Culture

Friedman: What did supporters learn from Trump’s bout with COVID?


The most important question today is not what President Donald Trump has learned from his bout with COVID-19. Trump is one of those leaders who never learns and never forgets, as the saying goes. The most important question is what have we as citizens learned — and, in particular, what have Trump’s supporters learned?

Because the debate over Trump himself is over. The verdict is in: He cast himself as Superman, but he turns out to have been Superspreader — not only of a virus but of a whole way of looking at the world in a pandemic that was dangerously wrong for himself and our nation. To reelect him would be an act of collective madness.

But while I see it that way, and maybe you see it that way, will enough Trump voters see it that way? That will depend on Joe Biden’s ability to help them see all the big and small things where Trump has been so fundamentally mistaken.

The list of “small” things is long: Caution in a pandemic is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom. Face masks in a pandemic are not cultural markers, just common-sense protection.

Lockdowns in a pandemic are not an abridgment of our rights of assembly or speech. Our choices were never masks OR jobs but masks FOR jobs — the more your employees and customers wear them, the more your business can stay open and flourish.

The big things Trump got wrong were twofold. The first was how to lead in a pandemic. The quality of our leadership in general is always a serious business, but in a pandemic, it becomes a matter of life and death.

Donald Trump proved to be the worst kind of leader in a pandemic: a morally reckless leader.

“There were those in positions of power and authority — whom people were trusting for lifesaving guidance,” said Dov Seidman, the founder and chairman of LRN, an ethics and compliance company, and the How Institute for Society, which promotes values-based leadership. “Some shouldered their responsibility, knowing that in this time of crisis more people than ever would heed their advice and emulate their example, if they behaved accordingly. Other leaders, though, did not lead that way; they actually encouraged people to ignore the science and let down their guard. That is moral recklessness.”

That was Trump.

The second big thing Trump got completely wrong is: You don’t mess with Mother Nature.

In a pandemic, Mother Nature asks you three basic questions: 1. “Are you humble? Do you respect my virus? Because if you don’t, it could hurt you or someone you love.” 2. “Are you coordinated in your response to my virus?” 3. “Is your adaptation response to my virus grounded in chemistry, biology and physics? Because that is all I am. If it is grounded instead in politics, ideology, markets and an election calendar, you will fail and your community will pay.”

Trump wanted us to believe that we had only two choices: open the economy and ignore the virus, as he claims to prefer, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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