What happens when you politicize a pandemic

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Sadly, one of the worst aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been how it has been politicized, which has made it harder to not only stay safe, but for many to continue to earn a living. This experience has divided our country more than united it, and that is sad. Here’s what I think happened and who I think is primarily to blame for this lamentable situation.

Democratic politicians, both federal and state, are probably the most responsible for the terrible state we are in for two main reasons: overly draconian shutdown measures combined with rank hypocrisy.

Democrats were some of the first leaders to shutdown schools and economies, thinking that such measures were necessary to stop the spread. At the time (March-April), this was an understandable if unfortunate response. No one really knew what to do, after all.

But we were told back then that the shutdowns were just meant to “flatten the curve” and would be over in a matter of weeks. A couple of stimulus bills were passed to get us over the hump and we thought we’d be good to go. All of us thought — or hoped — that at the time, not just Trump.

But alas, that wasn’t the case. We did flatten the curve but cases and deaths continued to accumulate, even if at a lower rate than the peaks in April.

Although everyone agreed that social distancing was necessary and that masks were probably a good idea (after the CDC and surgeon general reversed themselves on that particular issue), certain states and cities continued to lock down their businesses, shutter churches, and generally pin people down, preventing them from earning a living or visiting a loved one or engaging in worship.

Perhaps that would have been tolerable or understandable, but then a few things happened to undermine the credibility of the politicians who were most eager to lock things down.

First, they and their ever-willing accomplices in the press went after the anti-lockdown protesters that began to emerge in May, accusing them of being unsafe by gathering in large groups and not wearing enough PPE. Oh, and disparaging their cause as inherently stupid and reckless.

And yet, when the protests spurred by the death of George Floyd began to erupt, and even when they occasionally turned violent, the exact same politicians seemed to turn a blind eye.

A risible double-standard quickly emerged: lock down, stay home, don’t go to church, don’t work, don’t protest, wear a mask, etc., unless you’re protesting for a politically approved cause … all the while shrieking about “science.”

That was the first big example of hypocrisy. But then stories of those same politicians personally violating their own rules began to flood in. Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done without a mask, the mayor of Chicago doing the same, Bill DeBlasio going to the gym, the governor of Michigan’s husband ordering the marina to put his boat out, etc., etc.

What this gross display of hypocrisy signaled was that the politicians didn’t really believe the “science” or their own restrictions. That they were at best optional, and at worst a ploy to assert greater government control. And you really only saw this from the Democratic side. Republican governors and the president himself called for anti-Covid measures, but not with the kind of power-mad glee displayed by the donkey party.

Added to the hypocrisy was the draconian and arbitrary nature of the various shutdowns, including the latest in California, which doesn’t apply to the “essential” film industry.

When laws are too onerous to obey, or are highly arbitrary in their application, people will simply disobey and come to believe their rulers and the rules they make are illegitimate. This, in turn, leads to people ignoring the rules, even if they do make sense or are truly justifiable.

And so people stop wearing masks, start gathering in close quarters, and generally ignore the warnings because their betters in government and the press have simply lost all credibility. The result of that behavior is, as we have seen, more cases and more deaths.

Should Trump have been more insistent on masks and not done his huge rallies? Yes. That didn’t help. But I argue that the hypocrisy of many Democratic leaders in the face of the severity of their lockdown policies did much more damage to our body politic and was a much more proximate cause of the current mess we now find ourselves in.

If their policies would have been more measured, more consistent, more in-line with the actual science; if they had said to wear masks from the beginning and not excused leftist protesters and rioters from their mandates; if they had abided by their own rules and provided an example of proper behavior, we might have all listened.

But they didn’t, and so we don’t.

They have only themselves, not Trump, to blame.

Note: my ire is directly squarely and solely at specific Democratic politicians and their cheerleaders in the media. I do not mean to blame the pandemic on people who in general support Democrats or even all Democratic leaders. We should be free to disagree on policies, but come together on common goals and hold all of our leaders accountable for bad policies and rank hypocrisy.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Agree, but lets callthis virus what it really is….the China Virus or Communist Central Party virus….and keepthat name in the discussions so as to keep blame where it lays. So only at this point have we decided not to name a virus from whence it came from….Spanishflu, Hong Kong flu, Asian flu, Mexican swine flu, Mers, Sars, Lyme disease. At the urging of the Chinese Communist Party, WHO changed the naming so as not to relect on Chinas sole responsibility of all this…

    • What is Flagger’s obsession with identifying the origin of COVID – 19? This malady has wrecked havoc in China as well as other locales. Is there some Qanon-style conspiracy theory lurking behind these multiple posts?

      It seems that right-wingers require a scapegoat for every ill – the Blacks, the Jews, now the Asians. Surprisingly, Caucasians who started our Civil war, both world wars, and countless other miseries escape condemnation.

      Keep watching Fox News; keep escalating your prejudices.

      As usual, truth is stranger than fiction.

      • It’s a “chuck-and-duck campaign” Stranger, to keep one distracted from the real news; of an attempt this past weekend to overturn a state election and subvert democracy. Surely Flagger pays attention to the news!?!

        • I think you mis-spelled “fascist statist propaganda” as “news” when you tried to refer to Americans peaceably assembled to petition the government for redress of grievances as “overturning a state election”.

          Also, this is not a democracy. It’s a Republic. If you can’t tell the difference, then your opinion isn’t particularly informed.

      • Go watch Joe Rogan episode #1616 in which he interviews Jamie Metzl, a psychologist, a Harvard and Oxford graduate, and an expert on science topics as well as Asian cultural studies. He is most assuredly a cosmopolitan, left-leaning, post-modern liberal thinker. And it’s his opinion that there needs to be a serious investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Why? Because there is more than sufficient evidence that the origin of this virus is the Wuhan BSL4 Lab which has long been known to be doing viral gain-of-function experiments on horseshoe-bat derived SARS coronaviruses. (They published a paper in 2015 – Nature Medicine volume 21, pages1508–1513(2015) – describing exactly how they used gene editing techniques to demonstrate that these viruses *could* evolve to attack human cells in precisely the way SARS-nCov2 did.) He and other scientists have been calling for a global ban on gain-of-function research and the COVID19 pandemic is precisely the outcome they predicted.

        We can’t keep our heads in the sand. The correct course of action here is to investigate what happened, take lessons learned, and take steps to prevent this from happening again, whether it came from a poorly run lab doing dangerous experiments, or it was zoonotic in origin.

      • Stranger Than Fiction,
        Please don’t join the chorus of various entities on social media and news politicizing this horrible event. I appreciate (and may not always agree) with your opinions as they are your own and insightful. It’s a shame when agitators ignore even the Atlanta police and other authorities have come out and stated that there is no certainty that this was racially motivated…the shooter himself stated that this was against the sex/pornography industry.

        Second to the murders, the most appalling thing about this event is that NOBODY is talking about the blatant human trafficking/sex trade going on. In discussion with multiple friends yesterday, the question was consistently asked if Georgia has legalized prostitution or treats it like Las Vegas and just doesn’t do anything about it. Rather than trying to shoehorn race into this event, I would have though this would have been the start of major conversation starter of modern-day human slavery and human trafficking.

  2. I think Mr. Hoffman has tortured any semblance of logic in this missive. With the wisdom of Hannity, the insight of Limbaugh, and the judgement of Carlson, he argues (with a straight face) that those nefarious Democrats botched and politicized the COVID pandemic for their sinister purposes.

    Keep in mind that his angelic Republicans controlled the presidency, the Senate, and the majority of the Supreme Court, yet (as usual) they are relatively faultless in making sure the U.S. A. leads the world in COVID infections and deaths. That all powerful Nancy Pelosi and those influential Democratic governors overwhelmed the entire Trump administration to assure this death and destruction.

    It would be impossible for a sober person to make such absurd points, so hoist another beer Trey, and have a merry Christmas. Truth is stranger than fiction even during the holidays.

    • Instead of criticizing Mr. Hoffman, how about defending that HONEST press, which are liberal, which never reported on Hunter or Joe or Jim or shall we go on? Do you think the Press was fair to Trump? Name one thing the press reported that was nice or good about Trump? Dont choke on that Kool Aid as you ponder. As you ponder, how about that Relief package? Is that a doozy for you? Remember Pelosi saying $1400 (or whatever the amount) was crumbs….but she loves $600 …. as long as we send billions around the world, who cares about suffering Americans. Gotta get her hair done….oh, what about cousin Gavin eating at the French Laundry? Is he a pathetic piece of caca or what? Please, defend those beaut’s for me as everyone is losing their jobs their businesses their livlihoods. People need to stand up together.

      And dont think Democrats have a monopoly on “integrity” or “truth and honesty”, because the Republicans have their share that occupy SCOTUS, the Senate and the House.

      Trump was elected because we are sick of the hypocrites on both sides. If you really think Biden set a Record on votes sitting in the basement…. there’s no Hope and Change for you.

      The reality is Trump was Democrat and played their games with Schumer the Clintons and the like. He went to everything with all those crooked POS’s. For some reason, he changed ….. and he has spilled the beans…..he knows they are destroying America….he is showing us how they are doing it….. A…..N….D…..they hate him for it.

      Both sides are on the take! Wake up. Learn who is lobbying who….learn who is bought and paid for. Do you really think its only the Republicans that are crooks? Put that Kool Aid down and concentrate. This is important. Read the Relief Bill. No one in Congress did. They only had a few hours to read 5000 plus pages. Go listen to Tulsi Gabbard and Rand Paul. They are the two on each side that can give us a little hope. Unfortunately Tulsi is leaving. Try to get your information from multiple sources, seriously.

      People need to help Trump or better start praying fast and hard. Unfortunately best anyone’s got is Leoffler and Perdue to help balance the corruption if thats even possible ….but kid you not, after their terms they need to get kicked to the curb. Kemp’s gotta go too. He’s another pathetic traitor to this state and our country.

      Funny how everyone is looking to GA. Lets work together. Lets call it like it really is. We need drastic change. We need term limits, we need election and finance reform. Lets get big corrupt money out of our politics. Lets not elect career politicians who pay themselves before doing the work of the people. Good honest law abiding citizens suffering on a massive scale…so should the politicians….no pay for the Politicians. Merry Christmas and think like a Patriot….or move.

      • For Manny and other conservative contributors to this board, is there any rule that requires incumbency to dichotomous reasoning in right-leaning posts? A critic may identify the logistical fallacies of the eternally hyper-partisan, rarely introspective, Mr. Hoffman without necessarily embracing the tenets of the party Trey so regularly despises and castigates in his missives. Hoffman’s problem dwells not in his ability to cite malfeasance and hypocrisy in his opponents, but rather, in his total inability to detect the same in the causes and proponents he champions.

        A Jewish carpenter once characterized this problem as straining to extract a speck from the eye of another while ignoring a plank protruding from your own.

  3. This weekend, The Washington Post shed new light on how politicized the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic has been. Team Trump knew that the coronavirus was extremely serious. Polling revealed that the American people, across the political spectrum, were broadly receptive to preventative measures, including mask-wearing and widespread testing. In fact, the groundwork was even laid for a mask-distribution program, which would have sent protective gear to every residence in the U.S., as well as for a national testing program.

    However, a cadre of advisors—in particular, Stephen Miller, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and “Doctor” Scott Atlas—persuaded the President that engaging with COVID was a political loser and that mask-wearing could be turned into a very effective wedge issue. Trump, of course, was very receptive to that line of thinking. So, the mask distribution and national testing programs were scotched, and the President promptly began railing against mask wearing for political reasons. The rest, of course, is history.

    3,131 Americans died yesterday from COVID-19.

  4. Sorry but the Democrat Response to Mr. Hoffman lost me at:

    “An adequate Federal response could have set the tone for the whole country.”

    Really? As in, Eight years of the Lying Cheating Stealing Previous Administration or their enablers didnt ignite the Trump Effect! Really?

    How did Trump arrive on the scene?

    But hey, lets not forget “Russia! Russia! Russia!” There’s an adequate response? They certainly had all that “Hard Evidence” of Russia Collusion, didnt they?

    Lets start spying on a political opponent and an incoming Administration! Thats the “American” way, right? Thats a great Federal Response too.

    So let’s be honest and let’s be real…It started there and never got better.

    Hell, I was not even a Trump fan but I believe our media should at least be fair and unbiased in their reporting. I believe even more that our Government should be fair, unbiased, and lookout for the people they serve. But who are we kidding, they all serve themselves.

    Never has the media reported on one good thing about Trump. Who can actually buy into that kind of reporting? Whether one is a Democrat or Republican, common sense should tell one otherwise.

    All our favorite politicians and all their cronies that we admire on both sides of the aisle are raking it in from “Chy’Na” or ripping us off blind right here in good ole USA. The Domestic corruption is beyond belief! One wouldnt know unless one has first hand knowledge. If One thinks one political side is better than the other… One is clueless.

    For Common Joe who listens to NBA Coaches and their elite SuperStars…the other geniuses … who apparently are uptodate on China Relations and Hong Kong…How lucky are we to get our information from the privilege class who again make billions from China?

    If One is a Democrat…. at least listen to Tulsi…..then One might earn a little credibility. She’s a true Patriot who puts the citizen first.

    The Real American people are done with the hypocrit class, the likes of: Clintons, Bush’s, Obama’s, Romney’s, McCain’s, Biden’s, Harris, Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, etc. ***Notice how they all are friends and support each other? Dont forget, they hate Trump.

    Do us a favor, let’s save America. Vote Perdue and Loeffler. Lets balance Congress. After that let’s get rid of every one of these Politicians (including those two) and implement term limits for EVERYONE, including SCOTUS.

    If we get Warnock and Ossoff, say goodbye to USA. If one hasn’t figured that much out, then one seriously watches too much CNN and have Covid brain. The Democrats have admitted they will change America. History tells us where that will take us. These people (Elitist Politicians) want to redistribute wealth… “to themselves.” Dont be fooled! Warnock & Ossoff are puppets for the Extreme Left.

    Trump deserves alot of credit for what he is trying to do for America. Try taking the abuse he took…. 99.999% of us wouldnt last one day.

    FYI, America doesnt need to change. The people in this country need to change. The people need to understand what the Constitution is all about. The people need to understand what makes this country great. The people need to understand our liberties are for us.

    One can get out and make a life for oneself with all its inherent risks or one can sit in the basement 24/7 smoking pot, gaming on one console and watching CNN on the other. Welcome to America. The power (and desire) of our current Political Class is to dumb everyone down and keep everyone oppressed.

    Mr. Hoffman, Thank you for your thoughts. Maxwell and Doon, Thank you for yours as well. Merry Christmas! God Bless America!

  5. It’s easy to throw stones at the other side – everyone does. I sling plenty myself. I have to ask Trey, “Who is large and in charge of the United States?” Who could have handled the Federal response differently but refused to? We know who that is, but I’d like Trey to admit it. An adequate Federal response could have set the tone for the whole country. We saw none of that. I do appreciate the swift vaccine development spurred by the Trump administration, but now we have distribution issues because your orange Messiah has ulterior motives. Trump has always only cared about himself. That is why we got wishy-washy COVID messages from his administration. It was easier for him to let the various states flounder and then call them out for the mistakes they made – that way, he wouldn’t have to take the heat. I’m not a big Kemp fan, by any means, but I have to give him some credit. In the face of criticism from Trump, he opened up the State. It definitely was a gamble. As it was for all Governors. They made decisions to the best of their ability. Some good, some bad. Some errored on the side of caution, some threw caution to the wind. Have you been through a pandemic before Trey? Relatively few in this country have and they are not in leadership positions. People did what they had to do. Blame can be thrown at everyone – our leaders, and ourselves. The point to all this, is that we had no real leader heading into this battle. He threw away the pandemic playbook. We had a lot of people just doing their own thing. There was no real coordinated response from the top and that gets to the core of the problem.

  6. To borrow a phrase used in these posts before … look who was once a constitutional scholar that is now an epidemiologist / infectious disease expert. Do you actually stand on your opinion Mr. Hoffman that “We did flatten the curve but cases and deaths continued to accumulate, even if at a lower rate than the peaks in April.” Lower rates than April? Were you asleep this past summer? In a post-election – hibernation / denial now? If you ever want to be taken seriously Trey, please do get your facts straight before pushing your narrative.