Greer: A lack of leadership at a time of crisis
Psychologists have long observed that many people don't like to switch directions once they've become invested in a certain course of actions, even if that course does not serve them.
Part of the problem is that many of us humans don't like to admit that we were wrong, or that we made a poor choice. But the benefits of doing so can be enormous. When you admit that you may have been wrong, you can leave behind the course of action that is detrimental to you and others. And the sense of relief is enormous.
Recent events have revealed that the time has finally come for all of us as a nation to admit that Donald Trump was the wrong choice to lead our country. He is clearly not up to the task of leading this nation through truly difficult, complex crises like the one we're currently facing with the coronavirus. Every choice he's made so far has not only revealed his incompetence but that his only concern is himself.
Let's review: At the onset of the outbreak in China, world health experts began warning nations to prepare for this fast-spreading virus. Many countries heeded the advice. Trump, ever-distrustful of science, did nothing.
When the virus predictably landed on our shores, Trump told Americans that only 15 people were infected and that the numbers were going down. That was three weeks ago. We now have over 4,000 cases.
Health experts warned that the cases would rapidly grow. He then told people that it was no big deal, that they should just go to work as normal.
Again, health experts advised sick people to stay home. Trump then told Americans that the virus didn't really exist, that it was a liberal hoax. [Ed.: Trump administration officials have sought to clarify that the president wasn't calling the virus itself as a hoax, but rather Democratic criticism of the administration's response to the virus.] Health experts hastily rebuked that claim, warning Americans that the coronavirus is no hoax; it is real and it is dangerous.
To make matters worse, Trump slashed funding for the Centers for Disease Control months ago, seeing it, as he does all scientifically based governmental organizations, as useless. This means that the resources Americans desperately need to stem the flow of this virus are simply not available.
Trump has now taken to lying about non-existent resources. He announced on March 13 that Google would be devoting 1,700 engineers to building a website with resources and information for Americans to access. Problem is, Google is not doing that and had only heard of the plan when Trump bizarrely announced it at a press conference.
And while Americans desperately need accurate information and sound advice, the Trump administration has provided lies. He's still busy bashing former President Barack Obama and Tweeting about the stock market, the latter of which is plummeting rapidly.
Sadly, Trump neither reads nor trusts science. He doesn't understand it, but even worse, he doesn't understand the vital of importance of it. If ever there was a time for Americans to listen to the voices of reason provided by science, now would be it.
I know it's hard to admit to having made a poor choice, but for the well-being of our nation, and our beautiful state of Oregon, we have to swallow our pride, admit that Trump cares about nobody but himself, that he is utterly incapable of true leadership, and leave him behind.
Aaron Greer is an assistant professor of anthropology and sociology at Pacific University. This commentary represents his views and not those of his employer.
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