year, these kinds of mingling moments disperse the virus far faster.

Temperature checks were said to occur before going in. But this is no indication of who actually has the virus. All it shows is a symptom.

Leaders lead by example. The impression I get from the perspective of other world leaders is that America is not taking the virus seriously. Beijing and Seoul have had new hot spots. So even countries who have had the virus far longer than we have are having a difficult time containing it. Compare that to us, where the virus is achieving community spread and running rampant. More people will die needlessly on behalf of ego.

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