It might be easier to sleep at night if we could trust the words that come out of the mouths of our president, our congressmen and women, and our national press.
But because of the amplification of the lies and half-truths and shoot-from-the-hip style rhetoric and reporting we’ve seen from both sides of the political coin since the 2016 presidential election – and the resulting divide - it is nearly impossible to believe anything we see or read or hear about COVID-19.
Personally, I’m fighting my inner conspiracy theorist and trying my best to believe what legitimate medical professionals are saying – that there is a real possibility that should COVID-19 cases ramp up at speeds similar to what has been seen in other places, particularly Italy, that our healthcare system will be crushed under the pressure.
There just aren’t enough beds and personnel to deal with that type of influx of patients needing weeks of ICU time to recover.
The professionals believe we need to flatten the curve of this coronavirus and to get there we get what we see today: The country has shut down and life as we know it has changed dramatically.
It’s anybody’s guess how long this could last or what awaits us over the next weeks or months and it is an understandably hard pill to swallow for a lot of people because we just don’t know what is real and what isn’t.
I think part of that confusion is the result of every day Americans having been the target of a nearly non-stop disinformation war over the last three and a half years that has been terribly successful at blurring the lines of fact and fiction for political gain.
And it’s not a left versus right war – it is a them versus us war.
Them being the people who have all the power – red or blue – and us being the poor saps in the middle who don’t but continue to blindly support the same pandering politicians based on party loyalty.
Now we find ourselves in an almost unbelievable, straight out of the movies, scenario where a virus is spreading across the globe, killing people and leading to lock downs, quarantines, a tanking economy, a whole host of conspiracy theories, and an American public wrought with anxiety.
And outside of medical experts, we don’t really have a shoulder to lean on in our time of need. Too many of our nation’s leaders are incompetent self-serving political lifers and millionaires who have created a national atmosphere of mistrust that is proving to be almost as dangerous as the virus itself.
It didn’t start with Trump as some would suggest: It’s the result of decades of poor leadership and policy decisions out of the Washington D.C. swamp. A swamp we filled to capacity by being complicate lemmings at the polls every election cycle.
Some experts believe South Korean officials were able to get a handle on the COVID-19 outbreak in that country because the people there trust their government and the leadership in place.
It is quite the opposite in this country as evidenced by the one thing that hasn’t changed over the past two weeks – the political infighting in Washington D.C. and the inevitable squabbles amongst the rest of us who continue to cling to our petty political leanings.
But perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here. Maybe this will go down in history as the time the America people finally pulled their heads out of the sand and made a choice to say, “no more.”
As one Mesabi Daily News reader suggested to me via voice mail this week: Perhaps there’s something positive to be taken away from this COVID-19 nightmare that we are all sharing.
His exact words were, “It’s helping to bring about some bipartisanship and hopefully we can get over the juvenile behavior of the radicals from both parties (and) when we vote we can reward the good ones and cast out the bad.”
It’s a good thought and something to keep in mind as we move forward through this pandemic. We should all take a good, hard look at who has our best interests in mind.
We need to ignore the distractions and focus on reality and express our displeasure with those who are taking advantage of this life and death situation to improve their political position when we cast your ballots next November.