As a physician I have been stunned by the incredible incompetence, ignorance, and just plain malicious ill-will the Trump administration has displayed in its response to the emerging novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. From dismissing concerns to tossing out racist tropes to muzzling actual scientists, it seems like no stone has gone unturned in Team Trump’s effort to be the worst administration in American history.
I found myself searching for the right metaphor to comprehend the special quality of Trump/Pence/Putin’s malevolence and willful incompetence, and what it’s doing to America.
I think I’ve got it. The American Civil War was basically the first major war in human history wherein industrial methods of production (factories) and transportation (railroads) had become more important than traditional military resources like troops and experienced leaders.
One of the most effective ‘weapons’ employed by the North to destroy the Confederacy’s ability to wage war was a diabolical device intended to destroy their railroad lines. Pulling up the steel rails was time consuming. But a giant steel hook pulled behind a locomotive tore up the wooden railroad ties and bent the steel rails into pretzels behind the advancing train, rendering the railroad useless and effectively unrepairable.
The Trump administration has been applying a giant steel hook to America’s social, cultural, scientific, educational and economic infrastructure. The perfect example was Trump’s utterly malicious and self-destructive obliteration of America’s worldwide system to monitor and abort global pandemics. Put into place by the Obama team in the aftermath of SARS and MERS, it had offices in many countries including China to provide real-time surveillance and on-the-stop resources to stop pandemics at the source.
Trump destroyed the system, closed the overseas offices, fired or reassigned the staff and killed the entire mission. He took a giant steel hook to America’s anti-pandemic infrastructure, and tore up the rails.
So, as COVID-19 escalates across America in the coming months, at an unpredictable but surely huge cost in dollars and lives, remember.
This didn’t have to happen. Trump and his toadies willingly invited this catastrophe through their malevolent incompetence.
And Vlad Putin smiles.
Remember, stay informed with the WHO. They have the most trustworthy information out there: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019