Democratic Dialog - By Debra Wines
In the past few weeks, I, along with many others, have witnessed a sickness that has overtaken our country and our lives. I’m not just referring to COVID-19. Donald Trump; the majority of his administration; Republicans in leadership; and his devoted followers have chosen to ignore science and medical professionals. They are willing to mock and, in some cases, attack those who don’t agree with their narrow-minded approach to a pandemic that is changing our country and the world. Their highest priority is the economy and the success of corporate America, something that has always been Donald Trump’s number one priority.
Misinformation and lies are the weapons that are being used against the American people. We have been led to believe our government cares about the 98 percent and is trying to help them in this time of crisis and uncertainty, but, in reality, that is the farthest thing from the truth. People who have been unemployed because of this virus, have spent endless hours just trying to apply for their unemployment benefits, while Republican senators, like Lindsey Graham, accuse these desperate Americans of being lazy and wanting our government (state and federal) to help them during this unique crisis.
Yet, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and other Republican leaders are giving millions of dollars to large and profitable companies, with no oversight and no accountability, as they degrade and insult the average American who needs help and could suffer appalling consequences if needed help never reaches them or reaches them too late. Mitch McConnell is more concerned about large companies being sued by their employees and the public if they don’t provide the needed PPEs; a safe working environment; and produce a safe product to the public. What kind of insanity is this? We should all understand that if this goes through, which it probably will, it won’t be limited to the end of the pandemic. We can bet that there will be no time limit against suing any of these companies for unsafe working conditions and products.
The short-sightedness of our so-called leaders is frightening. They seem to be totally unconcerned about what will possibly happen next week, or next month, or even next year. The immediate concern seems to be focused solely on Wall Street - not Main Street - and certainly not the majority of Americans.
I really do understand the desire to return to “normal.” Yet, it will never happen if we continue to be led by people who just want this virus to miraculously disappear without using the tools and science, being developed to fight this pandemic. Mr. Trump has basically isolated us from the rest of the world’s scientists and every organization that is working day and night to find out everything they can about COVID-19 and how to cure it and vaccinate against further outbreaks. This is not a “normal” flu. It is not just a “normal” mutation of other coronaviruses. It is unique and far more dangerous than Mr. Trump wants us to believe.
We don’t really know how to stop it. We do know that wearing proper masks and gloves when we are in public can help stop it from spreading so quickly. It amazes and appalls me that so many people are resistant to wearing this kind of protective gear around other people. It should not be a matter of ego or looks. It should be common courtesy and compassion for our fellow human beings and ourselves. We have been told every day that people can be carriers of this virus without having any symptoms, and, because of that fact, they can spread the virus to others without knowing it. Why, in God’s name, would anyone take that chance to be responsible for making a fellow human being ill or perhaps dying because you thought wearing a mask in public made you look weak or unpatriotic?
I do understand people wanting businesses to re-open, but is it worth your life or the life of someone you care about to be able to go into a restaurant to eat a meal? Is it worth it for you to be able to go inside any business that is doing its best to keep their customers and employees as safe as possible and refuse to do your part just to show how defiant you can be because you believe you have the right to harm others and yourself? Do you feel more “American” because you are standing up for your version of your own rights? What has happened to the compassion and regard for your fellow Americans and the workers and businesses that are doing everything they can to ensure your safety and the safety of others?
I do not understand the people who feel it should be perfectly acceptable to protest at any state capitol or public building armed with any kind of weapon. Why is it acceptable to stand in the gallery of any legislative body armed and intimidate duly elected representatives who are trying to fulfill their oath of office? Why is it acceptable for any protester to show up at any kind of rally dressed for battle? I believe our Constitution allows for peaceful protests and gatherings, but, when you show up with weapons, your intent is not peaceful, no matter what you may be protesting. All this shows, in my opinion, is that you are not confident with your arguments against what you perceive as a malevolent threat to your rights or injustice you perceive to be detrimental and harmful to the way you want live your life.
I believe God gave us tools, curiosity, and intelligence to use wisely, especially in the times like this. I also believe He gave us many gifts that we have yet to use to make our lives, and those of others, better for the good of all mankind. We must use everything He has given us.