To the Editor:
When candidate Trump said: “For those suffering and hurting…. I will fix it. What do you have to lose?” We now know the answer: our jobs, our health/lives, our freedoms, our businesses, school years, sports, savings, friendships, dreams, public trust and our national pride. At his inauguration Mr. Trump depicted the nation’s cities as domestic combat zones and declared “this American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” Does a historic coronavirus pandemic, an economic collapse and recession, a social/cultural/racial crisis and most frightening, an absence of presidential leadership and competence constitute American carnage?
In early January 2020 our intelligence agencies and health experts informed Trump there was a virus spreading in China; the Chinese were attempting to conceal it; the virus was lethal and extremely contagious and without quick action, severe political and economic consequences were predicted. Mr. Trump, afraid this news would hurt his re-election chances chose to fall back on what Steve Bannon, his one time chief political strategist, describes as “flooding the zone with sh..” - overwhelming the system with disinformation, lies, distraction, and denial. Unfortunately, unlike humans, the virus could neither be bullied nor watch and listen to media propagandists amplify Mr. Trump’s lies, distort reality and excuse his incompetence. Unwilling to accept or understand evidence presented by his own medical officials he minimized and politicized the problem by tweeting anti-science and divisive demagoguery while failing to lead with a unifying, coordinated and disciplined national strategy. Left in a void of presidential leadership, governors, mayors, school superintendents, hospital administrators and businesses faced the chaos of building competing and duplicate systems against a virus that does not recognize political or geographical boundaries.
After six months, the world’s greatest country with the best universities, research facilities, technology, health systems and scientific expertise is globally pitied and humiliated. We lead the world in cases and deaths; Florida has a daily death rate roughly equal to the European Union, which is 20 times larger; our death rate is third worst and rising; unemployment hovers around 14%; our budget deficit is projected at $3.7 TRILLION; 33 million collect unemployment benefits; schools are closed; businesses are bankrupt and our lives are disrupted. In summary, our response is the world’s most ineffectual.
Is this the country you want for your children? Are we greater than this? Are we going in the right direction? We expect competency and leadership from our president in times of national crisis. This president is utterly incapable of providing either.