This weekend the Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote an opinion piece on how the world has at times, loved, hated, and envied America, but for the first time in our history we are to be pitied. The widely circulated article made the rounds this weekend on Facebook. I think I received it half a dozen times.
The column is a painful view of what the current President has created with his incessant, self-centered, ratings driven, need for attention, which combined with his preternatural ability to ignore reality and be unprepared has led to fulfilling his promises. He promised we’d be ‘winning again’. He’s right. We’re winning the race to have the most COVID cases, at least the tested and confirmed ones, which brings along with it the number of deaths.
To be fair or “give the devil his due” as my dear mother would say, we have the highest numbers because we have the most testing. So we’re going to find the most cases because we are looking for them.
O’Toole states that we fumbled the opportunity to prevent this human tragedy and he’s right and he’s wrong. Contrary to the President’s assertion that he “takes no responsibility at all” in fact he has total responsibility here, unlike when he says he has “total authority”, which he in fact doesn’t have. Seems like he misread the job description before he took the job.
As President it is his job to tackle the big problems. He can’t just ignore them and hope they go away, “one day, like a miracle” as he hopes the Coronavirus will. His job is have the best team around him of watchdogs, then listen to them, believe them, and act accordingly. Apparently he doesn’t want to do that.
So as a consequence of his disregard of information, and let’s face it, he has access to the very best resources for data and ‘boots on the ground’ knowledge, he fumbled the response, and that has led to over 50,000 deaths in a few weeks. Today or tomorrow we will surpass the losses suffered in Vietnam, a conflict that lasted about 11 years.
In contrast to the President’s halting, fumbling, bumbling and incoherent statements and responses, we have American Industry responding. In a 60 Minutes episode this Sunday, examples of big companies and small companies pulling rabbits out of hats to respond were showcased. Giant corporations like General Motors mobilized teams in hours and had facilities repurposed and people trained in days to begin the production of ventilators.
The U.S. Army repurposed its large pool of tailors to begin manufacturing facemasks for service-members. Ford Motors began making masks and ventilators as well. Doctors across the country have created and modified workarounds to provide for their patients.
Janitorial companies are responding with programs for deep cleaning to prepare for the eventual return of our workforce. New companies are springing up to deal with the current reality of life in a pandemic. The biotech firms are working around the clock to find vaccines and treatments. The size of the response to this crisis is immense. I fully expect that we will find better and better ways to deal with the Coronavirus. It may not come from America, but I’m betting on us. American entrepreneurial zeal is bubbling up again, now that the shock and fear is waning and the need for a more rational response is clearly needed, since we wont be getting one from the President.
So to Mr. O’Toole I say, yes, you are correct. We were to be pitied for our pathetic, disingenuous, malignant and apathetic response to what is a global tragedy. Our leadership was anemic, and pitiful.
But our people, our companies, the real America, we were knocked off center, but not out of the game. Remember, America loves a good comeback story….
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at email@example.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra