Without seeking to minimize the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic or to minimize the need for measures to curtail its spread, it is essential to note that related statistical reporting is deeply flawed and that it is too often used by the “mainstream” media for aberrant political purposes. The number of cases reported is highly inaccurate for a number of reasons two standing out. The first involves the non-universal nature of current testing and the other, related, involves differences in the percentage of people tested in different countries. US media and its international allies, for some perverse reason (okay, to make the Trump administration seem inept), seek to make the US response to the crisis seem inadequate, poorly planned and badly coordinated, offering as proof the number of cases reported. However, a greater number of cases reported may merely involve more effective testing.
In much of the rest of the world (albeit not in its media), the proactive stance of the Trump administration (certainly not perfect) is looked upon with a bit of envy, especially the attempt to deal simultaneously with the related economic consequences, i.e., a desperate short term need to get financial assistance into the hands of the most economically vulnerable, a mid-term need to minimize immediate consequences for businesses and employees, and the long term need to plan for restarting the economy when the coronavirus threat is minimized. In the meantime, inordinate media time has been granted, even by Fox News, to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo´s constant complaints and pleas which cover up his own deficient response to the crisis, poor preparation for such a contingency and ignore the political posturing involved apparently in hopes of a future presidential run, ironic given how his ethically questionable conduct as a recent law school graduate cost his father a chance at the presidency in 1992, giving us the Clinton’s instead and turning the Democratic Party into the parody of a leftist movement that it is today. As I recall, his father Marion declined to run at least in part due to concerns over potential disclosure of his son Andrew’s alleged shakedown of major New York based corporations for retainers based on inferences of access to his Dad, then the governor. Having been one of his Dad’s students and later, briefly, one of his campaign workers, I acknowledge that he was among the most brilliant and honest persons I’ve ever met. Unfortunately the same is not true of either of his sons. Perhaps given the “mainstream” media’s proclivity for ignoring scandals by favored politicians the elder Cuomo (Mario) needn’t have worried, but then, the media’s devolution into entertainment and propaganda was not as obvious at the time; that really took off with the Clintons.
Speaking of the Clintons, I recall how differently GOP Senator Bob Packwood’s sensual indiscretions were treated when contrasted with treatment of those of candidate and subsequently president Bill Clinton by both the mainstream media, which reported them only in order to shoot them down, and of the feminist community of that time. It seems a mirror image of the current treatment of allegations of sexual misconduct by former vice president and perennial presidential candidate Joe Biden, Joe playing the role of Bill rather than Bob. Sorry Mr. Dylan but apparently, the times are not a ‘changing, at least not in a favorable fashion despite the #MeToo brouhaha. Apparently “lesser evils” must be protected at all costs, even if they exhibit signs of dementia as well as incompetence and misogyny.
And what about the Sanders decline and the Gabbard sell out? The latter seems not only hard to explain but devastatingly painful. She was, from so many perspectives, the ideal candidate: a woman of color, an antiwar military officer and veteran, environmentally conscious, one who had sacrificed her political career in 2016 in protest over anti-Sanders-pro-Clinton Democratic Party corruption later made obvious by WikiLeaks, but who, apparently in the face of disdain when she needed support from the candidate she risked everything for, she, like Darth Vader, turned to the dark side.
And Sanders??? What the Hell happened there? It’s as if the “mainstream” media hypnotized most of the Democratic Party’s electorate: “… your eyes are getting tired, you are getting sleepy, hear only our voice, only Joe Biden can defeat Donald Trump; beliefs do not and cannot matter, save them for a future date, lesser evils, lesser evils, existential election, … again, for the tenth electoral cycle in a row, … listen only to our voice …”. Wonder if all the young Sanders supporters will fall in line or whether, instead, they’ll sit this one out. That would be unfortunate given the plethora of third party and independent candidates. Enough votes for them could finally shake up the duopoly so many of us complain about but do nothing to change but, … “beliefs do not and cannot matter, save them for a future date, lesser evils, lesser evils, existential election, … again …”.
From a corner television set a subliminal message appears to repeat over and over and over again, “Ventilators, ventilators, must have all of the ventilators youse guys, … Andrew Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo, …. Perhaps the kids will take to him?” Now where do we keep hearing and seeing that name and why? I recall a colloquy of sorts several decades ago, one during a vice-presidential debate between Senator Lloyd Bentsen and Senator Dan Quayle in response to Quayle’s mentioning the name of John F. Kennedy and a parody comes to mind: “Andrew, I knew your Dad, Mario, your Dad Mario was a professor of mine, and you Andrew, are no Mario Cuomo”. A response in a hypnotic voice echoes in response: “But he’s no Trump, or no Biden, or no Gabbard, or no Sanders either”. Then a wail, a cry from a melting green woman, Elphaba of Oz (or thereabouts), “… What a world! What a world!”
If only all our problems melted away with a bit of water!!!
Hmmm, please remember to wash your hands and sip water regularly as we fight this coronavirus pandemic!
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.