You learn a heck of a lot about people in a crisis. It’s a time when core values come to the surface that you might otherwise not see, especially if you’re not paying attention. It’s surely true in this instance.
On the level of policy making, it’s easier to see the extent to which two opposing viewpoints either value human life, or something else instead.
There is not a difference of degrees between President Trump, on the one hand, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on the other. It is not an issue of style or communication skills. It is a difference between someone who is willing to sacrifice human life in pursuit of filthy lucre, and one who puts human life first.
In the Trump vs. Cuomo case, the difference is crystal clear. It’s a difference that political leaders and even public health experts are loath to spell out clearly, because it is their job always to try to coax and nudge the process to improve outcomes. It is the role of truth-telling leaders outside the formal system, like good journalists and columnists, to inform the public of the real consequences of the contrary views of public policy makers, like the president.
Here you have our president making it clear that he places economic activity ahead of however many human lives may be sacrificed in a futile effort to restart the U.S. economy. Some of his backers say it even more plainly, like that Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who suggested that elderly persons ought to willingly support the sacrifice of their own lives to keep the economy going.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever wondered how the German population could have sat by while Hitler condemned millions of Jews and others to the extermination camps, you have your answer in the contemptible comments by this man.
This is no exaggeration. The issue in Nazi Germany was the same as today. In a global depression, Hitler chose to throw a whole segment of his population, defined as “useless eaters,” on the scrap heap. He chose a racially-prejudiced basis for singling out the segment to exterminate. Today, people like Patrick, and by extension those like him who back Trump, are singling out a different class of “useless eaters,” in this case the aged.
It follows suit that Fox News’ Brit Hume would find Patrick’s viewpoint “reasonable.”
Comments by Trump-lovers like Glen Beck are saying similar things, like “I’d rather die than kill the country,” as if that’s the choice we face, and others cited in columnist Katie Shepherd’s article in this week’s Washington Post, entitled, “The Conservative Chorus Pushing Trump to End Social Distancing.”
(In this context, how contemptible it is for Franklin Graham, the Trump-backing Evangelical charlatan, to place ads on CNN to exploit people’s fears of the pandemic with a hollow offer of prayer.)
Trump’s own mantra that “the cure cannot be worse than the problem” in his call for the country to re-open for business by Easter is just a milder form of the same pro-Nazi call to throw a whole segment of “useless eaters” among our population into graveyards. One must assume that every Trump backer who does not at this point stand up to denounce this unspeakable treachery is, in fact, complicit with its intent.
In sharp contrast with this Trumpian call for a veritable genocide are people like New York Gov. Cuomo, who said very clearly in his daily update briefing carried live on major news networks yesterday that his commitment is to all “the people we love and will do everything we can to protect.”
Indeed, it is governors like Cuomo, Gavin Newsom of California and a growing list of others, who are holding the line along with public health officials like Anthony Fauci against the Trump treachery. For political reasons they are unwilling to really tell it like it is. But if the numbers of the dead rise dramatically, then as Bill Gates suggested, the economy will not recover if it is forced to operate over piles of dead bodies, all those bravely holding the line against the Trump “final solution” will be speaking out more outspokenly.