Mr. Trump, How’s Your Gut?
Terry H. Schwadron
April 11, 2020
Dear Donald Trump,
I’ve heard you blithely assert that it’s time to “open up the economy very soon.” First it was by this weekend, in time for Easter. Now it seems to be at the end of the month. For sure, it seems by the end of May.
Why wait? Given your reasoning, let’s go now.
You don’t seem to need or require having a wider testing regime in place to determine who might be carrying the coronavirus disease. Indeed, you don’t even seem to wonder whether you would be re-starting the cycle of infection of the most contagious disease we’ve seen in several generations.
You’re just eager to see us move ahead and re-gain our Rightful Place as the Leading Economy in the World. What you think we need most is a second virus task force of business people to decide just what needs to be opened first, though you offered May 1, and then have backed off it.
So, if you’re just going to roll the dice, maybe you don’t need to wait. Just do it.
Even if it kills us.
I’ve tried to pay close attention to your experts and to skip merrily around all the insults and partisan politics with which you have enmeshed your daily press briefings. I’m still staying home, taking seriously the calls to quarantine with my wife, washing hands and the rest. I’ve been thankful when you’ve allowed FEMA to dole out emergency supplies, however inadequate, however painfully, to New York and the other states, though I have remained stunned that you count only the actions you’ve taken, and never accounting for the actual practical need.
I’ve listened as you’ve trusted your gut over the medical folks about the use of your favorite coronavirus cure, whether medically supported or not. I’ve listened as you have blamed everyone but yourself for any shortages or delays in response. I’ve listened to you explain that bipartisanship means doing only exactly what you and Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell says. I’ve listened to your constantly rewritten versions of how we got to this point.
So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that once again, you have decided to move ahead on sending workers back to jobs across the country with absolutely no plan.
As you say, what could it hurt?
Except, of course, that it will kill more thousands.
Instead of listening to doctors, you’re choosing to listen to an attorney general who seems to think that health measures are “draconian,” business advisers who can only see dollar signs, and political advisers who want to match your face with something less awful than mass deaths.
I want us back at work as much as you do, though I have to warn you that working or not, I’m not going to vote for your reelection.
Among other things, the way our country works now, you generally need to be working to have health care. Assuming that this virus is planning on continuing on through the country beyond its main cities and in cycles that will continue for the next year before a vaccine becomes available, access to health care ought to come in pretty handy. That seems something you don’t care about either as president or as candidate, since you are working actively to continue trashing and undercutting Obamacare.
My understanding is that in addition to broadened access to testing among self-selected individuals who see symptoms for disease, that before we really consider putting people back to work we now want to start testing on a very wide basis for the two antibodies that will show a person to be relatively immune. Then, too, your own public health folks keep talking about the need for more disease testing, contact tracing and aggressively continuing our physical distancing.
I thought that’s why we’re at home now. That’s what my governor tells me.
Except when I listen to you, at any moment, you’re going to expect me to do the patriotic thing and go to a crowded airport, sit on a contained, if financially strained, airplane, and go somewhere where I can spend my dwindling savings at restaurants that cannot re-open, or perhaps stay at one of your empty hotels which I have never visited or meet you on a populated golf course (I don’t play).
If you’re going to ignore all the experts, we may as well go back today.
Um, much as I would love to do so, there’s not much of a chance of that. Unless you;’re ready to join me on my subway car.
Indeed, what happens if you say Go, Spend, and no one leaves home or governors tell people to stay home despite your message?
So, yes, I want the economy started up again, but I’d like to see the plan first.
Stay well. Perhaps take a rest from the daily political propaganda briefings and use the newfound time to revisit the necessary medical requirements for success.