Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

COVID-19: UNITY IS STRENGTH, MR. TRUMP – NOT YOUR SICK­EN­ING NON­SENSE

- By Ameen Iz­zadeen

There are peo­ple who learn lessons not to make mis­takes; there are peo­ple who learn lessons from their mis­takes and there are peo­ple who won’t learn a les­son from their mis­takes even if they are hit hard or their ac­tion al­most caused their deaths. United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is one such per­son who does not be­lieve in learning lessons from mis­takes.

He is reck­less. He is not fit to lead be­cause he does not seem to care about those whom he leads. Know­ing well he was a walk­ing time bomb or, more pre­cisely, a bio terror bomb, he set a bad ex­am­ple by re­mov­ing his masks and say­ing a few words to the jour­nal­ists gath­ered in the White House lawn no sooner he ar­rived there from the state-run Wal­ter Reed Me­dial Cen­tre on Mon­day.

Imag­ine the amount of virus that came from his breath and latched on to var­i­ous ob­jects in the White House as he walked past with­out a mask. He came to the White House with­out be­ing given a Covid-19 neg­a­tive cer­tifi­cate by the med­i­cal team. He seems not to care about the fact that he could be a su­per spreader. It is not that he does not know what he was do­ing. In his book Rage, award-win­ning in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Bob Wood­ward says Trump knew the grav­ity of the pan­demic but he lied to the peo­ple. “This is deadly stuff. You just breathe the air, and that’s how it’s passed,” Wood­ward quoted Trump as say­ing dur­ing an in­ter­view for the book.

By re­mov­ing his masks in front of the cam­era this Mon­day de­spite the fact that more White House staff mem­bers were be­ing af­flicted with the virus, Trump was de­lib­er­ately send­ing a wrong sig­nal or show­ing green light to the peo­ple for mass sui­cide, while shirk­ing his re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure pub­lic health. Even be­fore he tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19 last Thurs­day, White House pub­lic events and his cam­paign meet­ings, which get tele­cast world­wide, were not known to be strictly fol­low­ing the ba­sic Covid guide­lines such as phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing and wear­ing face­masks. What’s more, he even poked fun at his pres­i­den­tial race ri­val Joe Bi­den’s habit of wear­ing face masks, call­ing it an at­tempt to hide a plas­tic surgery scar.

Trump’s dis­dain for face­masks, which ex­perts be­lieve cur­tail the spread of the pan­demic, is puerile. Prob­a­bly it stems from a dimwit­ted de­sire to dis­play ir­ra­tional machismo and tit­il­late al­tright power wor­ship­pers and evan­gel­i­cal na­tion­al­ists who to­gether form the bulk

of his sup­port base.

Back in the Oval Of­fice on Wed­nes­day, in­stead of quar­an­tin­ing in his White House suite, Trump in his usual hubris, bragged he was brave enough to ex­pose him­self to an ex­per­i­men­tal drug. “This was a bless­ing in dis­guise - I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it and it was in­cred­i­ble,” he said, promis­ing he would made this won­der drug pro­duced by Re­gen­eron Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals avail­able to all Amer­i­cans free of charge. The fact that he was no author­ity on vi­rol­ogy or medicine is lost on the ‘no­body knows bet­ter than me’ pres­i­dent, who, just as a con­ceited brag­gart would do, also tweeted on Wed­nes­day that “the doc­tors said they had never seen a body kill the coro­n­avirus like my body. They tested my DNA, it wasn’t DNA. It was USA….”

Trump is not un­known for im­proper con­duct or ir­re­spon­si­ble lead­er­ship, but he was sick­en­ing this week when his fool­har­di­ness prompted him to re­move his face­mask, ig­nore Covid guide­lines, ut­ter or tweet balder­dash and set a bad ex­am­ple.

Po­lit­i­cal power is thrust on peo­ple like Trump be­cause of a flaw in democ­racy, which we de­fend as the worst form of gov­ern­ment ex­cept all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Even in a coun­try of high democ­racy lit­er­acy, peo­ple can still make the mis­take of choos­ing the wrong lead­ers who will work against the peo­ple’s well­be­ing. A democ­racy will re­main a flawed democ­racy un­til such time its loose ends are tied up to pre­vent un­fit dum­b­asses and un­scrupu­lous politi­cos from mak­ing use of the peo­ple’s fran­chise to come to power and then abuse power while ig­nor­ing their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

The United States has been the worst hit by the pan­demic with seven mil­lion peo­ple af­fected and more than 210,000 deaths. Be­sides, the US per capita death rate is the worst among the de­vel­oped na­tions. These fig­ures are a damn­ing in­dict­ment on Trump’s lead­er­ship or the lack of it, as pointed out by Demo­cratic Party’s vice

pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ka­mala Har­ris dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s vice-pres­i­den­tial de­bate.

Trump should have led from the front and given global lead­er­ship in the fight against the Covid pan­demic. But what we saw was a bick­er­ing Trump of­ten find­ing fault with China, call­ing the coro­n­avirus as China virus and ac­cus­ing China of de­lib­er­ately spread­ing the out­break. Even on Wed­nes­day, in an ego-boost­ing mes­sage aimed at his re­elec­tion, Trump re­newed his at­tacks on China, telling Amer­i­cans: “You’re not go­ing to pay for it. It wasn’t your fault that this hap­pened. It was China’s fault. And China is go­ing to pay a big price. This was China’s fault.”

As the leader of the world’s most sci­en­tif­i­cally ad­vanced na­tion, Trump should have taken the re­spon­si­bil­ity upon him­self to launch a co­or­di­nated global re­sponse to the pan­demic. To date, world lead­ers have not held an in­ter­na­tional sum­mit – vir­tual or oth­er­wise – to de­feat the virus through a bind­ing COVID co­op­er­a­tion treaty. Rather, what is ev­i­dent is a crim­i­nal geopo­lit­i­cal game where ri­val na­tions try to de­stroy each other dur­ing the pan­demic or gain fame or im­moral prof­its from a covid cure.

If Trump had felt it was an in­sult to join ri­vals China or Rus­sia in an ef­fort to find a vac­cine for Covid, he should have at least sup­ported the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s COVAX ini­tia­tive to find a vac­cine. On the con­trary, he with­drew funds for the WHO. He failed to re­al­ize that the world is fac­ing a sit­u­a­tion where we will sink to­gether un­less we work to­gether. What we are fac­ing to­day is akin to an alien in­va­sion, about which umpteen movies have been made and books writ­ten.

Sen­si­ble world lead­ers won’t be think­ing only about their own coun­tries, when the planet is about to be de­stroyed by sav­age ex­trater­res­trial be­ings. If they act in a self­ish man­ner, they will be tolling the death knell for the hu­man race. Un­less the world lead­ers unite to fight the Covid pan­demic, we can­not sur­vive.

 ??  ?? Pres­i­dent Trump takes off his face­mask on Mon­day as he ar­rives at the White House upon his re­turn from Wal­ter Reed Med­i­cal Cen­ter, where he un­der­went treat­ment for Covid-19. (Pic by Ni­cholas KAMM/AFP)
Pres­i­dent Trump takes off his face­mask on Mon­day as he ar­rives at the White House upon his re­turn from Wal­ter Reed Med­i­cal Cen­ter, where he un­der­went treat­ment for Covid-19. (Pic by Ni­cholas KAMM/AFP)
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