Sunday, April 19, 2020

In Time of Crisis

The human world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic as the COVID-19 pathogen is spreading throughout human populations around the globe. The United States – purportedly the richest country of all – has faced this crisis essentially unprepared. A significant part of this state of affairs is due to the absence of any real leadership coming from the Federal Government. In fact, the current administration is under the aegis of mostly white males whose guiding and operating principle seems to be the maintenance of their own power and sustaining the preeminence of the affluent class. Collectively, they seem completely devoid of compassion and their behavior shows a nearly complete disregard for the common good. Furthermore, they all seem to exhibit a remarkable disdain for science and for real data; this seems particularly incongruent within the context of the twenty-first century.

The current President rather than taking on a clear leadership role in guiding the country through this crisis has chosen to use his power and authority to divide the country and to make outrageous statements that are outright lies and thereby promote disinformation and inject a perverse kind of chaos into the social fabric at a time when reasoned deliberation and calm is required. As an individual, he displays clear and serious personality disorders, has the emotional maturity of a child, is a pathological liar and has an extremely limited grasp of complex issues. His behavior is costing countless lives lost to the ever-spreading coronavirus. His presidency will definitely be represented in the future history of this nation as a particularly dark and foreboding time.

Beyond the current state of the nation, the momentous disruption in social organization that this pandemic has brought has managed to peel away the layers that have disguised the true reality of American life that has never been far from the surface. In fact, what we are witnessing is the true impact of the extreme social and economic inequality that permeates the very fabric of this country. This inequality is so pervasive that for many of our citizens, there is barely enough income to provide for the most basic of needs – housing and nutrition. For many adequate healthcare is not available, the prospect of hunger and homelessness is ever present and unemployment or under employment is the rule rather than the exception. Side-by-side with this reality is the fact that vast stores of wealth and assets lie within the hands of a very few who also have inordinate control of the reigns of political, social and economic power.

Without a unified, well-crafted, and reasoned plan - based upon sound scientific principles - for safely extricating the country from the manifold consequences of this pandemic, the future remains unpredictable. This vacuum of leadership may provide an opportunity for the unscrupulous to further disrupt the already fractured social condition for the purpose of promoting ill-advised remedies that tap into emotional insecurities and exploit fear. Such a course will necessarily prove disastrous.

It is time for people to awaken to the harsh realities that exist within the very framework of American life and begin to address the underlying inequalities that plague the very heart of this country. For, in reality, there lies another threat to the entire species that demands our full attention; for it may pose a much more profound and existential danger. That issue is, of course, climate change.

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