America’s Crossroad Ahead: Civilization or Carnage?

April 24, 2020

Times of crisis reveal what societies are really made of. We are at a crossroads. Our collective response to this pandemic will tell us whether America is a real civilization or merely a commercial enterprise. Do we truly value human lives or simply worship the ‘Golden Calf’ of the economy?

Civilization is about having values, ethical codes, and a way of life that make our lives meaningful. It is about honor, loyalty, self-sacrifice, compassion, and love. Commerce is about making money. Money is nice, but it can’t buy you love. Money might help you get you on a ventilator, but it won’t buy you a way off of it either.

As a nation, our response to this crisis so far has been awful. I’m not talking about our doctors, nurses, food providers, etc. They have been great. I’m talking about leadership. Our leader is in in power because of one of our collective choices.

In just a few months, Trump’s behavior has made the enormous self-sacrifice by millions of Americans on the frontlines of this pandemic not only necessary, but supremely dangerous. Millions of US citizens, giving it their all every day, simply can’t make up for the harm Trump has done. Trying to re-start the economy before we have tests and a cure threatens to undo most of that heroic work.

Trump has tried to shift the blame for this catastrophe on to everyone he can think of: China, the World Health Organization (WHO), Obama, etc. All that just doesn’t wash. A simple timeline tells you all you need to know:

  • US intelligence warned of a new virus outbreak in China in November, 2019.
  • WHO was officially notified by China around December 31 and sent a team out the next day.
  • In mid-January, Joe Biden wrote an op-ed piece warning Trump of the possible danger.
  • Around February10, the first COVID-19 cases were reported in both South Korea and the US.
  • South Korea took guidance and testing from WHO. America rejected and ignored WHO tests and advice.
  • Throughout February, Trump did virtually nothing except play down the threat. South Korea started a massive response including widespread testing. They ended up with about 4,000 cases, and some 300 deaths.
  •  We now have almost 900,000 cases and 50,000 deaths.

We didn’t need China or WHO to tell us about the outbreak- US intelligence already knew about it. Why criticize China for under reporting deaths and lack of transparency? Trump does the same thing on national television every day.

In 2016 Republicans screamed that the four Americans killed in Benghazi were the worst tragedy since 9/11. “American Carnage,” Trump cried! We are currently losing a 9/11 number of Americans every day or two. This is true American carnage. The right wing apparently just doesn’t care. It is commerce before values. No investigations please! Just get back to work!

The “anti-lockdown protesters” are a dangerous absurdity: these people thought they could outlast a nuclear war. A few weeks of “social distancing” have left them stir crazy. In the aftermath of a real nuclear war they apparently would have rushed out of the shelters early and died in droves.

Those who urge us to sacrifice human lives at the altar of “re-opening the economy” are a tragic comment on our nation’s condition. Talk about losing sight of basic values: we work so we can live our lives—we don’t live our lives (or die) so we can work.

Now Trump has suggested that “injections” of UV light or household disinfectants might cure the virus. The rest of the world now knows they are negotiating with a certifiable idiot. Hard to see how that makes us stronger… Most of this carnage was simply avoidable. We must make better choices if we are to be a civilization, not just a platform for “the economy.” That would have to include electing a competent, sane president. Re-opening the economy now is just a recipe for more carnage.

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