Friday, October 30, 2020

 Day 4: COVID-19


For a year, we have explored issues of interest vis-à-vis the 2020 election, yet I have been remiss in that I have not addressed the pandemic head-on. It is, without question, the defining issue of the year and perhaps of an entire generation.


At the end of 2019, an infectious disease began to spread worldwide. It cannot be ruled out that COVID-19 found its way out of a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The Chinese government, notoriously tight-lipped when faced with information that reflects poorly on its regime, an intrinsic characteristic of communism, was less than forthcoming in regard to containment failure and disease spread.


However, this is not where the story of the pandemic begins. Let us momentarily return to 2014. The Obama-Biden administration, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded $3.4 million to an organization called the EcoHealth Alliance to study coronaviruses. The alliance then provided $600,000 of that grant, or 17.6 percent of the grant, to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Infer from that what you will. Simply said, the left’s faith in globalism may come with strings when being pursued with nations that have as a fundamental ideology the conquering of free societies and free markets.


Back to this year.


In the same week that President Trump placed restrictions on travel from China, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency. Interestingly, so-called public health experts made recommendations against travel restrictions, as reported in the Jan. 31, 2020 article, “Health experts warn China travel ban will hinder coronavirus response,” in STAT News.


The day after the travel restrictions were announced, former Vice President Biden, the Democrat candidate for President tweeted, “We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.” Interestingly Biden viewed Trump’s actions at the time as hysteria and fearmongering. His message about Trump more recently is that he didn’t create enough fear or concern about the outbreak. This is a common ploy of career politicians trying to have it both ways on an issue.


Nearly a month later, on Feb. 24, 2020, Speaker of the House (third in line to the Presidency) walked maskless through crowded Chinatown streets, shaking hands, hugging people and talking with groups while failing to perform even the most rudimentary of precautions (i.e., washing hands and distancing). She said, “That’s what we’re trying to do today is to say everything is fine here. Come, because precautions have been taken. The city is on top of the situation.” And now she lectures the administration on the timeliness of its response.


Shakespeare sets the stage for a pithy summation by a friend of Mark Twain. “Alas, the storm is come again! My best way is to creep under his gaberdine. There is no other shelter hereabouts. Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. I will here shroud till the dregs of the storm be past.” So says Trinculo, the king’s jester, in Act 2, Scene 2 of “The Tempest.” Roughly 250 years later, American essayist Charles Dudley Warner would play on Shakespeare’s words, stating, “Politics make strange bedfellows.”


Can one disagree, upon reflection, that it is strange indeed that the world’s leader in democracy should bed down with the world’s leader in communism through the funding of research that would so closely be tied to a pandemic? Keep in mind that the funding was made by a U.S. government agency and processed through an intermediary, the aforementioned alliance. Keep also in mind that of the bedfellows, China is unabashedly communist. The social democrat philosophy of then-President Obama and then-Vice President Biden are as close as we get in otherwise mainstream politics to communism. Realizing that, perhaps these bedfellows are not so strange after all.


It should be noted that this blog posting is not intended to absolve the Trump administration of all fault. The President and members of the administration regularly violate the tenants of public health. That said, there is so much yet to know about COVID-19 and its various mutations, that the efficacy of handwashing, masks, distancing, etc. remain unclear. Take a look at the Biden-Harris campaign organizations. They, too, are falling prey to the virus.


In the debates, we heard about each candidate’s plan for addressing the pandemic. Production and distribution of PPE, vaccines and therapeutics are at the heart of each candidate’s plan. President Trump has the added facet of specificity in that he plans to use the military and its infrastructure for the deployment of future vaccines. Biden claims that Trump has no plan, but he seems to fail to describe any plan of his own that doesn’t mirror what the Trump administration is currently doing. 


The question before the voters, at least those who may be factoring the pandemic and the government’s response into their electoral calculus, is which candidate has best demonstrated an understanding of the virus and has best reacted to it. 

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