Current Comment #2

A twice-weekly compendium of political opinion worth pondering.

October 3rd ~ October 6th, 2020

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Opening comment – The first two items below – both written on the day President Trump was admitted to Walter Reed hospital for treatment of the coronavirus, and both cautiously but optimistically raising the prospect that he, and the American public, might as a result adopt a more healthy respect for the risks from coronavirus – have been rendered somewhat obsolete by the subsequent irresponsible and reckless behavior of the president during and subsequent to his hospitalization. Nonetheless, they remain worthwhile reading for the hopeful and sensible ideas contained within each. The third and last item, also written on the day of Trump’s hospital admission, turns out to be a more presciently pessimistic forecast of the president’s disappointing words and actions.

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ITEM #1 – New York Times opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof urges a sensible and responsible response to Trump’s bout with the coronavirus …

“Let’s learn from the president’s infection. Let’s make this a wake-up call that leads to mask-wearing and social distancing, saving lives. Mask-wearing lags in the United States compared with some other countries, particularly among men. A poll suggests that many American men see mask-wearing as wimpish, ‘a sign of weakness.’ Likewise, some Americans seem to believe that avoiding masks is a measure of freedom. No, it’s a measure of decency, altruism and responsible behavior.” 

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ITEM #2 – New York Times opinion columnist Maureen Dowd expresses hope that Trump’s coronavirus experience will change, if not the president’s own misguided behavior and views, at least perhaps the behavior and views of some of his followers …

“As president, [Trump] has created a bubble within his bubble, keeping out science and anything that made him look bad. He has played a dangerous game of alchemizing wishes to facts, pretending that he was a strong leader, pretending that the virus will magically disappear and that it ‘affects virtually nobody,’ pretending that we don’t have to wear masks, pretending that dicey remedies could work, pretending that the vaccine is right around the corner. Now, in a moment that feels biblical, the implacable virus has come to his door. This was the week when many of the president’s pernicious deceptions boomeranged on him. It’s impossible to know how — or even whether — this illness will change the president. But hopefully it will change his skeptical followers and make them realize that this vicious microbe really is contagious, that President Trump is not invulnerable and that therefore they are not either, that crowding together at rallies is not smart, that wearing a mask is important, and that it’s not all going to disappear like a miracle.”

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The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick points to the grave consequences for the entire country as a result of Trump’s continued refusal to follow the recommendations of his administration’s health advisors, and since his hospitalization for the coronavirus, of his own physicians as well …

“The contrast between Trump’s airy dismissals of the pandemic’s severity and the profound pain and anxiety endured by so many Americans has helped define the era in which we live. As President and as a candidate for reëlection, Trump should not count on the silencing of American citizens—on a deference that he has never shown to the people whom he swore to protect and has not. Because of his ineptitude and his deceit, because he has encouraged a culture of heedlessness about the wearing of masks and a lethal disrespect for scientific fact, he bears a grave responsibility for what has happened in this country. The President is obsessed with menaces—posed by shadowy members of a ‘deep state,’ by ‘the radical left,’ by foreigners of all sorts. But the gravest menace to public health and public order has come from within the White House. So long as Trump holds office, no manner of quarantine will suffice to contain it.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/10/12/the-coronavirus-and-the-threat-within-the-white-house

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Closing comment – If you are already a follower of The Liberal Buddhist, you may expect to receive Current Comment postings on a regular twice-weekly schedule – Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings (Eastern time). Whenever a regularly scheduled posting date is missed, the edition posted on the next scheduled date will include all articles that would have been listed in the missed date’s edition. And, of course, you can still expect to receive the occasional blogpost of my own thoughts on both domestic and global issues of concern viewed through the lens of Buddhist ethics and liberal political philosophy.

If you are not yet a follower of The Liberal Buddhist and would like to receive future editions of Current Comment as well as original posts, just click the “Follow” button at the top of the sidebar on the right.

See you again in a few days with the next edition of Current Comment. Until then, please take care of yourself, and stay well …

4 thoughts on “Current Comment #2

  1. Thanks, Tom!

    Does anybody run with the suspicion that the Trump Plague is a put up job? That it’s all a pretence to up his ratings when as a member of the Master Race he conquers it without wearing a wimpish mask? I can’t get away from the feeling that he’s emulating our Johnson who probably never caught the Plague.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you well know, Colin, there’s usually a completely inverse relationship between anything Trump says or does and what the rest of us might refer to as “reality”!! And as you rightly surmise, some people over here do indeed suspect that Trump’s bout with coronavirus has been completely staged for his narcissistic need to portray himself as “stronger than the virus” and “stronger than wimpy Joe Biden”. Your “master race” allusion is quite appropriate. Nonetheless, I’m of the opinion that his positive test result was in fact real. I suspect that his increasingly reckless behavior over the past few weeks – hosting more and more official events where both mask-wearing and social distancing were not just unenforced but actively (and sometimes forcefully) prohibited – finally caught up with him. Another indication that it was the real thing is the growing number of family, staffers, and guests at these events who have now tested positive. Whether fact or faked, however, the one thing we can all be certain of is that Trump has emerged from the experience every bit as arrogant, uninformed, and self-satisfied as he was when he entered into it. The dark age continues …

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  2. Thanks, Tom. It’s ‘comforting’ to know that there are suspicions about it all. I just balance fake/not-fake and know that it’s all in our imagination anyway! Reports this morning say that Trump thinks that his Plague-visitation was a gift from God. I choked on my cornflakes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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